Autumn family fun at Greenway

 Schoolchildren working in the garden at Greenway, Devon

Summer is fading into autumn, and with the leaves turning on the trees, there are lots of things for families to enjoy. Agatha Christie and her family spent their glorious holidays at Greenway, walking through the woodland garden, playing games and spending quality time together. Why not follow in their footsteps?

Games

Fancy a game of soft ball tennis? You'll find the tennis court complete with soft-ball tennis sets ready and waiting for you. Over the autumn and winter months the croquet lawn will be having some TLC: the garden team will be preparing and re-seeding the lawn, which is looking worn-out after a busy summer. If the croquet set isn't out on the croquet lawn when you visit, don't panic, you'll be able to find the croquet kit all set up for a game in the Walled Garden instead. 

 

Explore the garden

The woodland garden is perfect for an autumnal stroll. With leaves turning vivid colours and the crunch of them underfoot, and fruit ripening in the Walled Garden, there is lots to discover. There are some unique elements in the garden which children love:

 

The vegetable plots

At the top of the Walled Garden there is an allotment which is cared for by school children from Galmpton Primary School. At this time of year it has the last of the vegetables they've grown this year, which they'll be harvesting with the garden team. The harvest is cooked up for a big celebration with the school children and their parents in the Barn Café. Some other showstoppers at this time of year are the grapes ripening in the Vinery, and the apples on the trees.

 

The Boathouse and Battery

From the Boathouse you could count the boats on the river, which is always bustling with activity; trawlers, river cruises, a paddle steamer and kayakers can regularly be seen. It's also a great place to watch wildlife, such as the occasional seal in the river, and birds including kingfishers and heron. The Battery is complete with cannon, which always captures little-ones' imaginations.

 

Guided walks

The garden team lead a free tour every day at 2pm, which lasts about 45 minutes and is a great way for families to discover the highlights of Greenway garden. On Thursday 13 September and 18 October, 11.30am-12.30pm, the rangers lead a walk through the woodland garden, exploring the autumnal highlights and sharing the work that they do to care for nature here. 

 

Trails

There are free trails for kids to do in the house and garden. In the house you can choose between the animal trail, perfect for younger kids, and the Agatha Christie packing trail. The animal trail involves spotting animal figures and ornaments around the house, and the more challenging Agatha Christie packing trail is a great way for children to investigate Greenway's collection as they help Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan pack to go on an archaeological dig. 
 
The garden trail is a lovely way to encourage children to explore Greenway garden, searching for different things from nature such as flowers with more than five petals, and includes activities such as bark rubbing. 
 
The house trails are available to collect at the entrance to the house, and the garden trail is in visitor reception.

 

50 things to do before you're 11 ¾

At Greenway there are lots of 50 things to do before you're 11¾ that you can tick off your list. Autumn is a good time to do these things:
 
12. Make a trail with sticks
You're sure to find a stick or two if you take a walk through the woodland garden. Why not lay a trail to help you find your way back?
 
2. Roll down a really big hill
If you head to the Top Garden you'll see a lovely grassy hill to roll down.
 
33. Catch a falling leaf
You'll be spoiled for falling leaves to catch in the garden.
 

 

The Gazebo

The Gazebo in the Walled Garden is a lovely place to read and relax. There are a couple of baskets with books in for families to read, and blankets to wrap up in on chilly days. 

 

Half-term fun

A special creative trail has been created by Greenway's Writer-in-Residence, J. R. Carpenter, this half-term. Can your little-ones follow the clues around Greenway garden on this harvest-themed trail with a literary twist? You can claim a small prize from Visitor Reception when you've found them all.