Saturday, September 25, 2010

Barnstaple Treasure Trail

My friends daughter was given a Barnstaple Treasure Trail for her birthday. It is set up like a murder mystery - Simon Snodshaw, a local cidermaker, was found floating in a vat of prize scrumpy, police have revealed he was murdered before being thrown in there - and you have to follow the clues given to reveal the murderer. The booklet contains a list of suspects and murder weapons and the aforementioned clues.

We started the trail in the Square outside the Tourist Information Centre. The children ran enthusiastically to the first clue. It was quite easy to unravel the clue and eliminate our first suspected weapon. We then rushed eagerly from place to place around Barnstaple, along the river front, into the High Street, until we came to the church square shown above. Here the clues are slightly more tricky to find and a small falling out ensued. Nevertheless, we grown ups continued, and soon we were racing over to Roack Park for some of the final clues.

This all took us about 2 hours to complete, at a leisurely stroll, with stops for snacks and take away hot chocolates built in. I think these are a great idea and ideal for getting kids to notice more about their locality. I suspect we will do a few more. Look on their website, there are loads for areas all over Britain, some are walking ones, others can be done with a car. When you discover the murderer you can email the answer to them for a chance of winning a prize.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Combes Gate Beach

Yesterday I found a new beach! That's not to say that I was the first to discover it, but it was new to me. My friend comes here a lot and she took my kids out with hers, two of the three anyway, and I met them at lunch with a picnic. We stayed til gone 5 o'clock which is the longest I've spent on a beach in years.

Combes Gate is a tiny little cove at the end of Woolacombe as you head along the coast towards Mortehoe. Parking is difficult unless you get there early in the morning and nab a free place on the road. I had to park in Woolacombe car park and walk to get there, this cost me £6. That's an all day fee, your only option in that car park, and its pay on exit by feeding coins into the lever-arm machine.

The beach is lovely, with not many people on it at all. When the tide goes out there are lots of rock pools to explore. The kids caught a few shrimp and fish and a massive crab. They also went in the sea lots. Down by the waters edge there was quite a breeze today, but further up into the cove it was quite sheltered and warm. Why couldn't it have been like this through August? And why do summer holidays have to end. I'm off to work now. Doom!