A magical fairy hunt in Langley Park

One of my favourite outdoor activities is looking for signs of fairies living in the woods. A little hole at the foot of a tree that surely must be a doorway to a fairy cottage. Little “elf hats” (acorn cups) discarded in autumn. Dewy webs on the ground – the remnants of a fairy picnic. With a little imagination, a walk in the woods becomes a magical adventure.


Sophie looking at a fairy in a tree - "A magical fairy hunt in Langley Park"


We’ve enjoyed a couple of fairies and elves trails at Black Park during school holidays. During the Easter holidays, we saw there was a similar one taking place at the Temple Gardens in Langley Park. This was the first time we’ve seen a trail at Langley Park. Unlike the ones at Black Park, we needed to book our slot in advance though.


Sophie looking up at the pink rhododendrons in the Temple Gardens


The Temple Gardens is the perfect place for a fairy trail. It is a magical spot and is beautiful with the rhododendrons in bloom. They were just past their best at half-term but there were still plenty of blooms and the gardens looked stunning.


Sophie wearing fairy wings and walking through the Temple Gardens at Langley Park


Sophie had a sheet with various activities to do along the way and I took charge of the map. The Temple Gardens is a bit of a maze. We probably would have been fine without the map though as there were plenty of arrows showing us which paths to take.


Sophie standing next to the potions sign with her fairy wand


Each point on the trail covered a different aspect of fairy life – from finding a wand, to making fairy potions, spotting the elf washing hung up to dry or seeing the toadstools in Toadstool Town. There was also a little fairy hiding at each point for us to find.


Sophie stirring the potions cauldron


Sophie looking up at the elves' washing in the trees with her activity sheet


I couldn’t help remembering the previous fairy trails that we’d done at Black Park. Seeing my two girls in their fairy wings together. Oh how Jessica would have loved this trail.


Sophie standing by the toadstools in Toadstool Town


Having a limited number of prebooked tickets meant that the trail wasn’t quite as busy as some of the ones we’d done previously. There was plenty of opportunity to look for the hidden fairy and do the activity without it being overcrowded. That said, anyone taking a walk through the Temple Gardens could have easily followed the arrows around the trail to find the fairies. They wouldn’t have had the map or activity sheet, that was all.


Sophie filling in the activity sheet


Some of the hidden fairies were much easier to spot than others. The fairy visiting the fairy shops was the trickiest – we eventually spotted her high up in a tree!


Sophie at the fairy village with little doors on a log


Sophie looking at a bag of coins left in a tree by the tooth fairy


It wasn’t until we were heading for the final point on the trail that I realised the trail would end at the old yew tree. This was our favourite tree in Langley Park. The girls used to love sliding their toys down the natural slides in the branches, climbing the tree and investigating the inside of the tree. One of my favourite photos of Jessica was her dressed as Little Red Riding Hood standing inside the yew trunk. I use another photo from that day as my Country Kids linky featured image. There are so many memories of fun moments at this particular tree and I hadn’t been able to bring myself to go back to it since Jessica died.


Jessica in her Red Riding Hood costume standing inside the trunk of the yew tree


As you can imagine, it felt quite emotional to be back there. Picturing my girls together there, remembering the happy moments we’d had. I could see Jessica climbing the tree and sitting on a branch with a friend from Girls’ Brigade. I could imagine her delight at seeing the fairies’ tea party set up at the tree – making it even more magical for her.


Sophie ooking at the fairy picnic in the yew tree


We didn’t have any toys with us to go sliding down the tree. Sophie shared her memories of watching Jessica sliding her Kerry doll down it. We stood there for a moment and just remembered those beautiful memories. I can see Jessica in the photo of Sophie I took there. It’s the plaits and the way her hair is curling around her ear that looks a bit like Jessica’s glasses. A trick of the light but for a moment, my big girl was there too. Those occasional glimpses of Jessica in Sophie remind me that she lives on in her sister in many ways.


Sophie looking at the "slide" in the trunk of the yew tree


Sophie got to chose her reward at the end of the trail from a selection of small toys. It didn’t surprise me that she chose the pink sparkly wand! Another one to add to the dress-up box!


Sophie with her activity sheet and pink sparkly wand


We stopped for lunch at the café before heading to the playground. I’d gone for an early lunch to avoid the rush. It did mean though that we arrived at the playground just as it started to rain.


Thomas playing with bricks in the cafe at Langley Park


I have to confess I did chuckle over how quickly the playground then emptied! Being prepared for wet weather meant the rain wasn’t about to spoil our fun – and now we pretty much had the whole playground to ourselves! Sophie’s favourite thing at the moment is running up the mound over the tunnel and standing on the top. This was soon followed by sliding down the other side on her tummy. She also tried to dry off the slide by sliding down it. It’s just as well clothes and children are washable – her dress and tights were rather muddy by the time we left!


Sophie standing on top of the tunnel in the playground


It was lovely just to get outside for a magical adventure and to finish off with such simple fun in the playground. It is the moments like these that make for the most wonderful memories. I am glad that we have such lovely ones to look back on too.


Country Kids linky

5 thoughts on “A magical fairy hunt in Langley Park

  1. You have inspired me to redo some of the things in our fairy garden. I have lots of fairy washing ready to peg out and making wands and potions is always good fun. A lovely looking trail with some very special memories from Langley Park for you. #CountryKids

  2. What a wonderful day and big Brownie points from this outdoor Mum for not letting rain stop play at the end! Toadstool town is one of my favourites, I just love toadstools, and the hollow trunks on that Yew are fascinating, I’ve not seen anything like it before. Sophie has a real look of Jessica in a couple of the photos. Whilst the bittersweet memories must be difficult I suspect there’s something gently cathartic in being able to talk about Jessica and remember her in all these places. Thanks for keeping #countrykids going

  3. What lovely memories of Jessica and how wonderful they’re intertwined now with Sophie ‘s experiences. Very magical indeed. Love the yew tree, what a fabulously tactile tree, all it’s nooks and crannies to explore. We’ve always got puddle suits with us, I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been the only ones in the playground! #CountryKids

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