We have lived in our house for nearly a year. We always venture out and love to find nature walks and trails, however, this particular site is really close to where we live and we had never been. We drove down this morning around 10.30am, the car temp said it was 26 degrees already so we knew we would be in for a scorcher of a walk.
So we covered the kids in sunscreen, instantly turning them from angelic looking little girls into greasy children who look like they need a good wash.
On the approach you turn down a very long tree lined dirt road which emerges into a clearing and you see this.
There is parking on site which is free and there are picnic tables available if you want one. The Mill is a fishing shop, nature reserve, fish lake and education centre owned by Anglian Water. It also has holiday accommodation on site too. You can view their website here. Adults pay £3 admission each and children are free, you can buy an annual pass for £40 which I think I will be doing as it is so easy to get to and the kids loved it. They have toilets and all the trails are wheelchair accessible. During school holidays they have lots of events and activities for kids to do.
Inside are various screens with wildlife facts on them, along with bug specimens and binders full on information, my kids had no interest in the binders being 2 and 3 but they loved the specimens. You pay at the desk which is also the till if you want to buy a drink (cold in fridge/hot from vending machine) or a snack or ice cream. This is also where you go if you want fishing gear. Now I know nothing about fishing but it seemed that this place had it all. We paid our £6 and got given a map of the reserve which is around 100 acres, the guy at the counter told us which of the 3 routes would be best to see the highland cows . For those of you that don’t know, my littlest, Aria aka little fish FUCKING LOVES COWS!!
He advised us that if the cows were in the way we should clap loudly to get them to move. So off we went.
There are 3 routes, red, yellow and blue. Blue is the lake walk (1 mile) where all the fisher people are (fishermen sounded a little sexist), the yellow was to a bird lookout and was around about a 1/2 mile walk and the red route was the nature walk (2 miles) which is where we headed.
At the start of the walk you cross a little bridge and there is a GINORMOUS WATERFALL according to the toddlers, in actual fact I think it is called a weir and it is very loud for something that is quite small, a bit like me. So while Ben took the bikes back to car, (we had assumed it was a boarded walk but it was bumpy grass) me and the girls sat near the GINORMOUS WATERFALL and they had some pom bears while I took pictures. Ben arrived back and we set off on the trail, it is very pretty and runs next to the river wensum, there are all the bugs you could ever hope to see which meant we had to stop approximately every 19 seconds for someone to announce – THE BIGGEST BUTTERFLY I EVER SEEN or I NOT SEEN A BLACK DRAGON FLY AFORE.
After about 5 minutes we arrived to gate, on the other side of the gate were lots of highland cows, and then there was another gate. We had seen people ahead go through the gates with ease so we entered the cows turf and took some pictures.
Now these cows are amazing, fucking terrifying because they are massive and have huge horns but really lovely.
My favourite was the one in the foreground who was just stood in the water, chilling, no cares in the world.
I liked him so much I had to take a moo-selfie.
Now i’m not sure if you can see from the orignal cow picture but behind them is the gate we needed to get through. We picked the kids up and walked towards them and they didn’t move. Plan B was to clap, so we clapped as we had been instructed to. Nothing. I won’t lie, at this point I was feeling pretty scared, these cows are huge, absolutely massive and their horns look sharp as fuck.
Plan C was for me to take the kids back out of the other gate and for Ben to risk being stabbed by a horn or trampled on in an attempt to move them. He tried clapping at them, moo-ing, shoo-ing. They were not moving for anything. Another two families arrived and we all clapped and moo-ed but still the giant cows would not move so we had to turn back. The girls thought this whole thing was amazing.
We went back to where the paths split and walked down toward the bird lookout, this little part of the walk was boarded which would have been good for the kids bikes but we honestly couldn’t be arsed to walk back to the car and get them as it was roasting hot.
It was such a pretty little walk and we arrived at the bird lookout really quickly. The girls loved going inside and trying to spot all the birds listed on colourful posters on the walls. We finally walked a little bit around the lake where there were some beautiful bushes covered in huge pink flowers, I have no idea what they are called but they were really pretty.
Just before we left the lake area I saw a little clearing near the water and realised the it was so still it looked like a mirror so I took another selfie as i was planning on posting it to the ‘gram.’
Before we came home the girls wanted to play on the play area which was really smart but a little too grown up for the kids, especially Aria. Miicah did manage to climb the cargo net and was super proud of herself.
We had seen something on the website about kids being able to go ‘pond dipping’ and we asked at the desk but they said it had to be supervised and there wasnt enough staff on today to do it which was fair enough but we will definitely do it next time.
Overall I think it is an awesome day out and we are already planning our next trip and will be taking some friends along too. Funny how things right on your door step can be missed so easily. Do you have any hidden gems where you live? If you are in Taverham I highly recommend a visit, might even see you there.