One of the huge benefits of staying in the Youth Hostel at Ilam Hall was the selection of amazing walks available right from the door. On our first day in Ilam, we decided to explore the immediate parkland and followed the suggested 1.6km circular route available in a leaflet from the National Trust, who run a tea room and info centre on site. There is a pay and display car park (free to NT members).
It was easy to find the start and to follow the waymarked trail – the children welcomed the opportunity to practise map reading and confirm our route by spotting mapped features and landmarks.
As it was spring time, lambing was in full force and our walk was pleasantly accompanied by newborn bleating and the rushing of the River Manifold.
The children loved the signs related t the spring trail that were out around the parkland, and enjoyed ‘hoping like a rabbit’ and ‘baa – ing like a sheep’ as we made our way round.
There were lots of things to spot on the walk, including the ‘battle stone’ and the ‘boil holes’ – where the water seeps up to join the river from deep underground. There were lots of friendly ducks on the river who came over to chat too!
The children played amazing games of hide & seek in the Italian Gardens (complete with stone towers and turrets for jumping out of!) and loved crossing the river on the stone bridge to play in the woodland beyond.
We particularly enjoyed having the park land to ourselves in the evenings, and used the handily placed deckchairs to enjoy moon-gazing and bunny watching before bed!