When BeWILDerwood first opened, 10 years ago this month, I remember saying, in quite a grumpy voice: “Why didn’t they have this when I was growing up? I want to go!”.
As it turns out, adults are encouraged to play alongside their children so, since having Freya, I’ve been able to climb, zip, crawl, slide and whoop to my heart’s content – although possibly with less speed and creakier joints than before.
What is it?
The award-winning “wild and imaginative adventure park” was created by Tom Blofeld in the Norfolk Broads, near Wroxham. He had the idea to build a healthy and active family experience – and it certainly is that.
It begins with a magical boat ride along the Dismal Dyke and into the Scaaaary Lake.
Along the way we learn about the enchanting inhabitants of the wood, who also feature in Tom’s delightful books for children. There are Boggles and Twiggles, Mildred the vegetarian Crocklebog, Hazel the Wood Witch and a Thornyclod spider, who loves boots and shoes.
Back on land there are aerial and ground level woodland walks linking a series of tree houses, play structures, picnic and story-telling areas.
Main attractions include Wobbly Wires, The Sky Maze, Slippery Slopes, The Broken Bridge and a Muddle Maze but there are also lots of things to play on or around under the woodland canopy, which is especially nice on very hot days.
It’s all very hands-on and, as well as den building, there are crafts to make and, at certain times, lovely stories to listen to (and be part of).
What I really like are the special areas for under fives (Toddlewood) – including little zip wires, which are Freya’s favourite thing. Although, even the first time we went more than a year ago, there were not that many things that she couldn’t do with a little help.
Dotted about you can find little Boggle homes on the ground and you might spot a Twiggle house high in the trees. There are also signs to read and learn from. It’s all really well done.
A lot of thought has obviously gone into every area of the attraction – including the food (nearly all of which comes from “carefully chosen and certified local farmers, veggie growers and even odd little suppliers exclusive only to us”). You are also welcome to bring your own picnic.
What do we think overall?
BeWILDerwood is a unique, fun-filled day out for all the family. I have no doubt it will be a trip we make for many more years to come.
How much does it cost?
On the day (or over the phone).
Under 92cms – free.
92 – 105cms – £14.50.
Over 105cms – £16.50.
65+ – £9.50.
You can save money by booking online in advance. Full details (including opening hours) here.
As a special treat, here’s a little clip of Tom Blofeld reading a poem he wrote to celebrate the 10th anniversary of BeWILDerwood.