My husband had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon outside clearing up leaves and attacking shrubs with the hedge trimmer. At Easter we were guests on a National Trust family working holiday to Stackpole in Pembrokeshire which I wrote about for The Independent. The youngest loved the day our group spent chopping down shrubs in the woods there – but there was no way he could be persuaded to help out in the garden yesterday. Perhaps it was because at Stackpole he and the other children had been allowed to crawl through the undergrowth with handsaws to lay waste to a whole bank of shrubs? Or it could be because after clearing the shrubs at Stackpole the pile of branches we made was so big that the children all bounced on it like a trampoline? Or maybe it was because we built a campfire at the end of our shrub-clearing day and he tried to make charcoal? Whatever the reason, he’s keen to go back – but not at all interested in garden work at home.
Besides Stackpole, the National Trust offers family working holidays at centres in Norfolk, Yorkshire and, from 2013, Snowdonia for accompanied children from the age of six. The holidays mix child-friendly conservation work such as beach-cleaning, woodland clearance and drystone-walling with fun, expert-led activities such as kayaking and photography. The trips are very reasonably priced, I think, costing from £65 per person for three nights, including food and accommodation. The 2013 brochure for these trips is available from early December.
Disclosure: Our Easter stay at Stackpole was provided by the National Trust.