Adventures on the Honeybourne Line
What is it with little boys and trains?! My 2 year old is OBSESSED! There is an upside to this though, trainspotting, although not the coolest hobby in world, is in fact free. And when I consider the amount of money I’ve just blown on Christmas presents, not to mention the kiddy Christmas outfits (I can never resist!), free is good right now.
My rule about this winter weather is that if there is sunshine, it doesn’t matter how chilly, we should do at least one outdoor activity in the day. So, on an extremely frosty Monday morning, we got the 2-year-old and his baby sister all wrapped up and off we went to do one of our favourite walks; The Honeybourne Line.
The Honeybourne line is an old railway track that has been turned into a cycle route and footpath. The route stretches from Cheltenham Spa Railway Station to the Prince of Wales stadium, there are entrances at both ends and several in between. I tend to join it in town to the left of the Bayshill Inn, behind the Royal Well Bus Station.
It’s the ideal nature walk/scooter/bike trail for kids because it’s not too long (I would say as an adult walking alone its 20 mins from the Bayshill to the train station), and makes you feel as though you’re miles away from Cheltenham town centre. My little boy’s favourite way to travel is with his scooter, through the tunnel and under the bridges doing his best train impressions.
What was lovely to notice was that there has clearly been some money spent on the route more recently as not only has the tunnel been given a makeover and is now sporting some decent graffiti – toddler friendly I promise! But there is also some outdoor gym equipment scattered down the path at various intervals. It became the perfect mini pit stops, although I must say, I don’t think my demonstrations made the purpose of each piece of apparatus any clearer to my bemused children.
As well as the tunnels and bridges there are also some excellent park stops along the way. The first, Jessops (behind the Bayshill) is perfect for a toddler who is new to walking and has had enough of being limited to just a swing. The second park, we have aptly named ‘the big boy park’ which is much more fun for those more independent little girls and boys.
The most exciting stop of all: Cheltenham Spa Train Station. I limit the boy to 30 mins of peering through the railings; basically, enough time to inhale a coffee, ply both kids with snacks and drinks before heading home. And if your kids are anything like mine bribery is key to getting them back without doing all the stops again, so I use Waitrose and their “waterfall” in the carpark and if all else fails there is always Waitrose cake…for mums especially!
Hannah, December 2016
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