Wild Family Fun

Tales of living, working and enjoying life in the outdoors


We found snow!!!

We’ve just returned from an amazing walk up Pen Y Fan! The best part was that we had snow at the top of the mountain!

My daughter has been watching the news reports, praying that we might get some snow in Wales. As we drove around bend in the road to Storey Arms in Brecon, she let out a huge squeal as she could see snow on the top of Pen Y Fan!!

We met some friends who’d never walked up Pen Y Fan, so it was very special to be able to take them up, in these beautiful conditions.

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The start of our walk was slow and steady, but everyone was so in awe of the clear blue skies and beautiful walking conditions of the day.

As we got to Corn Ddu, (the first peak), the layers and extra jumpers went on as the wind picked up. The girls were still determined to reach the top.

After taking it slowly and steadily on the uphill path, (due to the ice), the girls had smiles when they saw the top of the mountain, and the crowds of people milling around waiting for their picture to be taken.

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After a brief stop for a lunch of the “ever popular” chicken noodle soup, we posed for our ” summit picture”.

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Over to Corn Ddu and down the rocky path, we started our descent with lots of happy chatter. We were all full of the Christmas feeling due to the weather, and the fact that we were, at last, out in the snow!!

It was a lovely day out, and it’s made the Christmas holidays a little bit more special for us.

spenyfan5

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life



Adventures when the winter weather sets in.

My daughter has had a few sessions at a local indoor climbing centre and every time she has always come away wanting to book in another session, so as the cold weather sets in, indoor climbing is a great way of getting children active and engaged with a really fun and adventurous activity.

Recently we met a few friends at Boulder to give the girls an active Sunday morning of climbing. The girls had a go at the practice wall, trying to move around the corner without falling off and then we played some good team games where they had to work together to balance on the wall and start thinking about hand holds and the shapes of their bodies.

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After the warm up and a quick drink, they were ready to hit the wall. The girls were great in waiting turns, helping and encouraging each other with where to go and always giving each other high fives and confidence boosts when someone would complete their climb. It was lovely to see and us Mums didn’t have to encourage this, we all agreed how naturally it came from the girls.

They tried different walls and challenges and never gave up, always trying to reach a bit higher each time. They also had challenges of tieing themselves into their harnesses and remembering their ‘figure of eight knot’, all useful skills for future climbing sessions.

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The best thing however wasn’t how high they climbed or the quickest climb but was how the girls acted with each other. It was a brilliant team activity and normally that doesn’t happen in a climbing session as climbing can be a bit of an individual activity or sport. The girls {and Mums} had a lovely time and we’re currently thinking of starting our own climbing club with hoodies and motivating mottos!

So when the weather makes it hard for our usual outdoor adventures indoor climbing is a great way to introduce elements of risk taking, exercise, team work, confidence building and best of all fun!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 



Learning for Life

Our French Adventure

Now that the winter is well and truly here, I’ve been enjoying looking back over our lovely, (and sunny!), pictures taken during our mini-break to France, over the October half term. We visit France regularly, and we’ve always loved it. We’re very lucky that my husband speaks French. This makes it easier for us to get by and do things, especially as I get tongue-tied when attempting to speak French!

My husband found us a lovely little cottage located on a working farm, just an hour outside of Calais. It’s a beautiful, old-fashioned cottage set within a very quiet village, and in stunning surroundings. It was idyllic, and perfect for a relaxing break away.

We explored our new home and found three very friendly (but very bouncy) dogs who became a complete favourite of my daughter. They would come running over every morning, and my daughter would love leaning out of her window to see them on guard. While we were wandering around, one day, the farmer ushered us into one of the big sheds. He showed us one of the baby calves that had been born that very night! It turned out that he was a twin, and Mummy-cow was delivering another calf. My daughter was so amazed and, if she could, she would’ve stayed all day and helped the farmer deliver the other baby!

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We had such a wonderful time. If you’re in France on a Sunday, you have to visit a local street-market to buy some tasty treats and, of course, a roasted chicken. This is a “must-have” (for meat lovers) when visiting a traditional French market. The chickens are cooked on a rotating spit with open flames, and the scent hits you as soon as you enter the market. It’s real treat for us, and a change from the usual “traditional” Sunday roast. We enjoy a juicy roasted chicken, along with a selection of fresh salads. There are fresh cheeses, crusty baguettes, the most delicious cakes and pastries that you could imagine, and the variety of vegetables and fresh fruit is always amazing. I love this way of shopping.

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My daughter enjoying her favourite French meal of Moules and frites!

