I have always had a soft spot for Cardinham Woods, having lived close by at Lanhydrock – it was my local spot for exercise, walking, cycling and outdoor play with my children. It is brilliantly managed by the Forestry Commission, making everyone feel welcome to enjoy the facilities, trails and outdoor recreation areas they have created.

Sam, Jasmine and I ventured down to the woods on a bleak January day looking for some exercise and outdoor fun – little did we know that we were about to have one of our best days out – ever!

We parked up and headed for Woods Café for an early lunch. The café here is very welcoming and open all year round. Homemade scrumptious fare is the order of the day with a roaring log fire to ward off the winter chill. Children are made welcome with their own menu, good wooden high chairs and baby changing facilities in the toilets.

We noticed on the way in that there were signs for a Stick Man activity trail, so we enquired at the café and bought one for £3. Over lunch we investigated our pack to find pipe cleaners, a pencil, wax crayons and a number of different challenges for us to try as we explored the trail. We left the café, had a little warm up on the play area and set off following the clearly marked signs for the Stick Man activity trail.

Sticky Man trail Cardinham

There are a number of games and challenges, all based around Julia Donaldson’s excellent story about Stick Man. We learned some new stick games, built a nest for a swan, did bark rubbing and spotted many of the characters who appear in the book.

The trail follows the Lady Trail – a nice level two mile wander along both sides of a stream. We spent over three hours totally absorbed, lost in play and fun. We collected sticks, leaves, ferns and grass for hair as we knew we were going to make Stick Men when we got home.

We rushed straight to the dining room table armed with Sellotape and glue as soon as we could to complete all the games, stick our finds in the scrapbook and make our Stick Men. We all had a lovely time and it reinforced my firm belief that children are happier when playing outside, surrounded by nature. As long as they are kitted out for the weather and conditions underfoot, outdoor play offers them freedom of movement, imagination and wonder – we just need to get them out there more often!

Cardinham Woods has several different trails to wander and some great new challenging cycle trails too.

Getting there

Cardinham Woods is approximately half an hour’s drive from Bosinver. Postcode for SatNavs PL26 7DT. Car parking costs £2 for up to two hours or £3 over two hours.

Which is your favourite family friendly activity trail in Cornwall? We’d love to hear your recommendations. Write a comment below, post on our Facebook page or tweet @bosinver.