3rd August 2016 – Blackberrying

I managed to get out of the house on my own and join a Legacy to Landscape event, run in conjunction with The Species Recovery Trust, which involved a search for the rare plant Heath Lobelia. We visited a ‘wild’ garden in Shute, where there were about 80 plants growing in a lovely meadow, then searched a nearby field, but failed to find any more.

IMG_20160803_172335729When I got home, it was a struggle to get Izzy out of the door, but, as expected, she really enjoyed herself once out. Juggling both kids, plastic tubs and the dog was a bit of a mission, but we walked towards the Blackberry bushes found earlier in the week, noticing ant nests and a Hornet, as well as numerous butterflies, including plenty of Red Admirals. The Blackberry bushes were growing over a wall and are, I suspect, an escaped garden cultivar, which explains why they are fruiting now, whilst most other bushes still have unripe green fruits. The kids picked a small punnet each and managed to not eat all of them by the time we got home, where I rustled up some Blackberry muffins.

Total wild time – 1 hour

25th July 2016 – A walk in the woods

IMG_20160725_133230324My mum and I took E  and the dog out for a walk somewhere we hadn’t been in Colyton before. We walked through a lovely meadow at the top of Ridgway, then along Sand Pit Hill Lane, through a field of cows, past a hollow tree, then down through a very peaceful woodland, full of Enchanter’s Nightshade, Honeysuckle and Downy Birch, where E fell asleep.IMG_20160725_135400184

We got back home just in time to leave again to pick up Izzy from Holiday Club. At the Playing Field, we made a map, did some sketches and explored the river bank.

Total wild time – Dog walk (E) – 1 hour 30 mins, Map-making etc. (E & Izzy) – 45 mins

14th July 2016 – Lyme Regis beach life

DSC_0519It felt like a paddle-in-the-sea kind of a day, so we popped down to Lyme Regis, parked in the town and wandered down to the beach via the colourful gardens, where the kids took the opportunity to roll down the grassy slopes and chase the seagulls. On the sand, they forgot sibling rivalries for a few moments to bury B together, then we made Izzy a mermaid tail. We dipped our toes in the sea, admired the boats in the harbour and played frisbee. It was a clear evening and we could see along the coast to Golden Cap and Ridge Cliff, where we had flown a kite the other week. The kids were in a great mood all the way home, even though it was past dinner time and they were hungry (although obviously there was an unscheduled wee stop, because there always is). The fresh air and exercise had obviously had the desired effect and hopefully they will sleep well tonight.

DSC_0505DSC_0507DSC_0510Total wild time: About 1 hour 30 mins

13th July 2016 – Seaton Jurassic

IMG_20160713_114042963 We took the bus to Seaton Jurassic, which we’ve been to several times before. However, we last visited a few months ago and the outside area had been extended with new exhibits since then. The wildlife garden had also grown up and was full of bees and birds.

IMG_20160713_112621046_HDRThe kids enjoyed stamping their booklets and Izzy did all the quizzes and brass rubbings. We hunted for prehistoric life, explored the giant rockpool, learned about the tides, dug for fossils, fished for magnetic crabs, created food webs and of course, waved at the passing trams.

Total wild time: 2 hours

12th July 2016 – Practising wildlife photography

IMG_20160712_151636861I gave Izzy her camera and E my camera phone for the journey to and from preschool and set them the challenge of photographing wildlife. E took a very thorough pictorial account of our journey as he saw it (mainly his feet, his thumb and the pavement) and filled my memory card, whilst Izzy was a little more selective, photographing the ferns we found growing on the town’s walls, noting that different species had different shaped sporangia, as well as the drops of water on the leaf of a Lady’s Mantle (which everyone knows are used to make fairy potions) and every flower, cloud and bird we passed. She strayed outside the brief to additionally photograph houses, cars and the fire station.

IMG_20160712_151621730Our usual 10 minute walk took 5 times as long, but the kids loved it.

Total wild time: 50 mins

9th July 2016 – Rockpooling at Seaton Hole

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Seaton Hole Beach was new to us and a lovely surprise – I didn’t know we had such amazing rock pools on our doorstep. We easily found dozens of crabs, including a stunning Velvet Swimming-crab with bright red eyes, as well as Beadlet and Snakelocks Anemones, Prawns and Cushion Stars. As we sat on the towel to dry our feet, four Peregrine Falcons flew around the cliffs above.

Total wild time: 2 hoursthumbnail_IMG_1634

8th July 2016 – Red Squirrels

DSC_0456 DSC_0458 DSC_0464 DSC_0467 I had a meeting at Escot today, so I took the family along, too and whilst I was busy, they explored the wetlands. Then, we met up back at the Red Squirrel enclosure, where we found the squirrels tucking into their breakfast. The children were absolutely enchanted by them (as were B and I!) as they ran along the rails of the walkway and up onto the feeding platforms. They are used to people and came up very close to us – one even climbed up my trouser leg (on the outside, I should probably clarify)! It was a good place to do a spot of bird-watching, too, with Nuthatches, Blackbirds, Robins and Chaffinches taking advantage of the free food.

Let’s hope that the Red Squirrel Project South West’s conservation efforts are successful and that one day, my kids will be able to see these beautiful creatures in the wild in Devon.

Total wild time: 1 hour

6th July 2016 – Nature at the Donkey Sanctuary

DSC_0440I knew Izzy wasn’t quite herself this morning when she had a complete meltdown because she wanted toast for breakfast but not toast that was ‘cooked’. It was therefore quite an achievement to actually get her and E out of the house and to the Donkey Sanctuary, where I was subjected to a lot of whining about going to the playground.

DSC_0444DSC_0443However, once we followed the path into the woods, she became much more like her normal self. We popped into the Nature Centre and checked out the skulls (cue E’s dinosaur roar) and nest boxes, then continued on the trail through the trees. Jays and Buzzards called and I was impressed to find a Wild Service Tree (the kids less so). The footpath led to the promised playground and the kids played on the tractor until I dragged them home for lunch.

Total wild time: 1 hour 50 min