One of my favourite days was when we went for a bike ride. The weather was beautiful and, after changing two flat tyres, we were off. Riding through the villages, looking at the little farms and enjoying the flat paths was amazing. Luckily, we encountered no steep hills and, after a short stop in a little cafe for cold drinks and ice cream, we gained some much-needed energy before heading back home. In total, we rode just over 10k.

My husband was amazed, as he hadn’t been on bike since he was a young boy. We all agreed that French bike-saddles were a LOT less comfortable than our lovely gel seats at home! The irony is that we rode through the village of Agincourt, and my husband was convinced that his sore “derriere” was some kind of French revenge for the famous battle which, incidentally, took place exactly 599 years to the very day that we visited!!

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We also spent a wonderful day at a nearby aquarium in Boulogne. My daughter wants to be a marine biologist when she’s older. She loves visiting aquarium, and this one is truly amazing. It’s probably one of the best I’ve ever been to. There are thousands of different species of marine life to look at, all set in huge tanks replicating their natural environment. There are also lots of environmental projects to show children how we can protect endangered species, great talks and films shown throughout the day explaining about things like the impact of pollution on the marine environment, as well as responsible fishing and so much more. (It’s also a great chance for weary parents to rest their feet!). The main attraction for my daughter is the shark tank. She loves to sit and watch, mesmerized, as these huge creatures glide gracefully and silently through the water. The aquarium is located on the beach, and so  we were able to have our picnic lunch overlooking the sunny scenery, followed by-play on the sand. It was hard to believe that it was October, with such wonderful weather.

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We had such a lovely, relaxing time and staying on a farm was so interesting for my daughter. There was so much to see and explore, so it was a perfect venue for an outdoor-loving family. It may seem like a lot of work, what with biking, walking etc. There wasn’t much “sitting by a pool in the sun, sipping cocktails” but, for our family, this was activity-filled, fun-packed heaven.

It’s our type of holiday, and we can’t wait to plan our next family adventure abroad!

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Learning for Life

Hallowe’en Fun

Hallowe’en saw us enjoying a wonderful party, with traditional celebrations, at Friends of Pentre Gardens. We held our usual arts and crafts in the hall, and children could make crafty bits to decorate their homes ready for Hallowe’en, and also make some costumes with Hallowe’en inspired materials, like foam grave stones, flying bats with teeth made from plastic forks, fabulous orange pumpkins, and white lace materials used for capes and corpse-brides!

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The start of our spooky Tomb Stones!

In the outside area, we held all the messy (and very fun) traditional party games. The children had so much fun putting their faces into flour attempting to get their tasty treat, also apple bobbing, trays where hands (and sometimes faces) were plunged into gooey stuff, in order to get a sweet. There was also polo-sucking, eating cream crackers in one minute, and my favourite was the Mummy wrapping game.

This was a team game where someone must stand still and be covered (head to toe) in toilet tissue to be created into a Hallowe’en Mummy! These were such wonderful and messy activities, seeing all ages and abilities working together to, ultimately, just have lots of fun.

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What I love about this community playscheme, is that we see a lot of parents staying to play with their children. This is lovely to see, and that makes the project so successful within the community. It’s wonderful to see the interaction between the parents, and it’s always great to see parents crawling on the floor, hunting through the craft materials, and making creations for themselves.

Here’s looking forward to the Christmas party!



Learning for Life

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Surf’s Up!

As we’ve had such a wonderfully long summer this year, we decided to celebrate by fitting in one last surfing day, last week, at a local beach.

My daughter has done a lot of body boarding, and she was desperate to give surfing a go. Off we went to Coney Beach in Porthcawl, which is a lovely, wave-cut, sandy beach, and is a great place for surfing. All along the classic seafront walk, there are stalls selling fish and chips, and there’s a fairground offering traditional rides.

We weren’t the only ones who had the idea to surf that day, as the weather and wave conditions we perfect. When we arrived, my husband counted about 50-plus surfers already in the sea, making the most of the glorious waves.

After some quick instruction on the sand, my daughter was off and racing towards the sea. The waves were huge and, as we made our way into the surf, I watched her closely, shouting helpful encouragement and giving her board a push to get her going.

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The conditions were brilliant, which made it easy for learning and catching waves. She had lots of falling into the water off the board, but each time she went under the waves, she soon bounced up again, laughed and ran back into the surf for another go. I always admire her tenacious spirit, and lack of fear when trying new and exciting things.

