Ray Mill IslandMaidenhead, Berkshire
At Ray Mill Island one of the island's main draws for kids is the aviary and guinea pig enclosure, where they can see the creatures playing and bombling about (or indeed flying around), so long as the weather doesn't have them hiding!
There's also an adventure play area suited for children between 3 and 8 years old, plus a few wooden animals dotted around to clamber on and identify, and a few statues on which one should not climb. Conveniently there are loos, picnic tables and benches around too so you can take your own lunch or treat yourselves to something in the cafe, open daily during the warmer months.
Named for its site history as the Ray family's flour mill pre 1950s the new park owners uncovered an original millstone during the land's reworking and this can be seen at the head of the stream. Interestingly at the northern end of the island you can also find Boulter's Weir and the last Salmon Ladder built along the Thames.
There are a couple of things to note about this place, one being that between September and April a daily decision on opening is made based on the safety of the river levels as it's easily flooded. The second is that while there are lots of squirrels about they're fairly wild and have been known to be a bit bitey, so don't try to feed them!
To access the Island in the first instance one must cross the Boulters Lock pedestrian bridge off Ray Mead Road. So wellies may be a good idea, off season!
Year round acess
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