Since getting the dog a couple of years ago we love finding new places to walk him and thankfully Isabelle loves a good walk as long as we have the following:
One of our fellow dog walkers recommended Fingle Bridge as a place to go with the dog and the littles. Lots of opportunities to paddle in the water, lots of mud to splash and splodge in, and being woodland lots of stones, twigs, acorns, and other things to fill our pockets with.
We started off at the bridge noting the HUGE pub with its lovely setting and garden.
What to do!
The route that we took was not the easiest of walks with lots of tricky areas, huge muddy patches (thankfully we all managed to keep our shoes on our feet) and narrow rickety steps to contend with.
This was great for Isabelle who at five is slightly more fearless than we’d like her to be.
Charlie (our dog) was amazingly well behaved and loved to explore his new surroundings. We kept our beady eyes out for families with food as unfortunately at only two he’s still a total scavenger and will gatecrash, steal and run!
Strangely there were canvasses dotted around the place which kind of looked a bit odd, but Isabelle quite liked looking out for them.
The walk took us a good couple of hours with a picnic stop along the way.
Isabelle found a walking stick along the way which she held onto until we found a waterfall so she sent it on its way out to sea and wonders what country it will end up in.
It was a lovely day and we ended it by visiting the pub at the start (Fingle Bridge Inn). We may even have to go back for the Duck Race which takes place in April/May of each year.
Leave a comment to let me know your favourite place to visit in Devon.
#whatwedidthisweek – It’s half-term and the alarm clock is set to OFF!
It doesn’t mean that we get a lie-in but it’s so much nicer not waking up to the sound of the alarm and having to immediately jump out of bed and get ready. Non-alarm days or weekends we’re usually woken up by Isabelle climbing over us so it could be a misplaced arm, let or elbow that awakens us.
It was a great start to the week as the sun was shining, albeit the wind was biting. Up we got at a leisurely pace and off we went to Wildwood Escot for a day of Creepy Crawly Welly Walking, walking in the woods, and eating flapjack (which I’ve posted separately about).
We were really lucky with the weather as the following day it poured down with rain so we headed off to soft play in Exmouth. If you’ve been to Exmouth before then you will know that when it’s cold – it’s flippin freezing there! Isabelle had a really lovely time. We bumped into several people from school including Isabelle’s teacher. It ended with the filling in of an accident form as Isabelle got herself a lovely slide burn on her back and her arm.
We finished off that day with MacDonalds and a trip to a local farm shop where the Ostrich took a slight liking to me and followed me backward and forwards. I tested this theory by running up and down and it copied me. I only received a couple of odd looks.
Wednesday we had a lazy day at home and made cupcakes and Carrot and Lentil Soup.
Thursday we met up with a dog walker friend who is hopefully going to have Charlie when we go on holiday in August. This will be the first time that we’ve left him so I’m a bit nervous as I don’t want him to think that we’ve left him. He had to meet the other dog that will be there at the same time as him to make sure that they would get along. I knew that Charlie would be fine as he’s such a friendly boy. He’s never shown any aggression to any other dogs or people and just loves to play so I knew that he would be fine.
Isabelle had a playdate with a friend in the afternoon so I had a bit of a catch-up with sorting washing and a little bit of blogging.
Friday was another dodgy weather day so Isabelle invited one of her friends over to play. It was the first time that her room wasn’t turned upside down and inside out. They sat and played pony hairdressers.
On Saturday we went to the cinema to watch the Trolls movie which we hadn’t got round to watching due to illness/being busy. I gave her a choice of pic n mix or Ice cream, and she chose ice cream. She opted for a two-scoop tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. What flavour did she want? Phish Food, Caramel Chew, Double Chocolate Brownie? Nope, she wanted vanilla. Really said the man serving. You just want vanilla? He tempted her into having one scoop of vanilla and one caramel honey.
The film was fab so we need to get it on DVD.
Today we went to Budleigh Salterton Beach with the pooch. The whole beach is just pebbles, no sand.
It’s really difficult to walk on pebbles as they move so running is almost impossible.
Charlie wasn’t keen on the beach to start with, but I think it was because the waves were quite fierce and they make a lot of noise going back and forth over the pebbles. We walked down as far as the nudey beach, and thankfully there were no nudists for Isabelle to point at and laugh at (luckily for us).
By the time we made it off the beach, it felt like we were walking on fluffy clouds.
Wildwood Escot – We used to be frequent visitors of Escot when Ryan was younger so it’s nice to be invited to take Isabelle, especially as she seems to quite like mud, walking in mud, squishing in mud, poking sticks in mud……..just mud.
We started off in the Anglo Saxon Village which was really cool. It was all set out as a proper village with a kitchen area, bedrooms, fireplaces and is used as part of the Camp Wild setting which offers holiday camps for children aged 7 – 12 years.
The Welly Walk
This February half term they have Creepy Crawly Welly Walks running twice a day which is definitely worth going on. We had a lovely guide who showed us some rather strange-looking dried animals and skulls. Isabelle didn’t seem phased by the flat squirrel or hedgehog.
We stomped through the park to a pond where we dipped to see if we could find any creepy crawlies lurking underneath. We found some little ‘slug-like’ bugs on the leaves and further on we found some frog spawn which Isabelle thought looked like snot.
You know the saying that you learn something new every day?
Well at Wildwood Escot they have a deadly predator laying in waiting.
It doesn’t have claws, sharp teeth and it doesn’t growl.
It’s called Hemlock Water Dropwart and is poisonous if eaten.
