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FREE AND CHEAP THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER NEAR KIDDERMINSTER, STOURPORT, BEWDLEY

School’s out, the sun’s shining – but how best can you entertain the kids and yourself on a budget? There’s lots of free and cheap things to do in and around Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley this summer – here’s our top suggestions!

Visit a splash pad or paddling pool in one of the district’s parks. Perfect for little ones, the district has water features including splash pads at Brinton Park and Stourport Riverside, and paddling pools at St George’s and Bewdley Riverside Meadows. Grab a towel, a picnic and factor 30+ suncream and let your kids squeal and shout as they dash in and out of the cold spray.

Walk or cycle along the canal network between Kinver and Stourport via Kidderminster, or any part of it. One of our favourite family walks starts from Crossley Retail Park and heads to Wolverley – this takes you along a lovely stretch of canal along a well defined, accessible path. Look out for the kingfisher and other wooden sculptures close to Springfield Park, take a detour into the nature reserve, and wave cheerily at every passing canal boat. The promise of an ice cream from the tearooms by the Lock pub will help to keep the kids’ spirits up.

Woodland acoustic music night in Hurcott Woods, one of the prettiest nature reserves in the Wyre Forest area, on August 16, starting 7pm. Enjoy local musicians, grab a drink or pizza from the ranger shack, and chill out in the woods. Free entry. Charges apply for refreshments. More information here.

Free summer activity days are taking place at parks across the district, organised by the play team at Wyre Forest District Council. Events themed around Circus, Safari, Space, Superheroes and World Cup will be held every weekday through August, led by play activity leaders who will organise games, arts, sports and crafts.  The events take place on these days from July 30-August 31 as follows: Brinton Park, Kidderminster (Mondays); Cookley Village Hall (Tuesdays); Stourport Memorial Park (Wednesdays); Bewdley Riverside North Park (Thursdays); Springfield Park, Kidderminster (Fridays). All are free but parental supervision is required. Events run from 10.30am-12.30pm, and from 1-3pm.

Escape the sunshine with a trip to the district’s only cinema. The Reel Cinema (opposite B&Q, Kidderminster) runs a Kids’ Club throughout the summer, showing family classics every weekday morning at 10am for just £2 a ticket (£3 for 3D movies).

Look and listen for bats on an evening walk led by Wyre Forest rangers. Bats are out in force over Hurcott Pool – join local rangers to use special microphones to listen for their echo location calls and use search lights to see them dive and fly over the water as they feast on insects. Suitable for 8+. Takes place on Thursday August 30, 8.30-10pm, meet in the car park at Hurcott Pool Nature Reserve. Book here.

Get crafty at Bewdley Museum. The museum, in the heart of beautiful Bewdley, is holding daily craft sessions, 11am-3.30pm, throughout the six week summer holidays. No booking needed – cost is £4 per child. For a full list of activities click here. 

Geocaching is a type of global treasure hunt, where you follow clues and map coordinates to locate tiny treasures. You need a smartphone with a location function. Then simply download the free geocaching app, charge up your smartphone, and follow the clues to hunt down your haul. Usually they will be stored discreetly in a small box or cannister, hidden out of sight. All will contain a logbook so you can jot down your name and date of your visit, with many containing little mementoes left by other geocachers. Be sure to take along your own miniature goodies so you can replace your finds with new treasure for someone else to find. Toy cars, mini pens or pencils, little erasers and tiny trinkets all go down a treat. It’s a great way to explore your neighbourhood, or to get kids to join you for a walk – the excitement of the hunt will help keep them on the go. Be warned though – we tried out geocaching with a group of teens and the ‘treasures’ were soon labelled ‘little boxes of disappointment’ – we uncovered some rubbish finds including sweet wrappers and the broken wheel off a toy lorry. But we also found some lovely bits and pieces. Have a stash of sweets to help overcome any dismay!

Geocache map for Kidderminster and nearby

Take them to the library to join the annual Summer Reading Challenge, coordinated locally by Worcestershire County Council. This year’s theme is Mischief Makers, in celebration of The Beano’s 80th anniversary. Youngsters aged four to 12 are challenged to read six books over the summer and complete short activities to complete their mission.

