We all have places we've wanted to visit or activities we've wanted to do 'forever'. Some of those wishes are realistic and others less so. For example, I'd love to go to New Zealand - and one day I might, but it won't be just yet. On the other hand, I've wanted to go to the Forest of Dean for a long time, and that is readily achievable, but I just haven't made the time or prioritised it over other opportunities.
But recently one of my brothers moved to Gloucestershire, right on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Last weekend we went to visit him and his family to get to see their new home and neighbourhood. It would have been a shame to miss out on a joint family walk, especially with the autumn colours at their best and the beautiful weather we had during our short stay.
One of the reasons I'd wanted to visit the Forest of Dean are the now infamous wild boar. I knew the boar themselves were likely to be illusive and didn't really hold out that much hope that we'd see one. But the evidence of their presence was certainly more conspicuous! The boars rooting around had turned the road verges over as effectively as the most diligent gardener. And then out of the blue and on route to our selected walking spot, there one was! As bold as brass rooting away right next to a public car park and attracting quite the crowd (including us). Having never seen a boar in England before it was quite the treat and the children enjoyed seeing the 'hairy piggy' too.
It had rained heavily overnight and the paths we walked were suitably muddy - muddy paths are always a bonus when you're walking with children. Even when, like our little lad, you often fall over in it. He spent a noticeable portion of our outing on his backside or face in the mud. We spent a happy couple of hours splashing in puddles, enjoying the autumn colours and foraging mushrooms for a late lunch (my brother is something of an expert so I feel comfortable picking them with him) before retracing our steps back to the car and heading home for a late lunch, bonfire and fireworks. Happy days!
The weather for our drive home through the midlands was as beautiful as the scenery and I was reminded yet again just what a beautiful country England is and how much we take our natural world for granted! We will continue to get our outdoors time as a family regardless of the cold and the mud as we get into Autumn and Winter.