As parents we know only too well how much more ‘exciting’ life gets once your babies start walking and as the weather sets to get warmer for the summer, many of you will be looking for safe places for your babies to roam and play now they’ve found their feet and so we’ve put together a list of the best parks/outdoor spaces locally for new walkers to find their feet and explore, without causing you too much stress or worry!

First up, is the gorgeous Mewsbrook Park in Littlehampton. Whilst it’s a concrete path so best to cover those knees if little ones are still unsteady on their feet, it’s a great size/distance to do a loop on foot around the pond, taking in the ducks, flower beds, peekaboo in the shelters and it’s even got a playground at the end to keep the older children entertained as well as a grassy area, café and a train ride to rest those tired little legs!

Slightly further afield is the famous Southwater Country Park, encourage the little ones to follow your route by following the dinosaur footprints on the floor (that will eventually lead to the park where they’ll be able to frolic in the sand pit and meet some of the dinosaurs!) as well as practice those soft landings on the grass verges and paths, as well as use the bridges and fences around the prom to hold themselves up or take a little rest! Please note there are open water areas on the other side of the pond, so you may want to pop them back in the buggy for that bit! Then why not have a picnic and watch the ducks and toy boats in the sunshine on the grassy area adjacent to the café.

Tilgate Park is another family favourite and whilst it’s an incredibly large space, there are some paths/areas which are the perfect spot for new walkers to roam and explore independently with the added attraction of the animal park, play areas and lots of grassy areas for those soft landings.

We are blessed in West Sussex to have so many beautiful National Trust Gardens to explore and these are notoriously child and family friendly, and some have some great paths/areas perfect for children finding their feet; in particular Nymans, Sheffield Park and Wakehurst, all with wide paths, away from the waters edge and with lots of exciting things to explore both independently and safely.

Similarly, if you are on the look out for open spaces for your new walker to roam freely to build up their confidence and strength, then Highdown Hill offers a good start for your little one to explore (particularly if you give them a head start and carry them up the first hill, the ground thereafter is flat and goes for what will feel like miles to them!)

Also not to be overlooked, The Rotary has it all for new walkers; masses of green space to explore, an age-appropriate playground and a wooded area to explore different terrain, that’s more than enough to not only keep them busy, on their feet, entertained but leave them suitably exhausted for a long nap and a cup of tea for you!