Into the Trees 2017, Pippingford, Sussex

With Pippingford as the venue and trees as the theme this event is already onto a winning combination. This is the third year the event has run with the aim of encouraging us all to play, work, learn and explore amongst the trees. Pippingford embraces views over the Ashdown Forest, ancient woodland and herds of wild deer…. as you approach Into the Trees you are hit with these beautiful views and the scene is set. The Into the Trees team have made great efforts to keep prices low with it costing a very reasonable £22 for a family ticket. The event also used a well organised token system available on the gate for the few activities with additional costs such as mountain boarding and axe throwing. This was a great way avoiding any disappointment about charges and a great help in terms of planning our visit. We decided to pay an extra £2 for the Woodland Tribe activities and another £2 for the zip wire. I then knew any change I had could be spent on other treats or ice creams! Shorty after entering we were greeted by the friendly Schools Without Walls team. Schools without Walls work with Sussex teachers providing opportunities to take their children out into the local community to learn about their neighbourhood and to link this outdoor experience to what they are currently learning. We were shown how we could turn a simple leaf into something we could wear and feel proud of through using their badge press. Logan was utterly fascinated by this contraption and was keep to help a number of visitors with their badges too! The Woodland Tribe was a firm favourite when we visited last year’s event so the children were thrilled to see the same set up this year. These guys let children use hammers, nails and saws, build den’s and tree houses, put up zip lines, dig tunnels, swing and climb in trees, cook on an open fire, be creative with natural materials…..and most importantly playing freely and at one with nature. I’ve got to admit I was quite taken aback when my 13 month old was handed a hammer last year…but this time I was prepared and ready to embrace the free spirited and creative play the Woodland Tribe inspire. Logan was really happy bashing planks of wood with his hammer (minus the nails – phew!) and Daisy was determined to create her own platform area as her contribution to the Woodland Tribe climbing frame. I was really surprised at how happy the children were to potter about knocking scraps of wood about with the activity occupying us for nearly an hour in total! Moving on, the inviting play area created by Holmes Wood Play caught our eye. Owner, Ben Holmes creates handmade, bespoke, wooden creations to allow for creative outdoor play. They had a great set up with a number of mud kitchens just waiting to be put to the test. Logan was more than happy to dive into the buckets of oozy mud and distribute it amongst a number of the cooking areas. Daisy was a bit more considered creating some refined dishes using rice, raw pasta and lentils to garnish. Great fun!  Pippingford is always beautifully decorated with surprises hidden around every corner. We loved the Woodland trail following little notes left by the Wood Mice and we were thrilled to bump into the real Stick Man! Walking around the event we encountered numerous craft and art activities to get stuck into allowing us the opportunity to make everything from mud creatures to dream catchers.  The event is also a great dining experience with a fantastic range of pop up dining; Wild Sussex, Cripes it’s Crepes, The Grey Earl and most importantly Vintage Scoops ice cream parlour!Into the trees embraces adventure, nature and exploration. This event is well organised, well thought out and offers a refreshing approach to engaging youngsters through all possible kinds of outdoor and creative play. We enjoyed this year’s event even more than the last and will certainly be back for more muddy adventures next year! Thank you to Into the Trees and So Sussex for inviting us along to review this fab event. We received complementary tickets but all views and opinions are entirely my own. 

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