A-Z activities

A-Z countries

What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Monday, 16 May 2016

In the forest, or in the woods?

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. We do this in a bid to be less polluting and tackle climate change while at the same time keeping a global outlook. Well except when I'm describing trees. I tend to call British collections of trees "woods" whereas the bigger chunks of wooded land found throughout Europe (and in Democratic Republic of Congo or the Amazon) I'd definitely call a forest. Words by Nicola Baird.

Sycamore just coming into leaf (or is it horse chestnut, I'll
have to go back and check).
On a spring day the Ashridge Estate is a beautiful woodland to visit walking distance from Tring train station. At 5,000 acres it's one of the largest areas of deciduous trees owned by the National Trust in England. You can picnic, draw or go for walks, kids are encouraged to try den building or tree ID. Indeed the National Trust seem so keen to get us out and about that you can even hire electric golf buggies if you're not fit to walk in order to take a wood-bath (as the Japanese call it) in the mostly beech woodlands. And then there's also a great cafe which serves cake, tea and BBQ burgers.

Not my dog, my friend's dog enjoying the smells of a big wood
on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire.
My dog loves to visit the Ashridge Estate too. And as I've discovered during my explorations there is a fantastic pub in Aldbury village just below the woodland. This means that I can sometimes even lure my partner along for an afternoon walk if it is followed by a pint. Perhaps because it's called The Greyhound Inn it lets well-behaved dogs in one of the bars.

Along the paths you often hear families chatting... some call this lovely place a forest, others a wood. In the UK I'm not sure I've ever been into a forest. They exist - there's Nottingham Forest and the gradually expanding forest of newly planted trees in the Midlands. I've been into many woods though - and some have seemed vast. The Ashridge Estate is beautiful but I also love the oak, hornbeam, silver birch and ash woodland (despite its brutalist conifer plantation) at Trent Park.

This sweet note was pinned on to a tree in my local park. Just behind it is
a young sapling which was grown from a cutting taken from the tree that
Anne Frank in Amsterdam used to look at during her incarceration in the
Annexe. It's amazing what stories trees could tell.
(C) aroundbritainnoplane.blogspot.com
But perhaps the best bit of wood is always the one nearest to you - a place to enjoy every season and every weather.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Pretty photos. You have a lovely blog. :)