Hawkstone Park Follies – Active days out

Wooden bridge

The rope bridge (The swiss bridge)

Hawkstone park is a national park located in the beautiful countryside town of Shrewsbury. The park is an overhauled natural area, it has been adapted and enhanced to create an engaging and interactive day out for any age

The follies are a winding path of nature walks, like I said, they offer routes for any level of fitness and age. From a 6k walk on slopes and steps, including a 100ft rope bridge and cave adventure to a 1k quick trip around the monuments. The map only shows half of the cute things to look out for on your day out. After years of neglect the magical landscape was lovingly restored and reopened in 1993.

Now, enough of the technical and factual jargon, onto the activities! 

My darling Thomas took me away to wales for the weekend, much to our amusement it rained the first day but we never let a good holiday to waste (if you’re listening AirFrance). So we popped on our long trousers, grabbed our trainers and got walking! We found a lovely nature trail on Firview camping site and hiked the hills for a good 3 hours before retiring, on our return we found this brochure.

So, we kind of had to go.. It looks like a mythical world! The next day we were up early and out at the park by 11am (it took a while to get there). The entrance to the park looks like the  gate to a castle, perhaps a fort? 

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Hidden cave!

You enter into the gift shop and have the option of several tickets, singles, families annual passes*. Pop into the cafe for tea and scones, maybe a coffee and a muffin? What ever you choose you won’t be hard done by, with views of the local golf course even the cafe is beautiful! After that, you are lead through the safety and historical room where you learn about the grounds and hear about the safety warnings for your day. After that you can do as you wish.

Your day can be filled up with activities or you can have a leisurely walk around the forest, which of course is sign posted to explain the types of trees and the gives nudges as to the animals you can look out for. I have to say, the signs and safety precautions were everywhere so if you’re a cautious parent or family member you needn’t worry.

There are gates fences and handcrafted walls, from trees! To keep the kids safe at all parts of the park. Honestly, I’m not one for super safety but it really is done tastefully so the children don’t even notice.There were toilets at the start of the trail and towards the furthest part of the park, there’s also tonnes for the kids to do and a play area along with some picnic benches at the ‘stocks’ to keep them busy.White tower

Things to do

We started our day going past the children’s play area and right up a winding staircase that leads to a hidden cave area, it’s just a small dig-out where you can sit after the short walk from the play area. It could suitably sit 6-8 people for a quick photo shoot or sandwich.

Next was the staircase leading to the view of the tunnels, which you can’t see from that side so it keeps it as a nice surprise. I have to say these steps were quite steep and I would recommend taking 15 minutes out to walk the 60 odd steps. Which is perfect because at the top you arrive at the white tower, a small tower with a smidge of history. 

monument

The monument

The white tower is located on the right side of the jungle, a next of fast growing trees which have been tangled together for a cute tunnel and mini-adventure for the kids. You’ll spot some beautiful views and labelled tree’s, take a note pad and make a note of the new trees you find! 

Now, you can either skip the forest walk and go straight to the monument or pop into the forest for even more hidden gems. Of course I went the long route, it took around 15-20 minutes as we pretty much ran through and we burst out at the base of the monument.20160904_125819

Meatthefollies

All the way at the top!

The monument and view point. Now, this one is a talking point! It looks like a statue but from the other side you spot a cute little entrance. Oh what a lovely idea, let’s go up. Now, hold on! If you have children under 10 or are particularly unhealthy I would either say take your time or skip it. I am very health focused and enjoy a challenge but these stairs took me 10 minutes and a lot of puffing and panting to get up.

The views at the top really were breathtaking but I really recommend thinking twice before embarking on this adventure.

A quite walk straight down the path in front of you leads to the swiss bridge which is a bridge over a 60ft drop. It’s a single file activity and definitely for adults and the non-squeamish. I only have a photo from below as I was too nervous to take my phone out (It’s a lot higher when you’re up there).

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The serpentine trail

There’s also a serpentine trail and natural tunnel system that is weathered into the rock, which makes it slippery and perhaps more for the over 10’s and more able bodied. It is an amazing feature if you’re able to so I would put this on the top priority. It takes around 10-15 minutes and goes over slippery rocks, there are chains for people who need the extra support but it really is a strenuous walk. If you want to skip this there is a route to go straight to the attached bridge and walk up to the gingerbread hut and view point with the caves.20160904_133222

The caves are beautiful and brilliant for all ages, just bring a torch or a smart phone with you and you’ll be fine. My only wish is that the had some silly things stuck around for the kids, glow in the dark paint silly eyes or even a historical piece lit up the open areas so there’s a reason to keep you in their for longer. They’re a brilliant feature and could have so much more in them.

The caves lead to an “Awful precipice” which is code for beautiful view over the golf course. I would have taken more picture but it was a cave so..kind dark. I know, It’s awful.

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The view out of the caves

That’s it folks, we took the short route back and all in all were out for just over 3 hours, it was definitely strenuous but like I said, we did all of the activities and did the longest route we could. if you know you’re unable to climb 100 steps then take the shorter routes. All of them are mapped with an explanation of how hard and how long they take to complete. We popped in the cafe for two coffee’s some crisps and a scone which came up to £8.00 all together but for the freshly pressed coffee I was quite happy with the cost of it.

My recommendations

Grab your hiking boots or trainers, no delicate shoes for this muddy trail. Bring along a torch or smartphone and I recommend a packed lunch as the cafe can get pricey if there’s more than two of you. You can’t eat your own food in the cafe but there are plenty of places to eat! A note pad to keep track of all the information points, make a game of learning about the trees. Take a roll up waterproof, because.. Britain.