We then took part in making mud creatures using mud, twigs, leaves, and anything else that we could find on the ground.
Isabelle made a squirrel, a squirrel house with a fire outside the front, and an antenna on the top for the TV.
It was amazing seeing all the other children using their imagination to make creatures including an alien and a fairy.
Exploring the park
After the welly walk, we went to explore the rest of the park. There are some amazing climbing trees with really gnarly intertwined branches.
It was a lovely sunny day but the wind was quite biting so unfortunately, we didn’t see the squirrels, but we saw the Lynx being fed by the keeper. There was one at the back, and we finally spotted the other one which was hiding in the giant tree trunk in its enclosure. They really are beautiful. I could just imagine one curling up on your lap.
The Wild Boar were all foraging for food and some were outstretched in the sunlight.
We went over to the Death Slide and Isabelle was really up for having a go. That was until she reached the top and looked over the edge, and then we came back down again. Ha ha. I was totally going to show her how it’s done but I had to help her back down the steps!
I really wanted to go and watch the Otter feeding, as they’re really interesting. They obviously know exactly what time feeding time is as they were all by the door that the keeper comes in whining in unison and running around as a group waiting for their food.
The otters were given a selection of food including turkey meatballs and cherry tomatoes which were thrown all around the enclosure so that they had to look for it. They work really fast at getting the food!
A hanging type basket filled with straw and bits of food was hung up so that they had to rummage through the straw to get the food. It was really funny to see them find something like they were dipping into a lucky dip, run over to the water to wash it before eating it.
We spent some time in the outdoor play area where there are plenty of things to climb on, and then had a go on the rope swing where I very nearly took out a child. Oops.
Coffee and cake are usually quite high up on the list of things to do on a day out but we opted for flapjack which was so yummy and chewy (big thumbs up).
Isabelle found a tree where there were loads of wine bottles hanging. We told Isabelle that that’s where the witches lived and that they hung the bottles on the branches when they finished the wine.
There are loads of picnic tables or open grassy spaces around the park which is what we would usually do in the nicer weather.
Wildwood Escot is the place for you if you like being outdoors where the kids can explore, use their imagination and play.
Wolves are moving to Wildwood Escot shortly which we can’t wait to go and meet. Wildwood Escot is a registered charity and your admission is treated as a charitable donation. You can support this further by adopting an animal to help ensure that the animals are cared for and fed as they should. It also ensures that the park can be looked after for years more enjoyment.
It feels like we’ve only just got back into the swing of things following Christmas, and yet another school holiday is just around the corner.
I’m really hoping that the weather is on our side as we have a couple of outside trips to go on. Worse case scenario we go armed with wellies, raincoats and umbrella’s. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it.
Here are some of the things that have made our ears prick up:
This is a great place to take the kids. All week they have animal talks including Otters and Red Squirrels.
What’s on this week? Creepy Crawly Welly Walks, pond dipping and making animal dens as well as all the usual outdoor fun.
Children £8.00 (Under 3’s FREE)
What’s not to love about Crealy. There’s loads of stuff to do for all ages outside if the weather is nice, and if not you can hunch up with all the other mums and dads in the indoor play area and let the kids let off some steam. Meet the animals including Goats, Ponies, Monkeys and Meerkats. During half-term they’re running competitions for a chance to Win prizes totalling £5000 over the week. You can also camp, glamp or stay in a lodge in Crealy Meadows.
Children £6.95 (Under 92cm FREE)
Named as one of the ‘Top Ten Family Day’s Out in Devon’. This is a lovely place to take the kids where you can meet the donkey’s and stay for a grooming session along with talks about the work that they do (which is amazing). They have a maze and an outdoor play area, and I hear that the food is absolutely delicious.
They are offering a Dip and Dine offer with swimming, sauna and steam (adults only) and food in Amelia’s where they serve a selection of hot and cold food. We’ve done this before where we’ve had a swim and then a cooked breakfast which was lovely.
To launch the season’s opening, if you visit during 11th – 19th February you will be given a return ticket to visit as many times as you like during half-term. Take the little ones along for animal feeding, egg collecting, pond dipping, ferret racing and miniature pig racing. If you visit on 11th or 17th February Poco Drom will be playing which is always a treat.
A brand new adventure trail for kids and adults alike. The trail is for all ages and has a range of bridges, zip wires, stepping stones and ropes. If you’re kids like mud (who doesn’t) then this is great fun. Booking is advised.
Over 1 Metre £6.50
Under 1 Metre £3.50
There are loads of workshops during half-term week including animation workshops, Family Collage making and a Chinese Trail. Most of these are drop-in sessions but pop over the to website to check to avoid disappointment.
I’ve been meaning to take Isabelle here for a while now. Not only do they have lots of hedgehogs that have been rescued, but they have other animals such as goats, pigs and ponies. Get involved with feeding and petting the animals. This February entry is only £5.00 (including half-term).
Children £5.00 (Under 3’s FREE)
During February Half Term they are having a Beside the Seaside theme including a Shipwrek Train, a Beachside Scene, Puppet Shoes, Mac the Penguin, daily Animal talks and more.
Children £9.15 (Under 3’s FREE)
Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo! As well as all the Fab animals, this February Half Term celebrates the launch of Cold-blooded Creatures 2017. There will be special talks, trails, Cuba the Croc mascot appearances and more!
Children £11.55 (Under 3’s FREE)
There are also lots of FREE things to do in the South West such as taking advantage of the many beaches. We love going to beach outside of summer time to find unusual things in the rock pools, and collect shells and pebbles . Put your wellies on, grab a bucket and a net and off you go.