This week we went off to review Hicks Lodge in the National Forest and Joshua and I were super excited to go. As a family we try to get outdoors as much as we can and discover new places that work for all of us.
On arriving at Hicks Lodge I was struck by the peace, yes I know it’s a forest and forests tend to be peaceful however with only being mere minutes away from some pretty major road links I was really impressed!
Now the site itself is set within beautiful young woodland on a previous coal mining site and has been planted with a wide array of different trees which will encourage a wide range of wildlife, adding to that already there.
While there we were given a marvellous tour by the ranges so we could discover Hicks Lodge had to offer and we were not disappointed. We were also lucky to be sharing this experience with some other bloggers too, Katherine from MummyPinkWellies, Erica from 32three30 and Christina from Beadzoid and with the age range of our children from 2-6 we were set for some fun!
The first port of call was the 2km walk round the beautiful lake, with a scavenger hunt set we explored in the hopes to tick of our lists, although Joshua had an amazing time collecting his item, even if he did collect some that weren’t on the list too!
After exploring the beautiful lake we had lunch at the eco-friendly cafe, which has seating inside and out so it can be utilised in all weathers! (The cakes there looked stunning! although not fun for me on a diet and sitting in their vicinity!) The bike hire and information points are all located in the same building which was super helpful to have it all under one roof.
Now talking of bike hire, you can hire all you will need for a bike ride, bikes, toddler seats and bike trailers and with several different type of bike trails there really is something for every level!
The Hicks Lodge Trail, a flat and wide 2km path around the lake, is great for walkers, cyclists and even horses.
The Family Forest Trail (2km short loop and 4.5km long loop) takes you on an exploration across the whole site, there are some hilly bits but it’s still suitable for bikes, trikes, tagalongs, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
The Wood Farm Trail (2.5km) introduces cyclists to easy singletrack and the Shell Brook Trail (7km) brings on more technical features on a moderate graded singletrack which is suitable only for mountain bikes.
However being only 2 and managing to get the whole way round the lake before lunch Joshua was seriously flagging so instead of sitting on a bike and him nodding off half way round I grabbed his new balance bike from the boot of the car and we had another smaller trip round the lake!
We absolutely loved our trip to Hicks Lodge and after purchasing my own bike yesterday I have no doubt the whole Oliver’s clan will be back for another trip soon!
Disclaimer: We were supplied with free parking, drinks, lunch and a ranger for the morning for the purpose of this review. However all opinions were independently formed by members of The Oliver’s Madhouse