Read and Count with Me Under a Tree - borrow a book in a park

Discover the new book bags available to borrow at the Essex Country Parks and Essex Libraries

Posted on 21st June 2023

Essex Country Parks, in partnership with Essex Library Service, Talk Listen and Cuddle and the Essex Year of Numbers are launching Read and Count with Me Under a Tree book bags in August 2023, available to borrow for free from Essex Country Parks, Cressing Temple Barns, Forest School at Danbury and a number of libraries.

Read and count under a tree book bag

What are the Read and Count with Me Under a Tree Book Bags?

Read and Count with Me Under a Tree are special bags containing some lovely picture books to share with your little ones in the great outdoors to encourage literary, numeracy and a love of nature from an early age. Each bag contains a different mix of books, including Mad About Minibeasts by Giles Andreae, Superworm by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and a selection of other outdoor and number themed stories.

The bags contain a ground sheet for you and your children to sit on and lots of activity ideas to try including seasonal spotter’s guides – see what you can spot, and count how many of each!

The bags can be borrowed in the Essex Country Parks and from libraries to use in your local green space.

Remember you can also enjoy the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler themed trails at Thorndon and Weald Country Parks - bringing to life The Gruffalo and Stick Man stories.

How do I borrow a ‘Read and Count with Me Under a Tree’ book bag?

For the seven Essex Country Parks head to the café or Ranger’s Office and ask to borrow one of the sets. Bags can be borrowed at Belhus Woods, Cudmore Grove, Danbury, Great Notley, Hadleigh, Thorndon and Weald (subject to staff and availability).

Look out for the honesty 'borrow bins' outside the Kiosk at Cudmore, the refreshment van at Great Notley and at the shop at Thorndon. Please ensure you return the bags when you've finished enjoying them at the parks and do speak to a member of staff if there is one available.

Look out for the honesty bin in reception at Cressing Temple Barns.

If you would like to borrow a bag from the library to use in your local green space, you can check if your local library has one, or reserve one to be sent to a library of your choice.

You can also enjoy the book bags during Wild Wednesdays and Forest School sessions at Danbury Country Park.

What do I do to return the bag

When you’ve finished enjoying the books and activities, please check all the contents are there, scan the QR card to give us your feedback and then return it. At staffed return points you will receive a free sticker, whilst stocks last.

Everyone who completes the survey and leaves their contact details will be entered into a prize draw that will take place every six months to win a free Explorer pass (terms and conditions apply, read them here.

These borrow bags are provided to you by Essex Library Service, Essex Country Parks and are part of the Essex Year of Reading and funded by Essex Year of Numbers.

Books and activities from the Read and Count with Me Under a Tree book bag on a bench
Mum and two children sit on a bench reading two books