As well as the range of holiday activities run by our education coordinators, there’s year-round fun for litle ones here at the Thames Chase Forest Centre.
The Forest Centre is one of the specially-selected venues included in the short breaks for families itinerary by Visit Essex.
Zog Trail at Thames Chase
In 2019, Zog becomes the star of our always-popular nature trails around the Broadfields site, punctuated by familiar characters from the pens of Julia Donaldson and Axel Schleffer.
Take a journey through the forest and learn more about the woodland around you, and have a roaring good time as you graduate through Dragon school, using the special activity packs to guide you. Share your adventure on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram via the hashtags #ThamesChase and #ZogTrail.
Complete the trail and get a 10% discount on food in the Forest Centre cafe. A treat for grown-ups as well as little ones!
Purchase your Zog activity packs (just £3) in the Forest Centre Shop, alongside many other items that will help you explore and enjoy your forest adventure.
Previous trails, coordinated in partnership with Forestry England, have featured Superworm, Stickman and The Highway Rat.
Zog and his classmates fly off on Sunday 29 October 2019, with a new character joining us from Saturday 4 October - follow our Facebook account for more details...
Natural play across Broadfields
At the Broadfields site – home of the Forest Centre – there are a range of exciting wooden play structures for children to enjoy, situated throughout the picturesque walks.
Swings, slides and climbing towers
All great visitor attractions have a climbing frame, slide and swing-set combination (that’s what we believe, anyway!) Our rope climbing tower, giant slide and range of swings are great for some safe play at the start or end of any trip through the woods.
The play park is situated beside the Forest Centre and Tree Nursery, making it a great base of operations for a family adventure, playgroup outing or meeting point for friends.
Stepping stone fun in the forest
For those little ones learning to take their first giant leaps into the wilderness, or for the bigger ones wanting to try out some new wellies or walking boots, the stepping stone snakes at the start of the Thames Chase Nature Trail are a fantastic way to begin your woodland adventure.
Go creepy-crawling through the logs
Channel your inner insect in the specially-constructed hollow log piles in the heart of the woods. Get down and dirty like the bugs found throughout the park – and see if you can spot a few yourselves in amongst the leaves and twigs.
The raised mound makes a great addition as seating for adults alongside the logs.
Enjoy storytime among the trees
Just off the beaten track on the western side of the Broadfields site, you'll find a wooden story circle hidden within the trees.
Whether it's a tale you've made up, a favourite story from home or even a new book purchased at the Forest Centre shop, storytime has never been quite like this...
The boardwalk over the pond
The iconic boardwalk stands above the pond just beside the entrance to the Forest Centre, offering a serene space to watch the canopy-broken sunlight dance on the rippling water, accompanied by birdsong and buzzing creatures.
If you’re still, you may even see a rabbit or two hop in and out of the hedgerows and bushes nearby.
Play hide and seek in the discovery den
Decorated with engraved leaves and animal decorations, and with a balance beam linking the outside of the covered playhouse, this fantastic structure at the north side of the Broadfields site offers great relief for walkers who have chosen hedgerows and meadows over the forest trail.
With a couple of benches next to the playhouse, and a number of bird boxes in the trees nearby, this provides a perfect pausing point for kids young and old to run off some energy or listen to the sounds of nature.
It is with regret that the Ants Nest and Trusty Oak are closed and won't be reopening. The equipment has succumbed to the many thousands of tiny feet - human and animal! - as well as the elements and has been declared unsafe. The structures are still found on the site, but are staked off - they will be dismantled soon. Please DO NOT attempt to play on these structures.
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