The Mottisfont Enigma
Calling all faries: Help save the Enchanted Folk at Mottisfont from the memory eaters!
The Mottisfont Enigma, supported by Victorinox, is a trail specially designed to encourage young explorers to wander the grounds and the house to seek out clues to the code and crack the Enigma, by weaving a web of spells to save the Enchanted Folk that live there.
After a 2 ½ hour coach journey from central London we stepped out into the sunshine at Mottisfont feeling like we had been transported to a different world. The grounds are stunning. As we walked across the bridge of the stream there was definitely magic in the air. Mottisfont ghosts glided past. Children with their faces painted and wearing fairy wings ran past. Medieval musicians played lutes and other instruments that I cannot name.
We picnicked under the shady boughs of the Mottisfont Plane Tree – the largest of its kind in Britain. And nearby on the lawn there was a story tent where winged children sat listening to fairy tales.
After feasting our first stop on the trail was the memory ribbon tree where Sandy (aged four and a half) completed his first task and tied a ribbon to the big tree. Next we walked to the magical walled garden, which at this time of year is breathtaking. It is home to some of the rarest roses and the planting was obviously the hard work of someone with a real passion for gardening.
As well as the manicured gardens there are also woodlands surrounding the stream and an area of pasture where you can get up close to the sheep. Whilst we didn’t complete the whole trail – ice cream and face painting were a popular distraction – searching for clues is a great way to get little legs to explore the grounds. Sandy’s favourite activity was in the fisherman’s hut, where he built a house for the Fairy folk from sticks and leaves that he found outside.
There were some older children in the group (ages seven, nine and 12) who simply relished the open space, spending their time climbing trees, paddling in the stream and exploring the trail.
It was a super day out and we were all a little sad when it was time to go home.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
The Mottisfont Enigma runs until 2 October 2011, from 10am to 5pm, admission free.
Mottisfont is near Romsey, Hampshire SO51 0LP