the little things

25 May

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Where do you think we are?  Somewhere deep in the countryside?  A million miles from the big smoke?  We are a 20 minute drive from our house in Battersea, in Richmond Park.  Last Saturday, a gorgeously hot and sunny day, we made some sandwiches and spent the day in this beautiful ancient woodland in the city.

We walked no more than a quarter of a mile from the car park, up a small hill and into the woods.  We squatted in other people’s magnificent dens (we are obviously not the only den builders in London), searched through leaves for ‘woodmice’, tried to catch butterflies and ate our picnic under giant oak trees.  And we hardly saw anyone all day.  There were a few riders, a couple of dog walkers and a man doing rather comical exercises on whom the children practised their unsubtle spying skills.

We found feathers, tiny caterpillars, a discarded antler, thousands of tadpoles and shy little rabbits who disappeared down their holes as they heard us approaching.  If it wasn’t for the vapour trails criss crossing the sky, and the distant hum of cars, we could have been miles from the city.

Richmond isn’t the only place where we can pretend to be in the countryside.  We have Wandsworth Common, Putney and Barnes Commons, the thousand acres of SSI of Wimbledon Common, all a short drive or bus journey from our house.   Big green pockets of muddy, stick-filled, caterpillar-rich, toddler entertainment.  Who needs Legoland?


21 Responses to “the little things”

  1. angelsandurchinsblog 25/05/2010 at 3:02 pm #

    And don’t forget Tooting Common! Lots of den-building opportunities there, plus trees to climb, fallen ones to walk along, a large pond, and lots and lots of lovely space for cycling, picnics and running around on.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/05/2010 at 3:07 pm #

      You are right! I deliberately left out Clapham, which is our closest. What with the used condoms, it’s not exactly the rural idyll…

  2. marketingtomilk 25/05/2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Thank you. i’d forgotten how gorgeous richmond park is. def one for the summer list!

  3. forrestblogging 26/05/2010 at 6:13 am #

    Thanks for highlighting the brilliant parks of London! Sometimes people forget that it is one of the ‘greenest’ cities in Europe, if your measure of green is parkland.

    Glasgow has even more!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/05/2010 at 10:58 am #

      My guess is that most cities have lovely places like Richmond, it’s just that people don’t always make the most of them.

  4. Kat 26/05/2010 at 10:20 am #

    Certainly not what I think of when I think of a city park. Pleasantly surprised. Glad you had a good day.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/05/2010 at 10:57 am #

      Richmond was Henry VIII’s favourite hunting ground. It’s changed very little since then.

  5. christinemosler 26/05/2010 at 10:31 am #

    Sounds like a perfect day! We have ‘woodmice’ too!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/05/2010 at 10:56 am #

      Woodmice are quite entertaining. Takes ages to find them, then lots of squealing and running away when you put one in their hands.

  6. nomorexcuses 26/05/2010 at 11:00 am #

    Cheaper, healthier and a lot more educational than legoland – no competition! Looks lovely

  7. Heather Davis 26/05/2010 at 11:49 pm #

    I loved all those places when we were living in London. It’s amazing how you can feel out of the City and still be in it. Magical. You so clever with your slideshows too!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 27/05/2010 at 1:55 pm #

      Thank you lovely. The slideshows are really easy to do. Don’t tell anyone.

  8. fiona Erlandsen 28/07/2010 at 9:17 am #

    What a great day of exploring, my kids love being in the nature like this too.

  9. Kate 28/07/2010 at 11:10 am #

    Love the pics.

  10. dawniebrown 28/07/2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Sounds like a fab day out 🙂

  11. Him Up North 28/07/2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Ah, there’s nothing better than getting all mucky while getting close to nature. Pools and ponds are paradise, aren’t they? Superb pictures.

  12. @jencull (Jen) 28/07/2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Looks like it was a great adventure:) jen

  13. nappyvalleygirl 28/07/2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Ok you’ve finally succeeded in making me nostalgic for SW London. The parks are fantastic. (Although I disagree about Clapham – that was our closest too and nothing beats a coffee at the bandstand on a chilly autumn morning….)

  14. MuddynoSugar 28/07/2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Oh that has brought back memories, I was in college in Roehampton and had many a picnic in Richmond Park. It is beautiful there and your pictures are lovely.

  15. bubbleboo 30/07/2010 at 6:45 pm #

    What a wonderful post. I think that the countryside in the city is my favourite type of countryside – it’s a shame it’s so overlooked sometimes

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 02/08/2010 at 3:16 pm #

      Oh thank you, that’s lovely. As a confirmed Londoner, I’m very pleased that we have so much green space so close.

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