The tunnels by ravens shelf are definitely a highlight along with those by the swiss bridge which are my ultimate must-do if you’re able along with the stunning views from the top of the monument which is a must if you’re able to get to the top. I’ve also just found out that they cater to private events and even small weddings!

Prices

Adult £8.25
Child £5.75
Concessions (Students or over 60’s) £7.50
Family (2 adults + 2 children) £26.00
Family (2 adults + 3 children) £29.50
Prices apply to park entry with some of the special events at an additional cost for participation.

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This is by far my longest review of any adventures or restaurants but there’s a lot to do and I really want you all to put it on your to-do list. Perhaps the October half term or the Christmas season? Remember, that annual ticket? *They have themed events on throughout the year so if you’re relatively local and have kids I would definitely recommend picking one up! #Tried&Tested

Have a great week what ever you decide to do, 

Signaturelogosmllr Amy

 

 

 

32 Comments

  1. 15/09/2016 / 7:37 pm

    This sounds like such a fun place to spend a family day off and after all that walking having a guilt free scone hahha x

  2. 13/09/2016 / 9:50 pm

    Oh wow sounds like a fantastic adventure and such a beautiful place to visit

    • 14/09/2016 / 12:37 pm

      It really was. I bet your little ones (in a few years) would love to go and explore the forest and tunnels! 🙂

  3. 12/09/2016 / 12:30 pm

    What a lovely place to explore! I’m determined to do more walking and exploring next year!

  4. TheLondonMum
    12/09/2016 / 8:14 am

    Oh wow, what a beautiful walk! Brilliant review, thanks Amy!

  5. 11/09/2016 / 8:12 pm

    Wow what a beautiful place. I would love to visit here for a day out xxx

  6. Candice Nikeia
    10/09/2016 / 4:33 pm

    Wow! This looks like such an adventure. I am glad you had a wonderful time. love the pictures!

    xoxo, Candice
    http://www.candicenikeia.com

  7. 09/09/2016 / 8:26 pm

    This sounds so perfect, I absolutely love going on walks and routes like this, especially when the views are that amazing and there’s so much to see!

  8. 09/09/2016 / 11:52 am

    Wow Amy this looks like such an amazing place to visit – my kids would adore it here! H x

    • 09/09/2016 / 12:05 pm

      I’m sure they would! You’d never get them out of the tunnels though aka Batman’s lair! 🙂

  9. 09/09/2016 / 11:06 am

    How lovely to have such a beautiful place to visit, living in London I do miss green things x

  10. annalisanuttall
    09/09/2016 / 10:34 am

    It sound like not only a great adventure but a nice day out. I should do this one year – maybe next year.

    http://www.annanuttall.com

    • 09/09/2016 / 10:38 am

      I hope so! I’ve heard a lot of people saying they love the sound of it but are put off by the price (even with it so low) but it really is a great day out and you can make it a full day too!

  11. Beth @ Twinderelmo
    09/09/2016 / 8:54 am

    This isn’t far from me. I went to a Christmas work do here a few years ago and it was such a lovely place. Had no idea how much more there was!

    • 09/09/2016 / 10:42 am

      I said to the Mr. They need to advertise what’s actually there. In the brochure it only shows 2-3 things on the map! x

  12. 08/09/2016 / 8:49 pm

    Oh wow the Swiss bridge sounds pretty scary but cool. I’d want to check out the caves as well.

  13. 08/09/2016 / 7:52 pm

    Wow looks like such a lovely place to go on a walk. I wish there were more nature trails around by me x

  14. 08/09/2016 / 7:17 pm

    Awesome!!! I love an active day with the kids it keeps us all so busy and excited! Albeit tired at the end hah love little nature trails! There ought to be more places like this in London!

    • 09/09/2016 / 11:23 am

      All the better to enjoy a nice cup of tea with an a long relax (which is what I did!) I fell asleep in the car journey home, thank god the Mr. Drives that’s all I’ll say! 🙂

  15. 08/09/2016 / 5:22 pm

    In the UK we have a lot of hidden gems like this in the countryside.The caves look so interesting to explore. What a lovely place, if it was nearer to me I would certainly visit.

  16. nicol
    08/09/2016 / 3:19 pm

    i love active days out and this is my perfect day out! a bit too far but one day 🙂

    • 08/09/2016 / 4:45 pm

      It was for me too, luckily we were over that way anyway! Hope you get a chance to go, it really was spectacular 🙂

  17. 08/09/2016 / 12:38 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about your hike on this nature trail. I wish there were more things like this near London as I’d love my little girl to have the kind of regular nature experiences that I had growing up in Canada. It really looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

    • 08/09/2016 / 12:58 pm

      I really feel for you, I was in London for only a few weeks last year and It killed me not being able to stroll through forest and get losts in the woods.
      Thank you for your lovely comment! 🙂

  18. jojo140883
    08/09/2016 / 12:20 pm

    Sounds like a great adventure, wish it was nearer to me. I love nature trails x

  19. 08/09/2016 / 11:29 am

    What a beautiful site, it looks to be kept clean and tidy making the walks even better. So many great places to visit within the UK x

    • 08/09/2016 / 11:32 am

      It was immaculate, they spent a fair bit on health and safety and was clearly well spent! I love nature trails, the UK really does have some beautiful sites unlike any in the rest of europe.

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