Much as I love the Surrey countryside, it’s nice to escape to the beach too. We’re kind of spoilt where we live as we can be by the seaside within an hour. West Wittering is one of our favourite spots and I adore all the colourful beach huts down there. There’s a great mix between the freshly painted ones and those in need of some love. This was such an impromptu trip, we left without our wellies but that wasn’t going to stop us having a good time.
Just before POD went back to school, we escaped to Hatchlands Park in the Surrey Hills. Managed by the National Trust, there are a whopping 400 acres of parkland to discover so it’s an ideal spot for blowing away the cobwebs. There’s plenty to keep POD occupied from climbing trees to exploring the natural play area which has its own tree house. This last visit coincided with a trail which involved following the story of Morris and Callum – the Hatchlands Park donkeys.
We’ve been fans of the Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire since we moved from London to Guildford. I seem to remember my first visit was in 2011 when I was on maternity leave and we’ve gone ever since. Managed by the Forestry Commission, these woods are located just a few miles south of Farnham in Surrey. They provide the perfect stomping ground for POD what with the adventure trails and natural play areas which have always suited our little climber. There was something a little bit special about our last visit though in that the light was just superb.
There’s much to see in Surrey and we’re truly spoilt especially at this time of the year. Somewhere I have to visit in autumn is Winkworth Arboretum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a picturesque sight throughout the seasons but when those red, orange and yellow hues arrive – it’s quite spectacular. And the clever planting of their maples, oaks and rowans ensures the views are impressive and last for weeks. The arboretum has been looked after by the National Trust for some 60 years now.
We’ve written about Surrey many a time since relocating and becoming parents five years ago. Situated a stones throw from London, there’s a rich heritage that spans many thousands of years. It’s no stranger to ancient folklore either with ghostly sightings, highwaymen and dragons all forming part of its history. This beautiful county is home to all manner of tales from the weird and wonderful to the undeniably intriguing.
This summer marks our sixth year in Surrey. While we’ll always have a fondness for the big smoke, that pre-parenting life seems such a long time ago now. We wouldn’t change it for the world though, five year old POD has grown up in the countryside, just as we did albeit in different counties.
Thank you to everyone that came along to the 10 Ways To Tell Compelling Stories With Photography session at #BML16. It was certainly a highlight from the weekend which largely consisted of socialising with old friends and new as well as laughing a little bit too much. Oh yes and I genuinely mistook Cherry Healey for a long lost chum, I know I know! Lots of you asked for a round-up of the photography session so here for your delectation are a few key take aways.
Our most recent trip to Northern France saw us stop off in Boulogne Sur Mer en route back to Calais. Having visited when we explored the Opal Coast at the end of last year, it was nice to return so soon albeit minus the blue skies we’d relished last time around. The cobbled Rue de Lille was as splendid as we’d remembered it and we even got to grab a coffee the restaurant our Airbnb host had recommended in 2015.
We’ll be covering our recent trip to Northern France with POD’s grandparents over on POD Travels soon enough. In the meantime, I had to share a few photographs of Berck’s white sandy beaches which were almost reminiscent of the moon. While the weather wasn’t on our side, you cannot deny how stunning this beach must be when accompanied with sunshine and blue skies.
Situated in a superb 160 acre setting, the Equestrian Park is a stones throw away where from where we’ve been staying in Le Touquet. Regarded as one of the finest in France, it has an equestrian centre, racecourse and offers show jumping courses too. Having loved the pony rides she’s had thus far, it seemed an ideal place for POD to have a lesson.