Spring into Easter

Liz Nicholls


Easter comes early this year, March 29th – April 1st, which gives us an opportunity to enjoy the glories of spring as well of course, as eating chocolate!

There’s so much more to Easter than just choccy eggs, for many it has the deepest religious significance, for others it affords a long weekend of spending time with your loved ones hopefully with some bright cheery spring sunshine then and beyond.

This Easter pop along to a National Trust property near you for a family trail. Jam-packed with outdoor activities, games, riddles and crafts, every Easter celebration is different and ends with a chocolate egg.

Spring has sprung at Widmer Farm Park in Princes Risborough, with lots of cute babies due to be born in March and April, including lambs and kids.

“It’s definitely the season we all look forward to after a cold winter,” says Alice Paterson. “At Easter our focus is on new beginnings. We support rare breeds and are very proud to be contributing towards the conservation of Bagot goats, Golden Guernseys and Cotswold Sheep with our breeding programme.”

The farm opened more than 30 years ago and in 2022 the family business decided to reopen the farm park which sits alongside the pet and equine shop and horse riding school, making it a haven for all animal-lovers. A café is being built with an indoor soft play area in the pipeline. Right now there’s an Easter Trail included in ticket prices; all participants will receive a treat. Visit widmerfarmpark.co.uk

The Gruffalo is celebrating his 25th birthday at Wendover Woods and to celebrate, everyone is invited to take part in a brand new forest adventure. The family trail features all sorts of party-themed activities and games, along with fun facts to teach you about life in the forest for the Gruffalo and other creatures. Follow the trail to help find the missing party items to give the Gruffalo a birthday to remember.

Thomas the Tank Engine – a real steam locomotive – is offering rides at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in Quainton. Plus, meet Sir Topham Hatt, Rusty & Dusty, Percy and Trevor the traction engine! (If you’re away at Easter, don’t worry; Thomas will be back in Quainton in May, July and October!).

Hughenden, near Wycombe, will welcome your little bunnies for an Easter trail, 10am-4pm from 23rd March to 7th April. Encounter life-size mythical creatures, solve riddles, discover hidden treasures and conquer Medusa’s snakes and ladders or engage in a playful game of Cyclops Eye Spy on the parterre (normal entry plus £3 per trail, including a chocolate egg). With its natural playground for climbing, balancing and make believe, picnic tables in the orchard, walled garden and exhibition about Hughenden’s secret WWII map-making history, a trip to Hughenden is always a great day out.

And there are more National Trust treasures worth visiting in Bucks, of course. Cliveden’s Easter trail will run 29th March to 16th April, 9.30am-5pm (and the Storybook Play Den is always a hit). Claydon near Winslow (former home of Florence Nightingale) will offer the Easter trail 29th March to 1st April and wonderful Waddesdon (whose popular Woodland Playground has just been refurbished) offers eggstra (sorry) fun, games and creative activities as well as the choccy trail, 27th March to 7th April. For more info please visit nationaltrust.org.uk

Peterley Manor Farm in Great Missenden, HP16 0HH, is a cherished local treasure and a great place to buy spring produce. Highlights this month include candlemaking & a Mother’s Day market. Visit peterleymanorfarm.co.uk

We love Kew Little Pigs in Old Amersham where you might be so smitten with the little porkers that you look into homing a micropig yourself! You can book a pigkeeper day for children aged between seven and 16 years on 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th April.

Awesome Odds Farm at Wooburn Common, HP10 0LX, wins rave reviews for good reason with its super slides and indoor zone as well as livestock including goats, sheep, cows, ponies, donkeys and bunnies to meet.

Tot-friendly beauty Bekonscot model village & railway, HP9 2PL, the world’s oldest original model village, has reopened to visitors after the winter. Visit bekonscot.co.uk for more info.

Bucks Goat Centre in Stoke Mandeville, HP22 5XJ, is a bucolic animal paradise with a cafe and the Bunny Brunch on Saturdays at 10.30am offering a chance to feed and cuddle the smaller animals. Also, Fox Cubs is a popular group for SEND children up to 15 years every Thursday. Visit thebucksgoatcentre.website

Hogshaw Farm & Wildlife Park in Claydon, MK18 3LA, is a wonderful space to recharge with animal and farmer encounters and a cafe. Find out more at hogshawfarm.co.uk

Families can explore some of the wonderful details of Amersham old town with a town trail created by the team at Amersham Museum. This has been beautifully illustrated by artist Livi Gosling, with the support of the Rothschild Foundation, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Chilterns AONB. For this & more highlights, visit amershammuseum.org

How about getting some fresh air with a Go Ape treetop adventure in Black Park or Wendover Woods offering a bird’s eye view of the forest. Ropes, zip lines, nets and walkways will take you on a magical journey through the tree canopies. Visit goape.co.uk for more.

The One World Animals team offer hands-on encounters with exotic animals including insects, arachnids and reptiles. Enjoy a workshop at Bourne End Community Centre, SL8 5SX, on 5th April; oneworldanimals.com

Happy Easter, and have a cracking time! LN

Image: National Trust/Paul Harris

Spring into Easter

Round & About


Easter comes early this year, March 29th – April 1st, which gives us an opportunity to enjoy the glories of spring as well of course, as eating chocolate!

There’s so much more to Easter than just choccy eggs, for many it has the deepest religious significance, for others it affords a long weekend of spending time with your loved ones hopefully with some bright cheery spring sunshine then and beyond.

