“Mummy, when are we going to see Swampy?”
A couple of years ago we discovered the world of Boggles and Twiggles. This has been a pretty constant question ever since. And also because of the imagination of Tom Blofeld and the rather stupendous adventure park BeWilderWood based on his wonderful stories.
A beautiful corner of the countryside, all 50 acres of it, has been given over to childish dreams and adventures. Treehouses, slides, swings and ropes litter the forest, and imaginations and legs can run wild. Bewilderwood has something for everyone. The serious climbing type stuff is for children from 92cm in height…
…but it also works adults with a bit of skip in their hearts and a sense of fun in their feet.
At £13.50 for full price, it is a little on the expensive side, but there is so much to do there, it’s more than justified. The adventure park is as true to Tom Blofeld’s story as it can be, and kids will adore finding characters and locations from the books. Not to mention sliding down, and playing on some of the most well known, including the Slippery Slope and Broken Bridge.
There is a storyteller there to help those families who might not be as familiar with Swampy and the crew as my kids. The only criticism here is that she was only available at two events in the whole day. This did mean making sure you caught the performance was a little difficult, particularly when there is so much to distract the kids. Having said that, she certainly captured the kids’ attention with her tales of witches, and spiders wearing high-heeled shoes…
The charm of Tom Blofeld’s books is in the creativity of both his characters and the scenes he paints for the readers. The adventure park is in keeping with this, with its beautifully made Twiggle houses, and a little Grubble Greeting point at the start of your trip to Bewilderwood.
The journey into the wood on a boat through Dismal Dyke and Scarey Lake is just what the kids wanted – straight into the story as soon as you march through the gates. For those of you who don’t know it too well, here is the lovely boatman from Bewilderwood to explain about Boggles and Twiggles. Watch out for the surprise at the end….
It is worth noting that only 11 can fit on a boat, so be prepared either to wait, or to take the quicker walking route into the trees at the start of your adventure. Once inside the wood, there is a lot to entertain the children, all with specific links to the books.
However, you don’t need to know Swampys story to have fun. The children can get lost in the Muddle Maze, zoom down the Slippery Slope or dangle on the Wobbly Wires. There really is something for everyone.
For younger children, mums and dads may have to muck in. This doesn’t seem too much of a problem though, as the adventures are just as much fun for the parents as the kids. With older kids you could just get a chance to sit down, though – which might be quite nice. Do be careful though; don’t lose your big kids!
The walkways and houses up in the trees are long and complicated – they might not come down where they went up… If you are a real outdoor bod, you can have fun building a den with your kids too; and perhaps stop by for a cup of tea in your child’s house at the end of a day’s hard climbing. Maybe even with a spot of “fresh blackberries” (the bark bits in the photo below) collected in the woods.
The food in Bewilderwood is simple, but tasty. There is an emphasis on offering choice in keeping with the books, including Swampy Stew, and Bewilder Bangers. Though there isn’t a huge amount of hot food choice, there is certainly enough to keep most kids happy. As for the choice of pudding, you are spoilt!
Overall, Bewilderwood is a charming, fun and energetic place to take the kids. If they don’t already love the world of Swampy before you go, you can guarantee that they will be singing Mildred’s praises when they leave. Or possibly even leaving with her…
I would recommend Bewilderwood for a full day out for both big and small kids alike. If you haven’t read the books, I suggest you pick one up on the way out too 😀
If you want to learn more about BeWILDerwood, please visit their website – BeWILDerwood
This review was done by Helen and her family – Helen Neale is a freelance writer and owner of parenting tools and advice website, KiddyCharts where she sells personalised kids charts, and offers advice on the challenges of being a parent. She is usually found on social media with a diet coke in her hand, yearning for chocolate. You can follow Helen on Twitter as @kiddycharts
Disclosure – Helen and her family were given complimentary entry in order to do this review