26th December 2016 – Boxing Day

Along with most of the other inhabitants of East Devon, we went to the beach for a walk and so Izzy could try out her new roller skates. It was unseasonably warm and the beach was packed (partly due to the hunt meet on the adjacent road). Some hardy people were having a dip in the sea in their bikinis, but we stayed dry.

Total wild time – about 1 hour

20th October 2016 – Fish and Chip night

IMG_20161020_171239643IMG_20161020_171935464

It was pretty cold today, so my family took some convincing that it would be fine to eat fish and chips on the beach. Eventually, they agreed, with the caveat that we would retreat indoors after 5 minutes if it became uncomfortably cold. In the end, of course, the chips kept us warm enough to eat sitting on the beach wall overlooking Lyme Regis harbour. Afterwards, we ran down to the sea and within seconds, both children had wet feet. We noticed the Limpets and Barnacles stuck to the beach defence wall and the kids enjoyed climbing over the sandcastles and down into the holes left behind by other children.

On the drive home, the sun set in a stunning orange sky and a small murmuration of Starlings swooped over the marshes.

Total wild time – 1 hour

25th September 2016 – Beach walk

IMG_20160925_150420359_HDRIt was really noisy on the beach today with the waves crashing and dragging pebbles back into the sea. The dog chased bits of kelp that were carried by the wind, whilst E struck bits of driftwood together and Izzy collected ‘singing stones’.

Total wild time – 1 hour (I think, but can’t actually remember what time we arrived!)

18th September 2016 – River Cottage Festival Day 2

IMG_20160918_140026447We returned to the River Cottage Festival for more fun and spent most of the time dancing to the music today. We did find time to create monsters out of beach rubbish at the Surfers Against Sewage stand and learnt some shocking facts about plastic that washes up on our shores. One of the things Izzy used to make her monster (called Milly) was a shot gun cartridge, used by Canadian fishermen to scare away gulls, which had been found on a Cornish beach.

Total wild time – 5 hours

15th September 2016 – East Cliff Beach

IMG_2134 IMG_2136 IMG_2151We had a great afternoon on East Cliff Beach, between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. We skipped down the 114 steps, past some sculptures, patches of Bristly Ox-tongue and a couple of  Clouded Yellow Butterflies. There were some great rock pools to potter around in and we saw several crabs and little fishes. Izzy slipped rather dramatically on the green algae and ended up with her feet in the air. Undeterred, she continued to jump from rock to rock. We arrived at the beach at the same time as a load of students, who looked very busy with tape measures and clipboards. Skirting around them and the jagged bits of metal, which have apparently come from a tip exposed by the eroding cliffs, we found a boulder on which to unload our stuff. From there, we searched for fossils (yet again the best one, a tiny shell, was found by E), collected sea glass and paddled in the sea. I tried to make a picture of a dragon with the sea glass, but it was hijacked by Izzy, who turned it into a fish. We took a photo, before it was covered by the incoming tide, then we changed E’s soggy trousers and socks, before climbing the 114 steps back to the car park.

We had thought the kids would be worn out, but apparently not – Izzy serenaded us with Christmas songs all the way home.

Total wild time – 2 hours

16th August 2016 – Bike riding and body boarding

IMG_20160816_102213959_HDRIMG_20160816_102741400

The grasshoppers were singing at Seaton Wetlands this morning, as E on his scuttle-bug raced Izzy on her bike, whilst B held/rode the scooter for interchangeable wheelie action. Apart from seeing plenty of waterbirds, we rescued a hairy caterpillar, which was crossing the path at top speed, saw an Emperor Dragonfly skimming a pond alive with Whirligig Beetles and B and I had a close-up view of a Swallow feeding three hungry mouths (the kids had almost vanished out of view though at this point so I had to scurry after them). There were also three fish blowing bubbles in the pond by Reed Base and then to top it off, two miniature ponies from Munchkins on a lead rope walk, which we were kindly allowed to stroke.IMG_20160816_163624628

Back in the garden, I suddenly realised that the kerfuffle in the corner was the dog harrassing a baby House Sparrow. It was clearly unable to fly and so we scooped it up in our sweep net and popped it onto the porch roof, next to its nest, with a cardboard box for shelter.

Late afternoon, we headed to Seaton Beach to try out Izzy’s early birthday present – a body board. Conditions were far from ideal – the waves were very choppy, but we had fun playing in the foamy water. We had a quick visit to the playground and the labyrinth, then we had a takeaway burger from Flipside, whilst watching the ocean.IMG_20160816_162513129

Total wild time – 1 hour at the wetlands, about 3 hours on the beach.