The weather was stunning, so it seemed like a good idea to go to the beach. We went to Lyme and as the tide was well out, we took the opportunity to explore the rock pools. We found some sea squirts, anemones and one crab. There was a huge diversity of seaweed. Then, we played in the waves and whilst B watched the kids, I went for a swim in the surprisingly warm water. We sat on the sand with the intention of making sand castles, but by this point, the kids had started whingeing. The salt seemed to be irritating E’s skin, who suffers from eczema and Izzy had got a bit cold. So, we headed back to the car, past all the very tempting ice cream stalls.
Total wild time – 1 hour 50 mins
We started the day at Seaton Wetlands, where the kids scooted and biked to the Discovery Hut. We had come to see the captive Harvest Mice and the Kestrel nest box cam. Afterwards, we drove to Lyme Regis, where we played on the sandy beach. Izzy delighted in digging a ‘Daddy pit’, which we covered with a towel and encouraged B to sit on. We paddled in the sea, where, weirdly, a goose was hanging about. Then, we built a course for some golf-balls, like a giant marble run, before E trashed it with a toy digger.
There was then a lot of whingeing and so we set off for home, where the kids changed out of their wet, sandy clothes, before going to Grandmum and Grandad’s house, where Izzy made a butterfly out of Hazel twigs and they both did pastel drawings. We found zillions of Slow-worms under some roofing felt in the garden.
Total wild time – about 4 hours
Warmth! Sunshine! Even though I was still ill, I felt so much better with an improvement in the weather. I cleaned the house, I mowed the lawn and after lunch, I took E and Bramble for a walk on the East Devon Pebblebed Heath. We parked at Joney’s Cross and ambled aimlessly around. E walked for the entire hour, without asking to be carried or whining about anything. He enjoyed plodding through the dry Purple Moor-grass and picked stems for his friend Olive, Izzy and B. He also filled my pocket with pebbles he wanted to take home. Apart from the road noise, it was very peaceful on the heath and there was a lovely view towards Sidmouth and the sea. I returned home feeling energised.
Izzy went to the playground with her class on their welly walk, so she got out and about in the sunshine, too.
Total wild time – 1 hour
It was a gorgeous winter’s morning for an excursion to Burton Bradstock (autocorrect keeps changing that to Breadstick!) We hit the beach, which was flanked by golden, overhanging cliffs to the right and slumping, charcoal-grey cliffs to the left. Bramble chased seaweed, whilst Izzy collected ‘sea pearls’ (semi-transparent pebbles) and E ran around. It was all going so well, until E fell in the surf and soaked his trousers. We had to abort our trip and return to the car for a change of clothes.
Total wild time – 40 mins
We had quite a good day today, with Izzy making a witch’s broom on a rainy school welly walk and E playing sand pits in the rain in a friend’s garden.
Then, after school, we had a lovely dog walk on the beach as the sun was setting. Izzy has the school teddy for the weekend, so Mr Bugby came, too. We walked towards the estuary mouth and were amazed by the hundreds, if not thousands of waterbirds (more than 114 anyway, according to Izzy) flying out to sea. E found a bit of metal, which made him happy and Bramble, the dog, managed to run through a load of Burdocks and came out covered with seeds, which took an age to remove at home.
Total wild time – 55 mins
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
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.
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.
Total wild time – 1 hour at the wetlands, about 3 hours on the beach.