This Easter pop along to a National Trust property near you for a family trail. Jam-packed with outdoor activities, games, riddles and crafts, every Easter celebration is different and ends with a chocolate egg.

Basildon Park is going to the movies, March 23rd-April 14th, as children and families become director of their own Easter movie in the parkland. Basildon Park is often seen on screen as a location in films and the 10 action stations of the Easter trail will help families create their own movie. There’ll be plenty of walking, fun games and photo opportunities to be had along the way. There are also two pre-bookable Easter wreath-making workshops on March 19th and 21st.

You may bump into some grazing sheep and early lambs on your springtime adventure across the country estate at Greys Court near Henley (March 23rd-April 14th) as you follow the Easter trail with 10 activity stations, showcasing the cheery signs of spring. Take part in an Easter wreath making workshop on March 20th and 22nd. Booking necessary.

Get ready for an egg-citing adventure at Stonor and Tumblestone Hollow this Easter when the popular Easter Trail returns to the gardens and adventure playground between March 29th and April 14th. Discover the nature walk, craft activities and storytelling sessions, all within the picturesque backdrop of the gardens and woodland adventure playground. Children are free to weave their way throughout the gardens, walkways, playground and woodland, solving riddles, spotting signs of spring, listening to stories and getting creative.

Wellington Country Park has fun activities for all ages including the very young (up to four) with the Mini Easter Eggstravaganza on March 26th to 28th. Enjoy Junk Jodie Easter crafts, interactive story time with Woolly the Rainbow sheep and Bo Peep and song and dance time with the Blossom Buddies, bubbles in the big top and the Welly Tots Showcase with six exciting new role play zones. From March 29th to April 7th, there are activities for children up to 8 with Easter crafts, singing and dancing with Canary Mary and friends, story time and Circus Wellingtonia.

Thames Vale Vultures are back on their motorbikes for the popular Berkshire Egg Run on Friday, 29th March in support of disadvantaged children/adults/families in Berkshire. Meet at 11.30am, Stadium Way Industrial Estate, Tilehurst (Scours Lane end), for 12.30pm ride to the Abbey Rugby Club, Emmer Green and presentation. Please bring an egg or two to donate.

Be an Easter Egg-splorer at Windsor Castle, March 30th to April 14th. Get crafting in the Castle’s Learning Centre, enjoy Easter themed-activities and while touring the State Apartments become an egg-splorer and follow the family trail to find some tiny objects in the Castle. Many activities are related to the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Book here.

Join BBOWT at Windsor Great Park this Easter holiday and eggsplore the wild woodland and muddy meadow in search of egg-laying creatures! Around the trail you can learn all about the exciting eggs you can find in nature, and crack the egg mystery to win yourself a tasty chocolate egg. There will be activities, games and take-home crafts along the way, April 2nd to 4th. Visit here to book.

Create and grow at Squire’s Garden Centre, Wokingham and keep the little ones entertained. Plant three colourful plants in a wicker basket, decorated with a raffia bow, to create a lovely gift or place in your garden. Advanced booking essential. Follow the clues around the centre to help find the magic word and receive a sweet treat in the Spring Flower Hunt. No booking necessary. Activities April 2nd to 5th and 8th to 12th.

Have fun at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading and enjoy trails and activities in the galleries and garden, April 2nd to 14th. Have a go at a themed trail in the garden, free, discover the Spring Family Activity Packs, take part in a variety of gallery and garden trails including the woodland brass rubbing trail, ride on the fabulous wooden play-on tractor and wagon and bring a picnic or enjoy an Easter treat in the cafe.

Whether you’re in the mood for a thrilling night of drama, uplifting musical theatre, live music, or even standup comedy, Theatre Royal Windsor has a packed season, with something for everyone! Right in the heart of Windsor, they often host major shows before their national tours or West End transfers. Visit theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk for details of all their upcoming shows.

Image: National Trust/Paul Harris

ATOM Society

Round & About


Where did I put my keys? That’s just one of the issues the ATOM Society of Abingdon will be addressing at their fas cinating and informative talk this month, Victoria Framolina from the society explains more

Where did I put my keys? Who hasn’t felt the frustration of losing their keys soon after putting them down?

This is a common experience due to everyday lapses in attention and working memory – our ability to temporarily ‘hold things in mind’. We rely on working memory every day to hold things in mind, solve problems and to make sense of the continuous stream of perception.

During our October talk, Understanding the Components of Memory, we will talk about what working memory is, and give some examples of the important functions it serves in our everyday lives.
As we age, people often experience their memory getting worse. In clinical settings, we see many people who have no neurological issues, but report having much worse memory problems. We will discuss potential factors that might contribute to these lapses in attention and short-term memory and review some of the available assessments.

The speakers will be Rob Udale and Elitsa Slavkova.
Rob Udale is a Cognitive Psychologist with a PhD in Experimental Psychology.  Rob uses behavioural experiments and computational modelling to understand human attention, memory, and visual cognition.  He is currently working in Professor Masud Husain’s Cognitive Neurology lab at The University of Oxford. 
Elitsa Slavkova is a Clinical Research Coordinator and Cognitive Behaviour Therapist. She has contributed to the research design and clinical implementation of a stroke-specific cognitive screen in the NHS, as well as conducting research with people with subjective and mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Read more

Understanding the Components of Memory takes place on Thursday, 17th October from 7pm for 7.30pm, at King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, 10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA.

Non-members welcome £3 at the door, kids under 18 free. For details and future talks please visit ATOM Society