For this, the first of my new Local & Free series of posts, I chose something that instantly piqued my interest as soon as I spotted it on a local attractions site. The Green Giant Trail can be found in Tarman’s Copse (and continues in Wykery Copse) in Jennett’s Park, Bracknell. It features beautifully carved woodwork all put in place for the community by local photographer Julia Morrison.
It was a beautiful February day – all crispy air and bright, blasting sunshine through the trees – and once I’d persuaded a somewhat institutionalized B3 to put down the tablet, take off his dressing gown, OK fine leave the dressing gown on but definitely take off the bike helmet, put shoes on, etc, etc – we drove the five miles or so to get to Jennett’s Park. A fairly new development within the Bracknell suburbs, we’ve only visited JP to go to the Peacock Farm pub which nudges the M4 and boasts a great beer garden replete with playground (essential factor in pub choice during the present era of kid-swamp).
Armed with a printout of the excellent trail guide (found here) we parked at the community centre (for free) and took the short walk along a few residential roads to Tarman’s Copse. The first thing we found was the glorious carved bench depicting a landscape of woodland scenery. Unfortunately, though moderately pleased with the bench, B3 refused to get out of the buggy. This was definitely more to do with the buggy than the bench (I’d brought the ‘big’ buggy which handles better in woods, and as we haven’t used it since Bonfire Night, he was very taken with the novelty of it. Plus he does not possess B1’s Stern Appreciation Of All Benches). I did at least manage to entice him into holding the clipboard. He was very keen about checking off all the pictures of the things we could see (and boy did I get a telling off if I didn’t locate the next one fast enough!)
I won’t go into a step-by-step guide of the trail because half the fun is actually doing it yourself. Besides, the trail guide is so good I really don’t need to. Suffice to say it didn’t take too long to complete, B3 would have been perfectly able to walk the whole thing but I’d encourage any other mums of pig-headed toddlers to bring a buggy (big tyres a bonus) otherwise you’ll end up with the pocket-area-welly-gunge and an aching back. I attempted a bit of TikTok-style narration but the blindingly bright sunshine meant I could not truly appreciate at the time just how terrible a perspective holding the phone at buggy-handle-level truly is*. B3 LOVED finding all the different items on the checklist and even grudgingly got out of the buggy to explore the little stool and hidey hole (which he proclaimed ‘so cute!’) And – bonus – at the end of the Tarman’s Copse trail we discovered none other than the Peacock Farm pub. Excellent incentive for luring other halves out to suffer a bit of nature before sinking a pint and some decent pub grub.
We also completed the Wykery Copse trail which involved a boardwalk. The scenery was lovely but due to having to run to keep up with the very excited boy (the focus of his excitement being the spotting of the one and then two and then one again number of bolts on the posts of the bridge) there wasn’t a lot of time to take it all in. Still, the guide encourages you to run as fast as you can in case the green giant trolls come after you, so we did at least do as we were instructed!
B3 also had great fun climbing on the carved ‘giant seats’ at the start and the end of the trail (insisting that they were not in fact benches, but boats).
All in all, a great morning out and only cost us the fuel to get there and back. B3 didn’t have to get out of his dressing gown AND we managed to find a lovely little toddler playground back at the entrance to Tarman’s Copse, which was the icing on the cake. I’ve no doubt we’ll be back when the bluebells are out in the spring, probably to combine the trail with that pint and pub grub we talked about.
*I realise I said in my last post that I was going to try and do More Things That Scare Me and so under that umbrella I really should post one of those videos but really, it is not in the best interest of anyone to see that much of my chin and nasal region.
The tallest giant on the trail, followed by a brilliant green eye… *tries very hard not to shoe-horn in a book reference*… There are also plenty of giving info about the wildlife and nature – apparently in the spring it’s all covered in bluebells.