An autumn walk at Langley Park

The evenings are drawing in now, but they’re still light enough to be able to enjoy outdoor adventures after school. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, and the lure of a sunny October afternoon is hard to resist. It was the perfect opportunity to head to Langley Park to collect some autumn leaves ready for some nature crafting.


Sophie walking along one of the paths in the Temple Gardens - "An autumn walk at Langley Park"


Langley Park has always been a favourite spot for us. The girls always loved the playground and the staff in the cafe are always so friendly and welcoming. We usually head to the Temple Gardens first to follow the various paths through the gardens. There are arrows marking various trails through the park and Sophie loves to follow some of them.


Sophie exploring the paths in the Temple Gardens at Langley Park


I don’t think we’ve really explored the Temple Gardens since Jessica died. As we turned a corner, I suddenly noticed the bench. The one where we sat and posed with the scan photo of Thomas for our January Me and Mine photos. I could see us all sitting there; the beaming smile on Jessica’s face as she pointed to the scan photo of the brother she was never to meet. One of those moments when grief seems to knock the air from my body. It was all wrong to be standing there again with Thomas but without Jessica.


Sophie, me, hubby and Jessica sitting on a bench with me holding a scan photo


Sophie was running ahead though, oblivious to the significance of the spot where I was standing. I took a deep breath and headed after her. She was on a mission to find the perfect leaves to take home. She hunted for orange leaves, red leaves, crunchy leaves and big leaves. Every few steps she would stop to pick up another one: “ah this is a good one!”


Sophie holding up a brown leaf


Sophie holding up a red and green leaf


The maple leaves are my favourite autumn leaves. I love the deep vivid shade of red they turn. Sophie gathered a few for her bucket along with some pine cones. She also tried to chase after the squirrels who were scampering around the gardens, but they were far too quick for her.


Sophie collecting maple leaves


Me with Thomas in the sling


We stopped in the cafe for ice-cream before heading to the playground. As you can see, Sophie thoroughly enjoyed her ice cream.


Sophie enjoying a chocolate ice-cream in the cafe


The playground was fairly quiet – just a couple of other children there. Sophie was soon playing with a little girl who was about Jessica’s age. They had fun together on the seesaw, “selling ice creams” in the little wooden hut and sliding down the slide together.


Sophie on the seesaw


Even in a familiar spot like a favourite playground, new discoveries can be made. This time Sophie noticed the bamboo bush in the middle of the playground. It made a perfect little den for her and her new friend.


Sophie hiding in the bamboo bush


Sophie also discovered that she could make it to the top of the mound over the tunnel if she took a good run up. She was so pleased with this new ability that she did it again and again.


Sophie standing on top of the mound over the tunnel in the playground at Langley Park


On the way back to the car, the big leaves that she had collected made perfect wings for “flying” down the path.


“I wish they were magic leaves so I could really fly though, Mummy.”


Sophie flapping big leaves like wings


Back home, Sophie wanted to use the leaves to decorate a picture of herself. I drew a cartoon version of Sophie and then she made leaf clothes for it. It was a fun way to finish off our afternoon.


The cartoon picture of Sophie decorated with autumn leaves



Visiting Langley Park Country Park – what you need to know:


Langley Park Country Park
Billet Lane


There is a large pay and display car park.


Opening times:

The park is open from 8.15am each day. Closing times vary throughout the year with the park closing at 4.30pm from late October – early February and 7.30pm in the summer months. For more details, click here.



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20 thoughts on “An autumn walk at Langley Park

  1. This looks like such a lovely day out. I adore that photo of you all with the scan photo, Jessica looks so happy in it. That must have been a real bitter sweet day out for you, Sophie seems like a little ray of sunshine to you all. It is also a lovely legacy that Jessica has left to enable Sophie to make friends so easily. I think this is something children learn a lot easier when they have a sibling that they’re close to.

    1. It is lovely to watch her make friends so easily. I know how much she misses having her sister to play with x

  2. Oof, grief just keeps on hitting doesn’t it. You describe the feeling so well I want to hug you across the ether. What a beautiful autumn day out though. Somehow I’m not getting out for those little afternoon forays as much. Must work at it more. The photo with Thomas’s scan must be so precious. You’re amazing Louise xx

    1. Thank you Lucy. It does hit hard at times. We had a lovely afternoon in spite of it though x

  3. Leaf clothes, that’s a lovely idea. We made leaf ties on Father’s Day but I really like the idea of leaf clothes. A perfect way to make good use of a wonderful collection of colourful leaves. I felt for you with the bench there, I remember seeing that photo when you posted it, and being so thrilled for you at the news of “Peanut”. Thank goodness for Sophie and her happy quest for leaves to move you on passed the moment.
    Now I know how that lovely Instagram photo I featured last week fits into your outing. #CountryKids

    1. The bench hit hard I think because I wasn’t expecting it. It is such a beautiful memory but it breaks my heart too. Having Sophie spurring me on helped though. I love that photo of her in the playground too, thank you for including it in the round-up x

  4. What a fun outing! I’m sorry. I love that you are able to visit and let S have joy in places that rub your heart raw with grief. It looks like S had a wonderful time. It’s great that she was able to find a new friend to play with. We are still averaging high temps between 82 to 84 degrees F (27 to 28 C). We are supposed to get a cold front next week. I am not sure I am ready to embrace chilly weather.

    1. Sophie is good at helping keep me smiling. It’s been warm here too although not as warm as for you!

  5. Sending hugs for the bittersweet moments that grab you by the heart when you least expect them. Sophie obviously had a great day out though and ha, love the ice cream face ! xx #CountryKids

  6. I love the leaf picture, what a great idea. My heart aches for you though, thinking of Jessica. But it sounds like you made some lovely memories to savour. #countrykids

    1. Thank you Annabel. These days out can bring such mixed emotions. Was lovely to see Sophie having fun though.

  7. I’m so guilty of not venturing out after school with my son at this time of year. Looks like Sophie had so much fun, love that ice cream face and her artwork with your cartoon face of her. There must be so many bitter sweet moments filled with memories for you Louise, it must be so hard. But Sophie has such a lovely imagination #Countrykids

    1. She does have a lovely imagination. Some days out can be hard but it’s still nice to make new memories.

    1. It is lovely to be able to make new memories as well as remember the old ones, even though it is bittersweet.

  8. I really noticed his dark it’s getting in the evenings now. It must be so hard you really are an inspiration to all. Love Sophie’s picture, I’m glad she had fun and created some new memories too xx #CountryKids

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