It’s hard to beat a woodland walk in late autumn, kicking through the leaves and taking in the spectacular colours of nature, to revitalise body and mind.
Muiravonside Country Park is a fantastic place for such a walk, and it’s perfect for a trip with the kids. A sculpture and poetry trail provides a fun and informative set of wee landmarks to find, taking you through orchard and woodland. It ends up at the cafe and children’s play area; perfect.
Park in the main carpark and start the sculpture trail by heading through the sculpture archway at the side of the carpark. The trail is marked by 'Art in the Park' way markers and map boards. Each piece is designed to highlight the magic and wonder of Scotland’s wildlife. Besides enjoying the lovely environment and views, you can find out about the natural world via an interpretation panel next to each piece. Each pieces is also inscribed with an excerpt from a poem from Kenneth Stephen's book of children's poetry, 'Imagining Things'.
The trail is suitable for all ages; part - but not all - of it is suitable for pushchairs - you can download a map from the Falkirk Community Trust website http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/parks/poetry-trail/ (or pick one up in the visitor centre) which indicates which bits are suitable for pushchairs, and also has suggestions of fun activities for kids to do as you go round the trail.
After the owl seat sculpture, double back towards the play area and visitor hub buildlings. The kids can let off more steam on the play equipment, and you can grab coffees and light snacks in the Steadings Cafe. The cafe is run by the Action Group during the week as a training opportunity for young people with different needs, and during the weekends it is staffed by Falkirk Community Trust. Check their website and the on-site signage for opening times so you don’t miss out on your hot drink!
If you have time before you leave you can choose to visit the small farm which is located just off the main carpark. A range of rare breed Scottish livestock, rescued animals and birds are homed here. There is information at each enclosure telling you about the animals and any special feeding times or events.
Muiravonside park is free to access all year round and really does offers something for everyone – besides the children’s activities described here, a network of paths gives access to spectacular scenery and the impressive aquaduct. The John Muir way passes close to the site and can be accesseed via the wooden steps to the top of the aquaduct.
See www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/venues/muiravonside/ for more info, where there is also a downloadable map.
First published in Konect December 2017
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer