We are totally spoilt with Forests and green spaces here in Northern Ireland (come visit!). There are so many outdoor places to explore and spend time in (remember the spectacular Tollymore?), and we try to make the most of them by heading out, usually on a Sunday. Sunday really is our Sabbath as a family. Saturdays are usually loaded with coaching and football, groceries and cooking, so Sundays have become our day of rest; our day to be precious about family time and setting our own pace. We knew we needed to get out of the house yesterday - we woke up to the bluest November (!) skies, totally calling us out to adventure. We decided to head to Slieve Gullion Forest Park, a 40 minute drive from us, near Newry. As we headed down the motorway, closer to our destination, the skies went from blue to white and a thick fog covered our entire view. Dave and I looked at each other nervously in the front seats, hoping the fog wouldn't kill our outdoor day buzz.
By the time we arrived, the fog was thankfully starting to lift and those blue skies were peaking out. The change in weather made sense, especially when we realised the incline we were on. Slieve Gullion itself is actually a mountain ('Slieve' is the irish word for mountain, don't you know), officially a part of the famous Mourne Mountain range and is almost 600 meters high.
The entrance of the Forest Park has the loveliest play park, loads of seating & picnic areas so we decided to eat our lunch first thing.
Levi had been here before on a School trip last year and absolutely LOVED it so we let him lead the way, pointing out all the familiar things. We needed to get our bodies warm quickly so we packed up the rest of our picnic and set off on the 'Woodland Walk' part of the mountain trails. Even though it has a pretty significant incline for little ones (and unfit, pregnant ones), the Woodland Walk is broken up beautifully with the most magical fairytale experience called the 'Giant's Lair'. As you walk the path, every corner has something to take in, all part of the magical atmosphere, telling stories of local folklore. There are tiny fairy houses, art features and installations to play in, climb and explore.
It is the perfect day out for families, with so much to see and such a lovely way for kids to interact with nature. We took our time, stopping to look off the beaten track and finding ancient rocks to sit on to finish off our lunch.
We finished the trail and grabbed a coffee in Grounded (Score! Proper coffee available on site!) and Levi had a bit of a go in the play area, but it was kind of short-lived as we were all a bit puffed out and ready hit the road home, totally satisfied with our days trekking.
Have you been anywhere like this? Did you get outside this weekend to soak up the Autumn sun at all? If you need some extra inspiration for things to do, see and create as we move into November, check out this lovely Sunday Supplement from the girls at Seeds & Stitches.
Have a great Monday everyone!