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We spent hours in the water, and even when it started getting chilly, my daughter begged to stay in for “one more go”. It was only when we mentioned the prospect of a few rides in the fairground, and a bag of chips, that she agreed to call it a day.

We wandered through the fairground going from ride to ride. We finished the day by sitting on the beach eating a cone of crispy, fresh, hot chips.

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It was great to just put it together at the last minute, as it turned out to be an amazing day, and we’d loved every minute of it.

It’s just a guess, but I know what might be on my daughters Christmas list, this year!

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

Homegrown, Healthy and Happy Family Fun.

My Dad is a keen gardener and, over the years, he’s transformed his garden into a lovely miniature allotment, growing a huge variety of vegetables.

Throughout the summer, we get to wander into the garden and pick lots of lovely vegetables, such as peas, potatoes and courgettes. Also tomatoes and chillies come from his little greenhouse. We’re so lucky, because they taste amazing, but it also helps to teach the grandchildren all about how food is grown and where it comes from. It really encourages the young ones to eat fresh vegetables, as they picked them straight from Bampy’s garden.

As the Summer was coming to an end, he needed some help to dig over the garden and harvest the last remaining vegetables before they went to waste, so we headed over to his house, one Sunday afternoon.

Suitably dressed in wellies and old clothes, we started digging in the rows of beetroot, pulling up handfuls of juicy, round beetroot, cutting of the leaves and putting them in the buckets. We had loads, and my husband had to start thinking of the different recipes he could use, to best preserve a huge bucket full of beetroot!

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Next we started on the rows of potatoes. Once again, we started by pulling up a few here and there. but by the end of our digging session we had another bucket full of lovely home-grown spuds, which would be great for our roasts, mash, Dauphinoise, jackets and chips!

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After a few hours of digging we managed to harvest bucketfuls of beetroot, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, garlic, chillies, pears, red and white onions and courgettes. It was a great day of family activity, resulting in lots of wonderful treats and the start of some delicious meals, chutneys, pickles and sauces!

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In a small back garden, we’re very lucky to be able to grow our own. It’s a great way of encouraging children to eat healthily and gain a good understanding of where our food comes from.

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life



Our Last Trip of the Summer

As a part of my work, we run outdoor activities throughout the whole summer holidays. We deliver two trips per day, ranging from walks for under 8’s, through to mountain biking, gorge walking and coasteering for young adults, and much more in between. It’s always a very busy time and, by the end of the summer, even we can’t wait for the children to go back to school!

So, our tired little troupe of outdoor workers, fed up with wearing damp wetsuits and not wanting to see another buoyancy aid for a long while, all decided that our last summer holiday activity would be a forest day, with a small group of under 8’s from a local play centre. Relaxed, not much kit to pack and, (let’s be honest), easier than clambering up a waterfall.

This ended up being one of my most favourite activity trips of the summer.

We didn’t have to travel far, as we went to Forest Fawr in Cardiff, not far from Castell Coch. It’s a wonderful forest area, with lots of safe space for children to roam and explore while still being in constant visual contact of the staff. It’s also where the T.V. series Merlin (as well as episodes of Sherlock Holmes) have been filmed, and this is something that the children love to be able to recognise and relate to.

We loaded our rucksacks with a Kelly Kettle, fire building equipment, tarpaulins for den building, wood cookies for outdoor medals and other bits and bobs for a full day of forest adventures and exploring.

We had a short walk to the site, which has a fire circle already in place and lots of space for den building. The children off-loaded their bags, and couldn’t wait to explore the area. Luckily, we gave them each a set of waterproof clothes and wellies, because it’s easy for us to wash off the kit, and the kids all go home clean and mud free!

They really did need protective clothes, as this was the first thing they spotted!

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Mother Nature providing the perfect playground!

The children spent ages balancing on the tree, carefully stepping and sliding along it. Eventually, after about twenty minutes, they finally became brave enough to stomp, squelch and jump in the mud, mud, glorious mud!

The staff stopped and took a step back, (thinking that we were the ones who were going to have to wash the kit), but all agreed that the children were having a wonderful time.

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They say that one picture can say a thousand words…………

After a bit of washing off, we headed to our base for the day. There, we handed out tarpaulins, ropes and string, and then just allowed the children to create their own dens. What struck me the most, was how the children worked together and didn’t need (or seek) our help. They were so confident and comfortable in the environment that they didn’t need adult intervention.

That’s how it should be…… child-led play.

