Jessica and Sophie looking at the flowers in the grounds of Charney Manor

Outdoor fun at Charney Manor

Every eighteen months or so, our church organises a weekend away. It’s a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, time to reflect on our faith and to build friendship. For the girls, it was mostly about having time to do crafts and to have fun outdoors and getting to be with our extended church family.

Jessica standing in the ground of Charney Manor - "Outdoor fun at Charney Manor"

Charney Manor is a Quaker conference centre and retreat. The building dates back to the 13th century and is set in three acres of grounds. It is the perfect place for a church weekend – peaceful and tranquil, with plenty of space for a large group to meet together for worship, crafts or just chat together over tea and coffee.

Sophie and Jessica exploring the grounds at Charney Manor with my friend

After the Saturday morning worship, the rest of the day was free for us to do what we wished. There were craft activities and a jigsaw puzzle set up in one of the rooms, and suggestions for walks in the local area or places to visit further afield.  As it was just me and the girls (hubby was in Paris working on an event) I wasn’t sure that a longer walk would be manageable on my own so we stayed on site and enjoyed doing drawing and crafts.  In between our craft activities though, we would pop out for walks in the beautiful grounds. Sometimes one of my church friends would take the girls out for a while so I could have a little time for myself. It was blissful.

Jessica throwing leaves in the air

Out in the grounds there was plenty for the girls to explore. Lots of pretty-coloured leaves falling from the trees – piles of leaves on the ground to run through, or kick, or jump in. One of the bushes had giant leaves which the girls were quite fascinated by.

Jessica and Sophie looking at the giant leaves

There were steps to run up and down, little walls to hide behind, grassy slopes to run down. There were apple trees laden with ripe apples – and quite a few on the ground for the local wildlife to enjoy!

Jessica and Sophie running through fallen leaves

A rosy-red ripe apple on a tree

Sophie was quite taken by the cat who came to say hello. He was mostly occupied with trying to scratch his back on Jessica’s “campfire” (the pile of sticks that Jessica had collected) but allowed the girls to stroke him gently before he headed off again.

Sophie spotting a black cat by the apple tree

Sophie stroking a black cat

Our walks in the grounds rarely lasted more than about twenty minutes or so – just long enough to wander about and explore then coming back in for some more crafts. Being somewhere where we could just come in and out at will and have such a lovely area to explore was lovely. It felt like we took ourselves out of the real world and got back to nature and listening to God.

Jessica walking through an entrance into one of the gardens

Later that evening, as we gathered in the small chapel for evening devotions, our minister read a story about how the beauty of nature is a prayer in itself. The whispers of the wind, the way the trees raise their branches to the sky, the babbling of a brook. As he read the story, Jessica climbed into my lap for a snuggle. In that moment, I realised again how truly fortunate I was to be there with her and with Sophie, and was reminded once again of the journey we have had so far and the journey yet to come. I held her close and cherished that snuggle, thanking God for being able to do so.

Me and my girls sitting on the steps outside Charney Manor

It’s in the stillness and the quiet that my heart is most open to God and what He has to say to me. All too often, the noise and the stress and the distraction of daily life takes my attention away. In the same way, it also takes my focus away from the beauty of the little moments of parenthood. In the stillness and the quiet, I see my children more clearly and I am theirs more fully. These are the moments when life falls into place and the stresses of the outside world just melt away.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

33 thoughts on “Outdoor fun at Charney Manor

  1. Coombe Mill

    It sounds like a lovely time away with space to reflect and oh what beautiful grounds. It all looks so perfectly kept and looks like you had some good weather to enjoy your time there. It all sounded very well planned out and family friendly with the crafts laid on and free time to enjoy the grounds.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thank you Fiona – we were very lucky with the weather and it was so nice just to be able to come in and out so easily and make the most of the time away 🙂

      Reply
  2. Erin Vincent

    What a lovely place for a retreat! That large leaf bush looks a lot like a fig…. I wonder if it was? The girls look like they enjoyed their time in the wide open gardens. #CountryKids

    Reply
  3. Plutonium Sox

    Oh how lovely that your church organises events like this. It looks like a beautiful place as well and I love that there’s a friendly cat, Lia would have spent all day with him too!
    Nat.x

    Reply
  4. Dean of Little Steps

    Love your photos, so autumnal. My fave is the one of the three of you. Looks like another lovely family-fun out. We haven’t had the chance to really go out lately because my husband is so busy. Hopefully soon! I miss outings like this one 🙂 #countrykids

    Reply
  5. Sherry

    Our friends church does this every year or so but they end up camping which is always madness. It really does look like you had a lovely weekend, one with friends, faith and family #CountryKids

    Reply
    1. Louise Post author

      Thanks Sherry – we had lots of fun, not sure I would be so keen on it if it involved camping though! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Karen : TwoTinyHands

    What a beautiful place to explore and focus on your faith. Sometimes just getting to chill out and do simple things is just what we need to appreciate the little things we have. Lovely post x x #countrykids

    Reply
  7. tracey at Mummyshire

    What beautiful closing words, and just having that stillness – that quiet – sounds like it was the perfect place to refocus and connect with what’s important.
    Your girls are just lovely and they really look like they’re having a great time in the gardens, playing in the leaves, playing hide and seek behind the wall and what a friendly little cat!
    Take care, Louise
    xx

    Reply

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