A little fresh air

The thing about living in London is that although the majority of the time it’s awesome, sometimes it just gets so stressful. Not the living itself, just the pressure of the city. And I think it’s the same with any big city. Eventually, the pounding on the pavements translates to a pounding in your head and the never-ending loom of grey buildings becomes overpowering.

So back in November when my family decided to band together and go on a long weekend mini-break, I was more than happy to escape the city, even if only for four days.

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And we decided on Center Parcs in Longleat. The last time we all went there together was over ten years ago. Even though it was originally said in jest…it fast became our top choice and was booked up in a flurry of excitement, with various meetings to plan out what activities and challenges we’d do (yes, we’re that family).

The weekend itself was brilliant. Fun. Exciting. The rapids were competitive, the pancake house delicious (gingerbread pancakes with gingerbread ice-cream and gingerbread crumbles oheyyyy) and the archery frustratingly hard in the best way. I am no Robin Hood, much to my dismay. We had a weekend long competition going where everything was available for getting points. We even drew up a scoreboard and tallied it every night. I told you, we’re that family.

But, the thing that really made the weekend for me was how easy it was to sink into nature. And it’s a good thing too, because that’s CP’s company ethos: to provide short breaks in the forest, bringing families together and back to nature.

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There is something about being in the silence and grandiosity of nature that really comforts me. The world we live in is so incredible and it’s so easy to forget how beautiful and enormous it is when you’re stuck between rows and rows of concrete blocks and fast moving tunnels under ground every day. Sometimes it takes a moment for us to remember that where we are isn’t it.

That moment occurred many a time throughout my weekend, but most impressionably when we walked between the Giant Redwoods. Center Parcs Longleat is about 400 acres in total, and is built on what was originally known as Aucombe Wood. About 250,000 indigenous trees were planted when the site was constructed in 1994, but the Giant Redwoods are among some of the original ones.

And boy, are they spectacular.

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It’s a strange thing to say I felt such power and strength in being so small in comparison. But that is exactly how I felt. So I hopped over the wooden walkway and wrapped my arms around this beast of a tree.

It had been raining, so the trunk was wet and the bark was much softer than I anticipated but oh, how grand it was. And as I looked up toward the very top of this 54-metre delight, I came to a wild realisation: both this giant feat of nature, and myself, live on this earth. We’re both here and we’re both living! How freaking cool is that?

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I’m beginning more and more to see how fresh air does you a world of good. Now who wants to come on a woodland adventure with me?

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