Dorset is a county with several country parks scattered across the land. Avon Heath is the largest with extensive tracks to explore, Sand Lizards and insect sculptures, whilst Upton Country Park is close to Poole Town and a fantastic place for the kids with over a hundred acres of woodland to play in. Moors Valley is a place that has something for everyone with marked walks and cycle routes, and Durlston Country Park offers a rural ecstasy with astonishing views, sea-cliff walks and the Great Globe.
Avon Heath Country Park has mile upon mile of track and the chance to discover heathland and curious species in both the flora and fauna world. Get the youngsters interested in nature by introducing them to its delights and all the enchantments it has to offer. There are some really unusual creatures to be viewed here that will captivate everyone, from the Sand Lizards and Smooth Snakes to the Dartford Warblers, Woodlark and the Silver-studded Blue Butterfly. Kids will absolutely adore this place particularly the zip wire and spider’s web climbing frame, story telling throne and sand pit shelter.
Upton Country Park is just a short distance from Poole Town in Dorset and a great place to take kids as there’s over 100 acres of woodland. As well as walking in the woods and along the coast there’s also the country house with stunning landscaped gardens and a huge play area for the youngsters to run wild in.
The park has 4 Green Flag Awards which means it meets the national standards for parks and green spaces in England and Wales. Restoration work is ongoing and the Walled Garden is one area that is getting a lot of attention in an effort to restore the original beauty of the park. A popular venue for all kinds of occasions there are outdoor picnic concerts and an annual Plant Fair to check out.
The country house itself is a Grade II listed building that was built in 1818, and these days is used for all kinds of events from conferences, exhibitions and training courses, to weddings and celebrations as the setting is beautiful, the house is open only on selected days of the year where you can then wander around and admire the architecture and furnishings.
Moors Valley Country Park has lots of marked out trails and cycle routes that are safe and not too strenuous. For the little ones there’s the adventure playground and the play trail in the forest, the older kids will be thrilled at the high wire adventure course, and the narrow-gauge steam railway and 18-hole golf course should be enjoyed by all the family.
The Moors River and the Ebblake Bog have been elected Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are facilitated for many of the educational activities provided by the ranger service. A wide range of water birds can be seen on the lake, look out for Kingfishers, Herons, and Cormorants as well as Dragonflies and Damselflies.
Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve is a remarkable countryside retreat close to Swanage, offering an ideal place to escape from the crowds it’s got great views, nature walks, dramatic sea-cliffs and the Great Globe – 40 tons of Portland limestone, cast-iron bollards from all over London, and Durlston Castle itself, all connected by picturesque cliff-top paths with Victorian panels carved with poetry and interesting facts. Join the rangers for a guided walk around Durlston’s grasslands to see the wildflowers blossoming or take an evening cruise from the pier to see puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, Guillemots, Fulmars, Skylarks and Peregrine Falcons.
A huge diversity of wildlife means there is a full programme of events to enjoy from guided walks, boat trips, talks, children’s activities and more. Hotels in Dorset can be booked nearby so you can spend a few days at the park soaking up its unique atmosphere.