Coombes valley, Leek

20161015_120126.jpgA few weeks back we took a trip to Coombes valley, a RSPB reserve in Staffordshire. It’s somewhere we’ve been meaning to visit for a long time. So long that I can no longer remember how I heard about it. The main reason we visited was for the play trail which I thought my edlest would love and it did not disappoint.20161015_120851.jpg


Coombes valley is well sign posted and easy to find and on arrival there is a visitors center and car park. There is a fee of £3 for parking unless you are a RSPB member. There are toilets and baby changing facillities by the visitors center as well as a few benches and picnic tables. There was also a bug hotel and a sink which had been turned in to a mini pond. My daughter had a quick look at both but we only spotted a small water snail. We collected a couple of trail guides from the visitors center (a standard one and a family one focusing on the play trail) and set off to explore the play trail.


The first thing we came across was a mud kitchen. It was well stocked with pots and pans and there was a digging area right next to it. The ladybird loves her play kitchen at home so was straight in playing with this. There was a small watering can that we used to collect some water from the water butt by the visitors center.




Once we managed to tear the ladybird away from the mud kitchen, we set off on the play trail following the pushchair friendly paths. We explored a small area where there is a yurt and shelter used for events. This tunnel was another big hit with the ladybird.20161015_121110.jpg

We found a couple of natural xylophones/instruments next which we stopped to play for a little while.20161015_121611.jpg

There were several areas for den building with lots of dens already made for children to explore.20161015_132214.jpg

Near the top of the play trail area was a bucket pulley system between a few trees. The ladybird, at 3, was not strong enough to be able to move the bucket but she did enjoy filling the bucket and getting us to move it.20161015_122544.jpg

Next we found some balance beams to explore.20161015_135048.jpg

A slight detour (signposted) from the main play trail was a new addition to Coombes valley, a canopy walkway. The ladybird was quiet nervous of this but I think in years to come she will enjoy it more.20161015_125912.jpg

Another highlight for the ladybird was a fairy village. This was a small area with lots of tree stumps that had been decorated to look like little houses. The ladybird loved pretending to knock on the doors and genuinely seemed shocked there was no one in. I love the imagination of a three year old.

Finally we found a story telling area. This included a large outdoor storage tub with dressing up clothes and books inside. We stopped to read the books which was lovely as we love children’s books in this house. There were three books (and I believe we read that they are swapped regularly) and we were only familiar with one of them so it was lovely to discover new books.

The play trail is only 0.8 km long so we completed it twice. We were there about 3 hours including a picnic stop. There are other routes which are much longer but these are not pushchair friendly and apparently are steep and can be muddy. We really enjoyed our visit and can not recommend it enough to people with young families. I have no doubt that this is somewhere we will visit again.
Monkey and Mouse

Mudpie Fridays

Country Kids


  1. Living Life Our Way
    November 9, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    This looks like such a lovely place! So much variety of natural play, I imagine kids must spend hours here! I will have to remember this if we are in that part of the country 🙂

    • November 9, 2016 / 10:11 pm

      It was surprisingly quiet on a sunny Saturday. I wish we lived nearer, we’d be there often.

  2. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    November 11, 2016 / 11:56 am

    This is just fantastic!! It’s great to get the kids outside to mess about & play. My daughter has a mud kitchen at her play school & loves it! Thank you for sharing with us at #BloggerClubUK x

    • November 11, 2016 / 12:56 pm

      I bet she does. They have them at a lot of the infant schools round here which she will love.

  3. November 12, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    I love this and can see why a 0.8km trail could take you so long. It is rather like Coombe Mill, I couldn’t believe it, we actually have a fairy garden, mud kitchen, den building and musical nature instruments, oh and a Bug hotel. I know just how popular these “wild adventure” areas are here on the farm. We even share part of a name! Well done the RSPB and I’m taking notes on that bucket pullet idea, I could see that working here too.

    Thank you for sharing a lovely day out with me on #CountryKids

  4. November 14, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    What a lovely way for children to enjoy being outdoors. I love the bug hotel, the mud kitchen, the fairy village-all of it! I wish we didn’t live so far away.


    • November 15, 2016 / 7:17 am

      I wonder if any of the other RSPB reserves are as good for children? Perhaps there is something similar near you.

  5. November 15, 2016 / 8:04 am

    The play trail looks fantastic! I love that they included something for everyone, with gross motor movement areas, areas for using imagination, quieter area for reading and even some problem solving with the bucket. Definitely somewhere I can imagine my boys loving. Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather x

  6. November 15, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    There are more and more of these play trails springing up and they are just brilliant for young kids. I love the combination of activities but just know my two would want to spend the majority of their time in the mud kitchen haha.

  7. November 17, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    Oh this looks like a lovely play trail; I love that photo of the giant mushroom and anywhere where there’s a mud kitchen I know my children would love!
    Looks like the perfect place to explore and epitomises what Country Kids is all about!

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