You may remember how upset I was after my six-week postpartum check-up with the GP and how I vowed to do some exercise to get me out of the ‘obese’ bracket.
Now while I wasn’t feeling up to anything overly energetic, given that it was just six weeks after Cyrus’s birth, I needed something I could do with baby as I didn’t have the luxury of childcare! While I’d been exploring my new base I came across details of a family ramble on the noticeboard at the local community centre in Great Park, Newcastle. It sounded perfect, so I signed up for it.
Now I knew that having the right equipment would transform my exercise regime into a welcome outing for us, so I invested in a Baby Bjorn Original Carrier in black cotton. I’d heard good reports on the safety of this carrier from other new mums, so I knew that it would be a comfy fit for four-month-old Cyrus.
Having a baby carrier meant that I could build on my strength and stamina as I recovered from pregnancy and childbirth, but it also meant I could keep Cyrus close and secure so I could bond and get some exercise at the same time. The Baby Bjorn carrier supported C’s head and neck well, it was also really easy to put on, take off and adjust.
The four-mile ramble around Great Park was well-attended by local residents, many of whom had just moved to the area and wanted to explore their local surroundings.
Within Great Park there are many different habitats including wetlands and woodland, open grassland and meadows. We were all given a leaflet which had been designed to promote public access and set out points of interest along the footpaths, cycle routes and welly walks.
I chatted to the other mums as we headed through the Melbury housing estate and into the countryside and the motion of walking soothed Cyrus so much that it sent him off to sleep.
The River Ouseburn runs through the southern end of Great Park and our guide explained that it was home to a variety of creatures. Freshwater shrimp, small fish, including sticklebacks and even kingfishers had been spotted flying up and down the river in search of food. From here, we headed north of the Greenside Estate where there is a new meadow area, planted as part of the development.
View from the Ouseburn back towards the Melbury Estate, Newcastle
North of the River Ouseburn is an area known as Ouseburn Meadows. This area can be accessed via a public footpath. Our guide informed us that foxes, roe deer and rabbits had all been seen here. There are several SuDS (large wetland areas) within the Great Park with the aim of reducing surface water flooding from the environment. Surface water is stored in the SuDs and slowly released into the Ouseburn, reducing the risk of potential flooding further down the river.
Both willow and alder trees have been planted near the wetland areas to add interest and they are already attracting a variety of birds.
From here we headed along a disused waggonway through the centre of Great Park and up to the Melbury Wetland area and Warkworth Woods before taking a trip to the Letch Plantation. The plantation is dominated by oak, ash and beech trees and follows part of the Letch, a small water channel at the northern end of Great Park. Some of the trees here are 200 years old.
At the end of our ramble, Cyrus had just woken up and was ready for his bottle of milk back at the community centre. It was a great outing and everyone seemed to have fun. For me, it was all about getting out and about in the fresh air, bonding with baby and burning some of those additional calories in the process.