Tag Archives: Wakefield

Sandal Castle

Hula and I get a little bored if we’re cooped up indoors, so we try to get some fresh air as much as possible. It was very blustery on Thursday, but as the sun was still shining we ventured out.

We took a trip to Sandal Castle in South Wakefield. The castle is steeped in history from the War of the Roses and the Civil War. It’s free to park and to walk around the castle. We found that the walk was the perfect distance for toddler legs. The panoramic views of Wakefield and surrounding area from the top of the castle are stunning.

There’s a visitor centre/shop next to the castle. We had a look around as the weather was beginning to turn. The staff were very friendly and geared up to work with children as they offered Holly a number of  activities (Hula decided to colour in a rainbow which was particularly appropriate as Richard the Duke of York died nearby).

Well worth a visit and I’m sure it would be a spectacular venue for a picnic.

(Check out Wakefield District for events)

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Holly took a stroll through the deep dark wood

On a beautiful early Autumnal day, Holly and I went out for a little adventure. The weather has been so warm over the last week that we couldn’t waste the opportunity of getting some fresh air and exploring somewhere different.

After a quick browse online, I found Seckar Wood Nature Reserve . If you know the Wakefield area at all, it’s about one mile from Newmillerdam . Holly hasn’t been to a woods before. We packed a picnic, and invited some friends (Holly brought the Gruffalo, I brought Marty bear from Martin House).

There is a free car park that can accommodate 20 cars, we were the only ones parked. We passed Newmillerdam which was heaving. However, for the two hours that Holly and I were out and about, we saw one other person. It was sublimely relaxing to just listen to the birds, our steps reverberating off of the hollow floor and leaves crackling under our feet.

Holly was a little nervous at first and refused to open her eyes. However, after we had our lunch, she seemed to come out of her shell. It was great to watch her negotiate the tree roots as she walked, and look at things with anticipation and excitement. A simple but splendid day together. Please enjoy our photos of some of the lovely and interesting things that we saw.

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Faced the fear; cycling!

As you may have read in my earlier post “Feel the fear and do it anyway; cycling!” I was a quite nervous about riding my bike on the roads. Since then I have a little update.

I was so scared of cycling on the road that I decided to do a little research and get some help. Many of you will have done your cycling proficiency test at school. However, due to the changes in road conditions over the last 20-30 years, the government have set new standards for cycling proficiency. In 1999, it was reported that there were twice as many cars on the road as there had been 25 years previously. As it’s now 2011, that number will be considerably higher with most households have more than one car. These new standards are called “Bikeability” levels 1-3.

These standards are to assist cyclists in becoming more aware and safe whilst riding in  busy road conditions. Last weekend, with the assistance of a National Standards instructor ( a lovely lady called Anita) I passed the equivalent of the  level 2 Bikeability standard. This improved my confidence hugely and today I went our for a cycle ride with Holly and Mark.

We chose a route from the Wakefield District Cycle Forum.

“Wakefield District Cycle Forum is a cycle campaign group, providing cycle information on cycle routes, off-road cycle routes, cycle maps, cycle rides, health rides, and the Trans-Pennine trail.” (Wakefield District Cycle Forum)

On the whole, it’s a fantastic website full of local cycling information and links. It accommodates all interests and abilities with clubs specifically for a novice like me who likes to take in the scenery on and off-road, to racing cyclists who wish to time trial, to triathletes (plus much more).

They provide photographic cycle maps for around the Wakefield district which you can print and take with you. We chose a route which was on and off-road. I was very brave as I ventured onto a “national speed limit” road, but was also reassured that I’d spent some time with Anita learning how to do this safely.

Holly absolutely loved being on the back of Mark’s bike and was so well behaved. It’s important to us as parents that we set the example to her of being active and healthy. It’s lovely to know that one day Holly will be riding with us independently. We plan to keep an eye on the weather and go out as often as we can. I hope to spend a couple more hours with Anita next year to do my level 3 Bikeability standard (a little challenge just for me, I’m the kind of person that needs to be told that I’ve achieved something). I’m sure we’ll be setting some time aside over the Winter to plan some routes for Spring 2012, roll on Spring!

If you think you’d like to brush up on your cycling skills just put your location in this map and find someone in your area. Happy cycling

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