Wednesday, 21 August 2013

North Moreton

To get to North Moreton: drive passed Tesco, take the second turning on the right (Long Wittenham Road) towards the Moretons. Turn right onto the High Street (you will see the church in front of you but don't drive passed it, turn right).  The award winning pub The Bear Inn is on your left. The park is along Bear Lane, a little bit further on the left hand side. You can park outside the gate or along the verge. At the end of the lane there is a caravan park

Find this park on the google map I made for you. 

The recreation ground is as lovely as the rest of the village. 

Lovely big recreation ground - this is just a fraction.

Balancing equipment.

Really nice park.

The only park I have seen with a table tennis table.

Climbing frame with lots of monkey bars.

A hampster wheel! I've never seen one of these before. The kids thought it was novel!

Slide - probably not suitable for small ones - the gaps between the rungs are a bit wide.

The biggest merry go round I have ever seen.

It was a bit chilly the day we visited, so we only stayed for an hour. However, I think we will go back - it's a very nice park. Lots and lots of shade, almost everything your children could want. Also, very close to the pub, so definitely worth an extended visit. 

The pub is the Bear at Home Inn and the landlord and lady allow children to use their w/c. 

There is no school or shop in North Moreton, but it does have some spectacularly old stained glass - some is so old is bears the scars from the Reformation, with facial details scrubbed out. Very sad. 

Ewelme - revisited and revised

Ewelme is a twenty minute drive from Didcot, but a nice one. There are a couple of ways to get to Ewelme, and they are signposted very well. I drove along Clacks Lane which leads off the roundabout at the intersection of The Street (the main road skirting Crowmarsh Gifford), Crowmarsh Hill and the A4074. 

We revisited Ewelme today, after a comment (below in Comments section) alerted me to the fact that we had in fact missed the main recreation ground, oops! Immediately below is the small park which is used by the school. 

To get to the park, turn right as you go into the village, following the sign for the school. The school is very grand - it's the oldest continuously functioning school building in the country, and dates from 1437. There are crests on the walls. A tiny bit further up, across the road, you will see the park. It is not spectacular, but it is nice. 

Find this park on the google map I made for you. 

Parking: There is a verge with more than enough room.

Assault course style equipment.

There are no swings, zipwire, slide or climbing frames in this park. 

Main Recreational Ground... (2)

Is a little further up the road from the above ground. It is on the same side of the road and has a proper car park. 

A really lovely park. My kids could have serious fun here, unfortunately we couldn't stay long as the rain was bad, but we will definitely return.

Community Store

Real sweets: 

There is a tea shop and store in Ewelme. The store is a community run shop and it is possible to buy one single share for £10.00. Although there is no toilet in the shop there is one between the church and the primary school, immediately to your right as you enter the alms houses. 

Little fact: Geoffrey Chaucer's daughter is buried here. 

Ewelme has a nature reserve and some watercress beds. There is also a village pub with a little bit of play equipment in the garden.

How to get to the toilets: 

Walk up this incline next to the school...

Go through these gates...

Follow the path and go through these doors...

The toilets are immediately on your right. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ipsden Park 

Ipsden park was a bit of a surprise. I didn't really expect to find anything there, but as I'm nosey that didn't really stop me!

Ipsden is off the A4074 (the turning before the turn off for Checkendon), as you are driving away from Didcot and towards Reading. You will need to go over the Wallingford roundabouts and over the Thames. The turning for Ipsden is signposted and on your left. You will need to ignore the first left turn and the first right turn, continuing on. The park is on the right side of The Street. There is no obvious place to park but there are two large iron gates either side of the field, with enough room for a car in front of them.

Find this park on the google map I made for you. 

Lots of swings!

Lots of climbing equipment

Slide - apparently not very impressive, but you can't please everyone!

There are also swings for small children: 

Ipsden is in the Chilterns, so it is starting to get hilly just about around this area, which makes for amazing views. 
I really like the field the park is in, it's quite wild outside the mowed section. 
It appears that Ipsden is a really busy village, and I intend to revisit it again in a more leisurely manner. Brazier's Park looks particularly fascinating. 

There is a pub, a shop, a farm shop, a nursery school, a cricket club, a well. There is also a residential college here. 

I did, however, visit the church (of course!). This is a lovely modern stained glass: 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Checkendon Park 

Checkendon park is really easy to get to from Didcot. It's off the A4074 as you drive towards Reading. Follow the sign for the Highwayman Inn, which is on your left hand side, staying on the same side. You'll see the 'Four Horse Shoes' on your right (it has just closed down), then the church a bit further down on your left. Continuing, you'll see a village hall on your left - where you can park. You'll see a sign for 'preschool' but this is the correct car park. Directly opposite is the village cricket green. There are swings here.

 Find this park on the google map I made for you. 

The park next to the green and is enclosed well. It looks like a giant castle on top of a mound. My children loved it here and we spent a good 2 hours here - despite it being soggy. 

I would say this park is probably not suitable for very small children/ those who are prone to doing unexpected things, as there are a few ladders/ ramparts to fall down!

There is a post office/ convenience store. Just follow the road further down and turn right - it is signposted. You can buy locally sourced meat here, and I noticed some was gluten free. I bought some locally made curry sauce, made by a lady in Moulsford. The Indian shop owner -  who was extremely friendly - said he uses it himself. They also do tea/coffee and there is space to sit outside. 

The owner of the post office allows children to use their w/c. 

There is a village school here, too. 

Checkendon is a nice place, and we'll definitely be going again. 

Nearby parks

Ipsden, Gallowstree Common, Woodcote, South Stoke.

Other things:

This wall painting, from the church, dates from 1350 and dated from the detail on the horse's harness. The 12 Apostles surrounding the altar had been touched up by the Victorians, by this picture escaped harm because the organ was standing in from of it. It is extremely well preserved, even if fragmented.  

Sunday, 18 August 2013

South Moreton Park 

This park is one of my children's favourites, and last time we went, it was even better. With additional equipment and extra benches conveniently placed in the shade, we stayed for nearly two hours. 

Getting to South Morton park is really easy. Drive passed Tesco, take the second turning on the right (Long Wittenham Road) towards the Moretons, drive through North Moreton, turning right onto the High Street (you will see the church in front of you but don't drive passed it, turn right). You should see The Bear Inn on your left. Continue over the Dunsomer Hill - you'll drive over the train track. Take the first turning on your left. It is a small residential street. Don't worry about parking outside, as long as you don't park over driveways (of course!!) the residents don't mind - I have spoken to many about where would be convenient to park and they've all been lovely.

Find this park on the google map I made for you.  

South Moreton Park has everything (except a zip wire) for every age child. Even though it is quite a small village, it is often busy. 

My children love this 'castle'.

This fort is pretty good for smaller children.

Plenty of climbing equipment

Lovely shade.

I really like slides like this one which is built into a hill. Feels safer for smaller children. 

Climbing frames for smaller children. 

New seating.

There are other pieces of equipment. 

Nearby parks

North Moreton, Blewbury, Upton, Cholsey, Brightwell - cum - Sotwell. 

Other Stuff

There is a school in the village. 

South Moreton does have a church, but it is probably going to close soon, at least according to a resident I spoke to last Sunday. 

Here are some pictures of North Moreton church's stained glass windows - they are quite famous and feature in Simon Jenkins' '1000 Best Churches'. 

Here you can see the windows are very old as the faces have been scrubbed off. This happened during the Reformation . This glass is over 700 years old!