Saturday, March 22, 2008

Knightshayes Court

This National Turst property is not actually in North Devon, its at the Tiverton end of the A361, but its only 40 minutes out of Barnstaple so not too far to go if you feel like a visit, or only a few miles out of your way if you are on your way into the area for a holiday. We've nver been before and decided to go today for their Easter Egg Trail.

On arrival the children were given a leaflet each (at a cost fo £1.50 per child) and instructed to search the ground for ten animals which laid eggs. The animals were also hidden in a wordsearch so my children had found several before we'd even visited the toilets! It was fun though. They raced through the walled kitchen garden and found five. We stopped long enough to look at a few plants, although they found the chickens and geese more interesting. Then it was off to the main house.

The other five animals we found hidden around the terraced garden at the front of the house. The grounds at Knightshayes are lovely and carpeted in thousands of daffodils. There are also some fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. We did a trip around the inside of the house too. We were given another trail to follow inside, although there were no prizes for completeing this one. In every room we had to find certain animals and plants. There were guides in several of the rooms, some of whom were more helpful than others. When we got to the end and my youngest daughter realised we'd missed some of the things she insisted on going back around to find them.

It was a pleasant afternoon out, we collected our Easter eggs on the way out and we even had a few flurries of snow to add a bit of excitement. Being towed back home by an AA truck fnished off the day nicely. "Cool," said daughter number two.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Heddon's Mouth

Heddon's Mouth is on the Devon coastline on Exmoor. It's only a tiny little bay but the walk down to it through the woods follows the river and is very picturesque. You can walk to it from Trentishoe, or take the cliff path to view it from above (on a good day you can see across to Wales - the cliffs are the highest in Devon), but the easiest way to get there is to park at the Hunters Inn . From Barnstaple take the A39 towards Lynton and Lynmouth and about three miles past the Blackmoor Gate crossroads Heddon's Mouth and The Hunters Inn are signposted to your left. A long, single track road brings you out to the Inn and its surrounding National Trust land. There are public toilets and a National Trust shop there also.

To reach the coast path you have to follow the road past the Inn. Once on it its an easy stroll down to the beach on more or less level ground, with the odd patch of mud and several slopes of scree that the children enjoyed climbing until my littlest one found it rather tricky coming down from. "I'm not going on the stones again," she said on the way back.

Signs of spring were everywhere and the daffoldils were lovely - see my Photo Journal blog for more photos. Once at the beach we threw a few pebbles in the swift-flowing and noisy stream then ambled back to the Hunters Inn for a hot chocolate before making our way home.