We have been fans of Fore Adventure for five years now, having enjoyed a day coasteering with them for Kian’s 13th birthday and several kayaking trips to Old Harry Rocks and a learning to paddle board session since.
Fast forward to the present day and it is lovely to see them adding new events to their calendar and last weekend we joined them for their family feastival.
Held at the Discovery Centre on Knoll Beach, set in woodland just 300 yards from the sea in Studland, the mini festival was a combination of foraging, feasting, bushcraft, wild art and more.
At arrival we were separated into small groups, with each group being assigned an activity. Our first one was making Mocktails, with fresh ingredients that had been made into syrups and fruit juices to mix with.
I have to admit my kids are not normally adventurous with new flavours, but Christian was brilliant with them and they were soon making all kinds of creations with great success. In fact, they all went back for more throughout the day.
Once we had finished our delicious Mocktails, we moved onto creating wild art with lots of materials all laid out for us to use.
Eliza was instantly drawn to a previously weaved web and busily collected her treasure to start decorating it.
There was also paper, colouring books and wax crayons laid out on the table for the kids to draw and colour in their own pictures or do leaf rubbings.
Whilst Eliza finished her art work, Sebby and Isaac got a masterclass in fire building next to the wood fired rustic cob pizza oven.
I knew Isaac would be good at it as he has just come back from cub camp, but Sebby mastered it straight away too and they were both super excited to learn that the cob oven was going to be used for making pizza.
There were also some unsupervised areas of the festival where we could come and go as we pleased, such as the den building and bug hunting challenges.
Sebby was eager to find some bugs and picked up his magnify glass and pot busily got to work, finding woodlice, worms, spiders and beetles, enlisting the help of Isaac and Eliza so he could complete his challenge sheet.
One of the activities they were super keen to try was the wood cutting.
Isaac was straight in there with the larger axe and closely supervised as he chopped wood for the wood oven. Sebby got started with a much smaller axe and despite me being slightly worried about Dan’s fingers, did a magnificent job.
Meanwhile, Eliza was busy making pendants out of wood circles, by making holes in them with a hand drill and colouring them in.
The great thing about the day was that there was plenty of time to try everything, so everybody got a turn.
Sebby was so proud of his pendant he has worn it everyday since too.
All the groups got together for the storytelling session with Benny. The story was all about a pair of frogs exploring the wood where they lives, but its brilliance was the fact that the kids all got to contribute their ideas to the story, so you didn’t know what would happen next.
Our final activity before food was a foraging walk in the woods to see what we could find with Matt (the Tree Man) and Dan.
I am terrible at spotting creatures when we go out, but with the help of the experts, they managed to spot a frog, a slow-worm, a newt and even a wasp’s nest along the small route we took.
They also foraged for, and sampled, some of the edible plants along the way, with various success as well as identifying trees. We all learned lots about the world we live in during the walk, including that aspirin comes from Willow trees.
It was then back to the Discovery Centre for some feasting.
There was lots of food on offer, much that had been made with items that had been foraged or caught by the team.
The kids kept going back for more bread cooked in the pizza oven, and dessert – but who doesn’t love dessert!!
After the food, the boys headed off to play in the woods, whilst Eliza decided she wanted to make her own web to bring home to decorate her fairy garden.
I really struggled to tear the kids away at the end of the day, they had such an amazing time.
Thank you Dan, Jade and the whole Fore Adventure team – we cannot wait for the next one!
Fore Adventure are based a Middle Beach at Studland and offer kayak / SUP Board hire, tuition and tours, plus family adventure days, foraging and feasting and bushcraft. They have been featured on Julia Bradbury’s favourite walks and Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast. Find out more at www.foreadventure.co.uk