Activity Kit

Follow the Highway Rat trail through the Wyre Forest. After the success of The Gruffalo trail, the forest is now bringing to life the latest book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, called The Highway Rat. Follow panels and complete activities on a 0.7 mile walk through the forest. Free trail. Parking is £3 per car in the main car park.

 

Go litter picking! Not your typical family activity, but a great way to explore your community while supporting a brilliant new community initiative and tidying up your own neighbourhood. The Pick Up Artists were launched earlier this year by volunteers in Kidderminster and has been a huge success. Families can join in any of the events – you’ll be kitted out with a litter-picker, a bin bag and a high vis jacket. Find out when they are in your neighbourhood by visiting the group’s Facebook page. Alternatively, just do your own litter pick – get a couple of families together and create your own event. The Pick Up Artists would love to help you get organised!

Kidderminster Arts Festival is always a huge success. This year’s event runs for a fortnight from August 11-26 at locations around the town, many of them free. The lineup is still being confirmed – check back here for full details. 

Hunt for Cuddly Creatures in Hurcott Woods, Kidderminster. Aimed at under fives and their families, rangers from Wyre Forest District Council will lead a ramble through the woods, with cuddly woodland friends waiting along the way to play games. Wednesday August 15th, 10-11.30am, £5 per child (accompanying adults free). Book here.

Try new sports at Wyre Forest Leisure Centre. Every day the centre is running activities aimed for children of all ages at reduced prices. Rugby, dodgeball, football, badminton, table tennis and cricket sessions are held throughout the week, costing between £2 and £3.40 per session, for five to 15 year olds. There are also have-a-go trampolining (August 21) and gymnastics (August 29) days next month. Full details here.

Check out Bewdley Music Festival, an outdoor event at Riverside North Park on Sunday August 26, 1pm til 11pm, starring local bands, family fun and picnic area.

 

Ride the Severn Valley Railway to Bridgnorth, then stop off at every station on the way back, using the summer ‘freedom of the line’ family saver ticket. Costing £45, the ticket is valid for any day during the summer holidays and entitles up to four people to get on and off at any stops. Our favourite stations include Highley, where the Engine House and cafe are located. This summer the Engine House is hosting themed events every day, including Wizard Weeks and a Science Boffins extravaganza. We also like to head out of the station and down to the river at Arley to feed the ducks and buy an ice cream. Full details here.

Take a picnic, bat and ball, maybe a kite, a good book, some pop…and explore one of our wonderful parks or nature reserves. Wherever you are, you won’t be far from one of our natural gems. Hartlebury Common and Hilditch Pool is the most important heathland remaining in Worcestershire; grab a fishing line or a football and enjoy the delights of Blackstone Riverside Park, on the edge of Bewdley; have a bike ride or a shaded walk along Leapgate Old Railway Line near Stourport; or enjoy a 2.5 mile circular walk around Habberley Valley, taking in the sandstone bluffs. For maps and more details, check out this list courtesy of Worcestershire County Council’s environmental services.

Further Afield

Visit the wonderful Droitwich Lido, a 40m saltwater outdoor pool complex. Family ticket for four £16.50. Full information here

Busy stream play at the foot of Carding Mill Valley

Take a day trip to beautiful Carding Mill Valley in Church Stretton (head out on the A442/A458 to Much Wenlock, turn left along Wenlock Edge and then head into Church Stretton town centre, follow the signs into the valley. Take a picnic and fishing net, let the kids dam the stream and splash in the water, ramble around the reservoir, or take a hike up onto the Long Mynd. The further away you can walk from the coffee shop and ice cream kiosk, the quieter it gets. Free parking for National Trust members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Haynes
Former newspaper journalist and news editor, turned public sector PR, now studying for a Master's in multiplatform journalism. Wyrelife is a new, local investigative news website for Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport and Wyre Forest. My aim is to hold people and organisations to account to try to make my little bit of England a better informed, better place.
http://www.janerockhouse.wordpress.com

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