We had a lovely morning exploring The Byes (a riverside park in Sidmouth), with Izzy on roller-skates and E bombing around on his balance bike. There were some wonderful old trees, one of which was covered in bracket fungus.
Total wild time – 1 hour
Slightly cheating here, because we didn’t go anywhere wild, or see any wildlife, but we did spend the evening outdoors at Burrow Farm Gardens, for an outdoor production of The Smartest Giant in Town. We had a picnic overlooking the lake and some amazing old trees, whilst waiting for the play to start. It was a fantastic evening, with the cast doing an amazing job, especially considering the distractions of excited children exploring the gardens and a fly-over by the Red Arrows. E sidled up to a little girl, put his arm around her and was rewarded with a piece of popcorn from her pot. They quickly became firm friends and ran off to play together around a huge tree. The rain held off until we got in the car to go home, at which point the sky turned a funny shade of yellow-grey and the heavens opened.
Total wild time – 2 hours
I 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.
However, 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
Our day did not get off to a good start. Izzy woke up at stupid o’clock and she and B immediately started niggling at each other. When we eventually hauled ourselves out of bed just after 7, we got straight in the car, only to find that the road was closed due to a crash. We took an alternative route and got stuck behind the longest line of dairy cows in the history of the world. A journey that should have taken 10 minutes ended up taking an hour and everyone was clamouring for theirbreakfast.
Eventually, we reached Blackbury Camp, a lovely wooded Iron Age Hill Fort and we set out our rug, food, juice and most importantly, flask of tea. The air was a bit chilly (B really should have listened to me and put on his coat), but the stresses of the morning drifted away, as we listened to the rustling Beech leaves and chattering birds. We had the place to ourselves, except for a boy and his mum, who were looking for caterpillars and who were, I suspect, also
taking part in #30dayswild.
E and Izzy held hands and explored amongst the trees, tried the rope swing and found some cool bracket fungi on a dead tree.
Total wild time: roughly 1 hour (I forgot to check the clock!)
I took the whole family to explore the very jungly Prescott Pinetum in Uplyme, today. We wandered around, examining the roots of fallen trees and balancing along bouncy branches, admiring the tall conifers and the impressive girth of an enormous Redwood tree. Izzy made a collection of interesting finds – multi-coloured leaves, pine cones and sticks. E made friends with some dog walkers and enjoyed poking around a Badger latrine.
I was quite impressed when Izzy correctly identified a number of plants and the call of a Buzzard. It’s gratifying to know that she does listen to some of the stuff I tell her. She then decided to become a tour guide and gave us quite a lecture on natural history. When I pointed out that the fern she was looking at was more accurately called Hard Fern, she told me in no uncertain terms that she was doing the talking and not me. It is possibly the perfect future career for her (except that, if you ask her, she says that she wants to be a ‘Fairy Hunter’/teacher).
Total wild time: 1 hour 10 mins