Grandma and Grandpa Bear live in Bedfordshire, very near the Dunstable Downs. This Saturday just gone, we went there together, with Auntie Bear and Sophia Bear (Archie Bear’s cousin), to fly kites! The Downs are a glorious open space on top of a hill, from which you can admire beautiful views nearly 360 degrees around.
Daddy Bear and his brother grew up flying kites and watching gliders on top of the Downs, so after reading an article in the magazine The Green Parent about playing outdoors with your kids in which it mentioned kite flying (what a genius idea!), I arranged our little trip.
The Downs have a National Trust café and shop, so you can’t go wrong. There is a useful shaded section outside the café, with round picnic tables and benches. We left our stuff there, unwrapped our kites, slathered on some factor 50, and headed out into the sunshine to fly our kites.
I was a little worried Archie Bear would get frustrated with the kite that we had brought, as it has 2 handles and as it turned out, was pretty cheap and hard to fly without a proper wind to help it up in the air. Grandpa Bear to the rescue. He had brought along 2 kites from Daddy Bear’s childhood, which were much simpler and Archie friendly. It wasn’t as windy on the Downs as we expected, so it was hard to get them to really fly, but Archie Bear laughed out loud with delight as he held the handle and watched the kite soar a few feet up into the air, hover for a few seconds, and then head back to the ground. He did have a little go with our kite, and a few minutes later I was back at our picnic table, laying out a big tangle of string and kite, and settling down to some serious untangling.
It was a good job that I had stopped off in the shop when we first got there to pick up a mini butterfly kite for £2.75, as an emergency option for Archie Bear if he did get too frustrated with the big kites (and if the grown ups were having too much fun with them!). It. Was. Brilliant. By the time I actually got to give it a go, the bear cubs were all a bit hot and bothered, so had headed back to the shade where some strawberries and drinks had appeared. I had a lovely time flying it with Sophia Bear though, who was still up for some kite chasing fun! It seemed to need less wind as it was so small and light, and it was so calming to watch it sail up and up, glinting in the sunshine, its tail wavering in the breeze.
We’re definitely going to make kite flying a more regular thing while it’s so hot and sunny, and it’s a great way to spend time with family too.
If you want to give kite flying a go, here are a few places that are great for it;
- Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire
- Hampstead Heath, London
- Box Hill, Surrey
- Coombe Hill, the Chilterns
- Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, Herefordshire & Gloucestershire
- Seacliff, Edinburgh
- Stonehenge, Wiltshire
- Wilverley Plain, New Forest
- Jurassic Coast, Dorset
- Holkham, Norfolk
- Barafundle, Pembrokeshire
- Parliament Hill, London
If you don’t have a kite there are plenty out there. No need to spend a lot of money or get a fancy one. Although there are lots of fun ones for kids; shark shaped ones, turtle ones, fish ones, etc.
However, if you fancy making your own, here is a great tutorial for a very pretty, and simple, kite.