Moors Valley is a free day out (excluding parking) and you can visit in most weathers and still have a great time. It's based near the New Forest and has acres of woodland around the main centre. The most expensive thig you will have to pay for here is the car park, but after that if you manage your visit you can have a free day out (apart from the obligatory ice cream of course.)
There are a range of woodland walks that you can go on and the famous play trail with lots of activities for the children to stop and play on as you get some exercise.
You must note the only toilets are at the train station and the visitor centre so visit before heading off into the woods.
There is a train, ice cream stalls, cafe, bike hire, bbq areas, nature trails and plenty of things for the whole family to do in the outdoors. Take a picnic and enjoy it by the lake. I can't reccomend it high enough.
This is one of the best country parks we've ever been to - it was fantastic and entertained people from thirty-something to two years old.
On arrival, we took our parking ticket for payment on exit, and tried to heave our jaws back up from the floor at the prices of parking. We went in October, not in half term, during the week and paid £5.50 for about 4 hours, maximum charge apparently £8.
The visitors centre is in a very nice barn-type buidling, with a gallery space and attached to an extremely nice cafe. The staff in the visitors centre were very helpful and spent time telling us what things we could do with the children (in a nice way.
There is a very well equipped park a few minutes walk from the visitors centre which has the added attractions of a lake view and a small ride on steam train that goes round, with stations, tunnels etc. It was closed which I was relatively pleased about as, with 4 children, I knew it would have cost me my remaining arm and leg. But they were thrilled just to see the little stations, bridges, tracks and tunnels.
The park itself has a variety of climbing equipment, zipwires, sandpits etc etc.
Next to that is a large lake and picnic area with lots of ducks, and cheeky seagulls. Beyond is apparently an 18 hole golf course.
We decided after playing to go forest-side and there are acres and acres of forest with a picnic area at the beginning. The forest is extremely well tended and clean, there was no rubbish or dog muck which made a nice change. We walked around the forest (using the map from the visitors centre) for a good hour and a half without seeing a single other person.
We went to the lookout, which has picnic areas around and has a great view, as you would expect. A large wooden structure where you could shelter from the rain if necessary, and picnic.
Afterward we followed the path down to the treetops trail which was a bit hair raising but totally safe, obviously. Then on to the play trail, a mile or so round walk with some fantastic equipment on the way - nothing i'd ever seen anywhere else. A wooden replica ants nest the children could climb around, a spiders web to climb over, a wooden maze etc etc.
There is also a Go Ape centre on site, for those more adventurous and we watched people zip wiring and climbing high up in the tree tops.
Finished off with a trip to the very very nice cafe for hot chocolate and cakes - this is a fantastic day out and when I say it all out loud the initial moaning at the parking charges is pathetic really. £5.50 for a wonderful outdoor experience is not a lot, is it!
Definately highly recommend.
Moors Valley is a country park with plenty for everyone to do. It is well known for its woodland walks and massive wooden play structures which can be found amongst the trees. Other than these the park also consists of a steam railway, high wire adventure area and bike hire for those who want to take in the surroundings on 2 wheels. Entrance to the country park is Free but you have to pay for parking and last time I went the maximum for this was about 7 or 8 pounds. Some activities can cost a little extra. This is a great day out with plenty of areas where the kids are safe to run in the woods and just generally have a good time. For those not scared of heights I would deffinatly suggest the tree top walk where you walk on bridges high in the trees and can take the time to view the wildlife of the forest. A fun day for all.
Backing up what other posters have said the only downside to this place is the parking charge.
It is upto £8 per day for the car but it's a pay when you leave so you don't have to decide how long you want to stay when you arrive.
For regular visitors the annual permit is very reasonable.
Once inside you see where your parking charges have gone. This country park is huge (I have never found any of the fences around the perimeter). There are forest walks, Go ape for the adventurous amongst us and a very good tree top walk where you view the wildlife from around 15 feet in the air. I'm not keen on heights but this was such a safe walk with a closed in bridge that I was happy walking around in this.
Facilities for young ones include a big climbing frame area and a mini train that gives you a tour of the park.
I would recommend taking a picnic and sitting by the lake as the food options are not extensive, but they do have very good icecreams for dessert :)
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