Are you thinking about getting your youngsters out of doors into Warley Woods this summer?  Well here are some of our top tips for new visitors to our special place.  There may be some ideas here for regular visitors too – because it can take a while to find out all the secrets that Warley Woods holds. 

 

Top tips

  • The ever important toilets at Warley Woods are at the Pavilion – the building on the car park at Lightwoods Hill.  So if you don’t want to be caught short in the Woods with a small person – start your visit from there.  
  • OK, now we haven’t seen much rain for a while, but we know that it can get a bit muddy in the play area after rain – so be prepared with wellies, wipes and maybe even a change of clothing – just in case.  It is a woodland play area with mostly natural surfaces – so great for play, but with nature comes the potential for the odd boggy bit. If you have over 12 year olds, there are “adult” swings near the play area, and eight pieces of “outdoor gym” equipment too.
  • If you have food with you – keep an eye on it – as well as dogs exploring who love to sniff out a snack, I’m told the magpies are very bold and have been known to pinch biscuits from an unattended buggy.
  • If you are coming late afternoon or evening, then the café may be shut and cake no longer a possibility, but the shop sells chocolate, snacks and hot drinks until it closes (7pm in the week and 6pm weekends).  When the shop closes, so do a couple of gates.  The vehicle gates at the car park at Lightwoods Hill are put onto auto – so you will always be able to get out of the car park – however late you return to your car. 
  • You can check our opening times here.

Top ideas for things to do

  • Visit the play area.  With its natural play features, plus slide and swings – picnic benches and the Warley Woods Bear Family to meet (Samuel, Lucy, Abi and Alex).  It is fenced and dog free.
  • Search for fairy doors, or painted stones.  The woodland area along Barclay Road is home to lots of fairies and all over the site you can discover stones that people have painted and left for you to find.  Why not bring your own painted stones and hide them too.  Always be polite to the fairies though and don’t knock the doors and run away!
  • Picnic.  There is lots of space, enough for thousands of people.  Options for shady or sunny spots where you can put down a rug and lots of benches.  No barbeques please though – way too much dry woody material about to make that safe.  There are picnic tables within the play area fence and at the Pavilion, if you like to dine in style.  Our biggest event – the Picnic in the Park was started, just to encourage the community to eat together – so keep up the tradition throughout the summer. 

  • Follow one of the identification trails.  We have leaflets on identifying trees (one containing the basics and one for more advanced naturalists), a history trail and then leaflets to help you identify plants and insects on The Wilderness and one about some of the birds you can find at Warley Woods.   All of the leaflets can be seen and downloaded online – but some are in a large format and will be a bit tiny if printed at home, so pick one up at the Shop at the Pavilion before you start your walk.  
  • During this summer (2018) we have some free organised activities.  There is golf coaching (three days a week), football coaching (Fridays mornings) and pop up play (Friday mornings).  There is also Forest Play, but this is fully booked this summer.  If you like Sandwell Out to Play on Facebook you will be the first to hear when they next start booking their ever popular Thursday sessions.
  • While we don’t have crazy golf – just a beautiful 9 hole course – this might be a bit much for some beginners, so at quiet times ask in the Shop for a putter and a ball and you can use our two putting greens to have a go.

So much research now tells us how beneficial it is for children to be outdoors – for both their physical and mental health so just explore, run, cycle and use your imagination amongst the trees, across the wide grass, in the Wilderness and around the sculptures.  Make memories in the Woods – like generations before us have done and those who come after us will do too.     


Many thanks to the members of our Warley Woods Community Trust Facebook group who contributed ideas to this article: Stacey H, Louise G, Kali M, Amy B, Cardella C Rachel N, Laura B, Katherine F, Sharon S, Heather A, Julie W, Lizy T, Lucy E and Lucy K.

If you love Warley Woods like we do, then please make a donation to help keep it looking beautiful.  It takes many hours of work from staff and volunteers to keep it looking so good and the Community Trust has to raise around £800 each and every day just to pay for the basics.  Thank you for helping us. 

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