Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
I parked in the National Trust car park and then followed the signs down the drive below the car park, not the one that takes you to the main entrance where to have to pay to enter the house and grounds. At the end of the drive were two footpaths; I took the one to the right. After that were several more options, all nicely signposted, indicating National Trust paths, all colour-coded and with information like 'Birdhide', 'House', 'Wilderness', and 'Circular path via lake'. I took the later. Along the route were many other signposts to other walks and pathways. I passed the lake, headed off to a small bridge, through a field and up through the woods until I eventually ended up back at the big house. I felt somewhat like a tresspasser, having not paid to go in, but this was where the path had lead me. It lead me back around the house and then back to my original starting point down the left fork where I had chosen the right, so I guess I must have been meant to be there.
It was a lovely walk, and many others were out in the woods too, including families with small children. There seemed to be a lot to keep them occupied, including something concerning monkey puzzle trees that I couldn't quite see, a small camp area, and stepping stone logs through the streams. I think I might come back here again.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
When we arrived there was definately no California weather. It was chucking down and crowds of people stood at the paying kiosk just waiting for the rain to stop. We walked on by with my second daughter muttering, "We're British, we don't mind rain." It wasn't long, however, before they were suggesting we have an early lunch in the Jaguar Restaurant (yes, that's what its called in the film too). The panini's were very nice, although none of us were very impressed with the range of cold drinks.
After lunch the weather was kinder to us and we spent a good few hours wandering around. The bears were nice, the wolves were in hiding, we enjoyed the reindeer but everyone's favourite was the big cats. Dartmoor Zoo has the biggest collection of big cats in the South West: two tiger enclosures, cheetahs, lynx, jaguars and a lioness. The lioness was have a good roar when we were there, then she had fun running round her enclosure and playing with a log on a rope. We went back to see her being fed and that was a bit disappointing. They 'hid' her food, which wasn't actually very well hidden at all, far away from the waiting crowd, then she went even further away to eat it before disappearing altogether. They could at least have hidden it nearer to us.
There are plenty of talks and other feeding sessions throughout the day, some of which we caught. There is also an enclosure you can walk through with wallabies, ducks and goats. The girls enjoyed petting the goats and thought it hysterical when the goats nibbled their fingers. If the weather had been nicer we may have stayed longer. Benjamin Mee was due to make an appearance at 3.00 to sign copies of his book. But really, after about three hours you've pretty much seen it all, and we were getting cold, so we made a quick trip in to Plymouth to do some retail therapy, then drove home to watch the film again.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Sunday, July 21, 2013
In years when my children were younger it was a day of expense, as almost every fairground ride and kerbside stall had to be visited. Now, they have grown out of such things. Now, the best thing about the day is the live music. There are three music stages aptly named 'bottom', 'middle' and 'top'. The best, and the one that pulls in the crowds, is the Bottom Stage, and band that everyone talks about the most, 'The Liquidators'.
My 12 year old spent the day with friends spending her own money. My 16 year old, who wandered around with us, was quite happy to be bought a Hockings ice-cream but nothing else drew her eye. We wandered around for a while, then bought beer from one of the local pubs and stood about with the sweaty masses listening to 'The Liquidators'. When the heat got too much we came home again. Typically British - we moan when the weather is crap and still moan when it's glorious!
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Tarr Steps can be found easily by driving through Dulverton and following the signs. There is a large car park with a visitors centre half way down the hill to the river and then you have to walk the rest of the way. We decided we'd try and follow the Google maps suggested route today, via North Molton, and ended up approaching on entirely the wrong side of the river where there is no car park and no access to the official one unless you want to drive through the river. Driving through is perfectly possible, if you have a 4x4, but not if you are in a Citroen. So we drove back down the road for about a mile, until we found a small clearing to park in and walked from there. It was a nice enough walk, but not the one I was planning on.
The nice walks around Tarr Steps take you through woods and fields and along footpaths, not roads.
We enjoyed our picnic though. The dog had a lovely time chasing a stick into the water. She even got the hang of letting it go again so we could throw it some more. There was hardly a space available on the grass there were so many people there - and lots of other dogs too. The cafe was doing a roaring trade, as was the ice cream van. We stayed for a couple of hours, until the children started moaning that they were too hot, then returned the same way we came.
Friday, April 12, 2013
It was a very wet afternoon in the school holidays and still the ice was practically empty. That may be something to do with the cost which is now £5.95 for a 45 minute session. And the guy behind the desk was keen you stick to your 45 minutes too. You'd have thought, with no one else desperate to get on, he'd have let us have a little while longer - but no!
A new thing, since last we came, is the little penguins on wheels which toddlers can use to push around and stop them from falling over. They were quite cute, but at £2 for 15 minutes, also very pricey. I think this is a once in a while treat thing rather than a regular day out.