Earlier in the year we joined The National Trust. The decision was made after a family half term trip to Cornwall, where virtually everywhere we visited (even some of the car parks) would have been free had we been National Trust members. I think in the end it was a particularly special jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw at Trellisick that swayed us!
Being in Northants there’s not too many NT properties to choose from but there is one pretty much on our doorstep. Lyveden New Bield.
Lyveden was constructed for Sir Thomas Tresham it is an incomplete Elizabethan lodge and moated garden and it happens to be one of the most tranquil properties I have ever visited, with its very own lakes, snail mounds and labyrinth.
When we first visited I had no idea what to expect and in honesty I was expecting a boring, half built derelict house on a hill, and that is true (not the boring bit though obviously). Lyveden is steeped in history and has an intriguing, fascinating story that you can access via the NT audio guide if you wish to use it, but even without you can just relax and enjoy the peaceful setting.
But this weekend there was little relaxing to be had. We went along with our 7-year-old to LyvedenALIVE! To investigate Lyveden’s wilder inhabitants with a range of free trails, worksheets and activity sessions. There was plenty of opportunities to get closer to nature. Specifically we went pond dipping and hunting for bugs!
We were all really impressed with the extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers on hand to help us identify the creatures we found and we all had a fabulous time emptying out our nets to see what pond treasure we had within each scoop of the net.
We did indeed find many insects and bugs, there is even a bug hotel!!
After our hard work we had quite an appetite and rewarded ourselves with a yummy scone and clotted cream in the quaint tea rooms next to the house. I have to say it is the best scone I have had outside of Cornwall. I would have added a photo for you to see, but no sooner had I loaded up with jam and cream, and it was scone!!
Lyveden ALIVE! Is taking place throughout half term and I would recommend it to anyone with school aged children.
Why not join in a volunteer-led activity sessions? Available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, no booking necessary. Activities include pond-dipping, wildflower meadow sweeps, a hedgerow bug hunt and exploring inside a tree.
Enjoy a different activity everyday (and then scones naturally).