Broxbourne Woods is one of those places that I keep hearing mentioned and last weekend we decided to get out in the Hertfordshire countryside and visit the National Nature Reserve which also has a Sculpture Trail along a firm path, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. To get there we went via the M25 and the A10, following the brown tourist signs for Paradise Wildlife Park. Once we passed Paradise Wildlife Park we took the next right, Pembridge Lane. After a short drive down Pembridge Lane you come to a sharp left hand bend and there you will find the Broxbourne East car park. When we visited parking was free.
The Sculpture Trail is home to eight wooden sculptures all carved from local oak. If you have a buggy or a wheelchair it is recommended that you follow the Sculpture Trail anticlockwise as the hills are easier to navigate in that direction.
We passed under the wooden arch, which indicates the beginning of the sculpture trail and almost immediately we could just see through the trees the first sculpture of a Roman soldier. The first tantilising glimpse of the soldier was a real motivator for the toddler so if you have children who are more reluctant to walk in the countryside the promise of finding the next sculpture might help them get all the way around the trail!
The woodland route is shaded by tall pine trees and we took the opportunity to collect a few pine cones along the way. The path then takes you downhill to the second sculpture, an Acorn Seat, which is made for scrambling over and sitting on.
Further down the path and over a small bridge you will find the Charcoal Burner. The Sculpture Trail was created in 2005 and the wooden sculptures have weathered over time but we thought that this really added to the charm of each piece and reminded us that each sculpture represents part of the history of the ancient woodland.
Our favourite had to be the Wild Boar whose deep carvings just have to be stroked. After the Wild Boar you will find a carving of a Hornbeam Fruit which looks like an elegant throne and is a welcome place to sit down and have a rest if little legs are getting tired. With the promise of a picnic at the end of the trail we carried on and found the sculpture of a Peasant Woman and Child foraging for berries, appropriately surrounded by blackberries coming into fruit.
After the Peasant Woman and Child sculpture you turn left and join the public bridleway at the West Car Park. Take care at this point at the bridleway is used by cyclists and horses and we also found that in this area dog owners had not taken as much care to pick up dog mess. After a short walk we discovered the final sculpture, a Herdsman and his cattle.
Towards the entrance to the car park there are a couple of picnic benches next to a large log pile and we rewarded our efforts with a picnic before we headed home. Overall we really enjoyed Broxbourne Woods and the Sculpture Trail is good fun and just about right in distance (it took us about 30 minutes to do the whole trail) but the lack of toilet facilities is a pain when you have young children.
If you are thinking of going then take a look at the Countryside Management Service website.
What is your favourite local walk suitable for young children? You can let me know by leaving a comment below.