Sunday, November 16, 2008

Appledore Woods

There are probably lots of ways to enter Appledore Woods, but the way I know is through Limers Lane. Head towards Westward Ho! from the end of the new Bideford Bridge and take the first right. At the bottom of Limers Lane the road bears left along the river bank. Stop where you can and then walk. A footpath marked with one of those yellow acorns takes you onto National Trust land and into Appledore Woods.

Today it was very muddy, I put my walking boots on and rolled up my trousers, my daughters had their wellies, my husband had put two left feet wellies in the boot of the car and had to walk in his trainers!

The woods are beautiful at any time of the year but today, with all the autumn leaves, they were gorgeous. The path winds along the side of the bank of the river Torridge which is a long way below you and can just be made out through the trees. There is a circular route round which takes you back inland and through a farm and lots of fields but today we walked as far as the point where the path goes down to the beach then turned round and headed back. Three of us had a lovely time, daughter no2. found the experience less than happy when my husband suggested she take her wellies for a paddle through a stream and then got scared by the super-sinky mud. She got stuck on the wrong side of the stream and didn't want to come back again. Eventually we persuaded her, then retreated to my mums for a nice cup of tea.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Big Sheep at Halloween

I know I'm a little late posting this but things have been a bit hectic this weekend. The Big Sheep, which I have posted about before, is in Bideford. They have a Halloween Festival for three days at the end of October (naturally). I wanted to take the kids on the 31st to avoid the horid 'Trick or Treat' sweet scavenge but my middle daughter had already organised it all with her friends. So then I decided we'd go on the night before, but stupidly didn't think of booking tickets until they'd all sold out for that day. So we ended up going on Sat 1st Nov, which seemed a little weird seeing as how Halloween was over by then.

Anyway. Here's what there is to do. During the day they have all the normal stuff running plus their extra Halloween stuff and pumpkin carving. However, from 6.30, by ticket only, they have a show, a disco in Ewetopia (the soft play area), and the spooky rides they run through the day get much spookier because its DARK!!!! There is also a lantern parade if you've taken a carved pumpkin, and prizes for the best fancy dress.

We lucked out with show and got the very stupid Captain Coconut who did 'magic' tricks with bubble mixture, making giant bubbles, getting kids up doing things, making bubble chains. My kids were decidedly unimpressed. My sister went on Thursday and got Merlin doing stuff with fire - much more exciting.

After the show we hotfooted it over to the barn next to Ewetopia where the rides were running. The first ride is one there's queue for (hence the hotfooting), The Haunted Hayride. This takes you round the complex on a carriage pulled by a Tractor, about 30 people at a time. There is a scary commentry telling spooky stories about the sights you see as you travel round, skeletons, witches, spiders, etc. and from time to time horrible things jump out at you. My middle daughter was particularly terrified when charged at by a zombie weilding a chainsaw.

Next we ventured into the Haunted House where more grisley scenes awaited you. It was pitch black inside and this was the scariest thing. Unfortunately no one jumped out at you, which is what I was expecting. After all this trauma my children decided they couldn't face the Ghost Train Ride and we headed off to the Ewetopia to play.

By 9.30 we were all tired and headed home, but we did persuade them to try the Ghost Train before we went. My advice to you - don't bother. It was a complete load of rubbish, not scary in any way! Nevertheless, when asked if they enjoyed the evening, the children voted yes, with an average score of 8.25 out of 10. If you're thinking of going next year, book early.