Friday, January 14, 2011

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Cobbaton Combat Collection can be found just outside the village of Umberleigh, in an even tinier village called Chittlehampton. When you look at their website the tag line under the title reads 'A hobby which got out of hand.' It is a privately own military collection that is fairly extensive. Got out of hand may be a slight understatement.

I had the occasion to visit the collection with a group of school children this week. It is open to the public and costs £6.50 for adults and £4 for children with under 5s going free. When you arrive, on what looks like a famryard, there are two huge hangar buildings awaiting you. These are adjoining, so it is possible, when the weather is as awful as it was this week, to see most of what is there without going outdoors.

The first two sections of the museum hold a mass of military equipement ranging from tanks, and armoured vehicles, to bicycles and motorbikes, most of which have labels but very little else in the way of information. As well as this are cupboards filled with little curiosities such as bayonets, army issue cutlery and blackout lamps. There is even a partial plane mock-up used as part of a set in the film 'A Bridge Too Far'.

Then at the back of the collection, in a much smaller room, is a section dedicated to the home front. There are several little sections which are done out to look like various rooms: a wartime kitchen complete with evacuees, a first aid station, a farmyard with land army workers, and an Anderson shelter. All of these are viewed through metal grills, which is a shame. Again, there are plenty of glass-fronted cupboards stacked with more objects from guns and bullets through to ration books and gas masks.

The children were fascinated, and it made a great start to our topic on WWII, but, being a bit of a girl, my interest in it all dried up after about half an hour. If you are into war-stuff, then this will be a place you love, if not, perhaps give it a miss. I have to conceed however, that it is impressive for sheer scale, given that it has all been collected by one man. If I haven't put you off, then I can offer you one last piece of advice. Wrap up warm. It was colder inside the hangars than outside. I had thermals on and survived. My friends did not and were colder than they had been in the whole of December by the time we left.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Loxhore - Deerpark Wood

We've been indoors for days now, the dog's had quick walks
round the neighbourhood and the children were going
stir-crazy, so it was time to take them all out for a long walk.

We went to Loxhore, a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere. Take the road towards Arlington and it's sign posted right from the village of Shirwell. We parked by Loxhore church and took the walk through the fields to the woods, but discovered afterwards that the best place to park is by the turning to Loxhore Cott (a dead-end). This allows you to walk through the National Trust grounds of a privately owned house, through a gate and straight into the woods. It also avoids the long walk up hill to get back to your car.

The woods are beautiful, although muddy at this time of year. And, as you can see from the photo, there are lots of very well defined paths for you to walk along. All are very well signed too. A lot of the paths run alongside and slightly above the river Yeo, and at a place called Tuckers Bridge you can cross the Yeo for a walk around the lake at Arlington. We didn't do this today, but will definately return to do it at some point. There is also the odd picnic bench along the way to stop and have a rest at. I feel a summer expedition coming on. Roll on the sunshine!