Severn Valley Country Park, Alveley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
If your kind of a good day out is one spent outdoors reaping the benefits of fresh air, exercise and glorious scenery, then head to the Severn Valley Country Park when you're on your large group holidays in Worcestershire. This 126 acre park was once a quarry, where sandstone was extracted and used in the building of Worcester Cathedral amongst other places; then it became a colliery, employing 1,000 men at its heyday and producing 300,000 tonnes of coal a year. It closed in 1969 and lay dormant until the project to create the Severn Valley Country Park began.
And wow. It's incredible, worth going to for the views alone. The habitat is diverse with open water, riverside, meadows, reclaimed land and semi-anicent woodland to discover. There are several walking trails, including an easy access trail that's suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, and there are cycle paths and bridleways. If the confines of this vast site are too much for you you can even venture further on one of the national cycle routes or walking trails that pass through the park, or explore the wider Severn Valley on a guided walk or orienteering course. The thing is you can lose yourselves here and be immersed in the great outdoors - oh sure, it gets busy around the Visitor Centre and cafe, but then it would, those kind of places always do. All you need to do is wander a little further and you'll soon feel like you've got a world of your own to explore; slow down, look around, see if you can spot any wildlife, sit down for a mindful moment or two, breathe it all in.
Back in the thick of it there's a playground and regular activities for kids, family picnic benches, and best of all, a spring fed pond with a dipping platform, so take your nets and the kids can safely pond dip. Twitchers should take their binoculars and head for the bird hide overlooking the wetlands.
Don't forget to wave to the train - The Severn Valley Railway runs through the park, and thinking about it, that's another way you can get here from Kidderminster or Bewdley - just ask for the Country Park Halt and the driver will stop for you.
T: 01746 781192 All information correct at the time of writing