It was so amazing to watch. As outdoor workers, that’s what we strive to see. Play is such an important experience for children, as it allows them to develop in so many different ways. Seeing the children happy, confident and totally in control of choosing how and what they want to play. It was wonderful.

We spent the rest of the afternoon learning about fire-safety, and how to make fires. The children loved having the opportunity to learn how to make a fire in a safely controlled environment. It was something they’ve never been allowed to do, and to see them working responsibly in pairs, on such a risky activity, was great. Then, the staff cooked popcorn on an open fire, which was enjoyed by everyone, both young and old.

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……………….and, of course, there was even more mud!

All the children and the staff had such an amazing day. It’s funny, sometimes, that people often “talk-up” activities such as gorge walking, canoeing and mountain biking. People are amazed that we get involved in delivering those sorts of activities to children and young adults. But, to this tired and weary outdoor worker, (at the end of a long summer programme), this simple yet fun-filled adventure in the forest has to be one of my favourite memories of this summer.

sometimes, the simple things in life are truly the best!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

 

 



Our summer holiday to-do list!

A few weeks ago, I posted all about our Summer Holiday to-do list.

I was worried because, this summer, we weren’t going abroad for a holiday, but I still wanted my daughter to have weeks of fun-filled activities, especially during our 2 weeks off work. This was the reason for creating the list, so that we would have a plan of activities, and adventures that we wanted to do. After a very busy two weeks, we were able to tick most of the activities off the list and, when I think back, we only took one of those days to stay at home and recover from all our outdoor adventures.

 Celebrating National Play Day

Wednesday 6th August was National Play Day, which is a wonderful day for families and children to celebrate, and be a part of, lots of different play events running throughout the country. We spend the day celebrating with  Friends of Pentre Gardens.

We had an amazing day, providing a huge range of play activities and opportunities for children and young people within the community. There were a variety of arts and craft activities, sporting games, bug hotels, jewellery making, homemade swings and hammocks from trees, team games (with the most popular activity being the homemade car made from a recycled wheely bin) and the graffiti artist Lloyd made the most amazing creations for the children to take home.

It was a huge success, with the staff being able to take a step back and observe the children playing together, making their own play experiences happen and also seeing so many parents staying to play with their children. This was a truly wonderful play experience for everyone who took part in the day, and we were so happy to be included in it.

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Go foraging for wild food

One warm evening, we made our way up to the apple trees that grow near to our house. For weeks, we’ve been checking the apples to see if they are ready, and finally the time was right. My daughter made her way safely up the tree (with some help from her Dad) and, with trusty stick in hand, was able to reach up to the apples high at the top. We quickly filled a tray full of delicious, juicy apples ready for cooking. Apple crumbles, tart Normande and Tarte Tatin for tea!

Walking up Pen Y Fan

Attempting the walk to the top of Pen Y Fan was a huge challenge, and something we’ve wanted to do for such a long time. Pen Y Fan is the largest mountain in South Wales. My Dad kept checking the weather reports for a week, and we decided that the last Saturday before I returned to work was the day for us! We donned our walking boots and wind-proof coats, packed a picnic and set off. I was so glad that we were prepared with jumpers, hats and coats, because the top of the mountain was pretty windy, and we had to shout to each other to be heard. Steaming cups of hot chicken noodle soup was passed around by my Dad, and we really had a magnificent day. I was so proud of my daughter, who didn’t moan at all going up-hill, and I had such a lovely experience being out with my Dad. It was a brilliant day, giving us a wonderful family memory.

Coasteering

Unfortunately, we didn’t make a specific coasteering trip but there are still two weekends left to squeeze in a trip to the Gower.

However, my daughter did achieve a huge leap in improving her kayaking abilities over the Summer. She took part in her first moving-river and open-water journey with her paddling group GlamBoaters. She’s had about two months of indoor pool sessions, and so going onto the open water is a big step. I must admit that my heart was in my mouth as I watched her paddle out on her own. The first was a paddle on the River Taff and, when she jumped into her kayak, I had a moment of nerves but, after some calming words from my Mum and Dad, we were off! I paddled a Canadian canoe and stayed very close to her. Paddling on a river can suddenly present many different problems, such as the sudden change in water current, changes in wind strength and so on. I think I was more nervous than she was, as she dug the paddle in and got further away from the land. But she loved it and I couldn’t believe how far out she went, growing in confidence with every stroke. For the journey back, she jumped into my canoe and had a rest as we paddled back to her Dad, Nanny and Bampy, who were proudly watching from the bank, (drenched right through, as it was pouring down with rain, bless them).

Her next adventure was paddling at Cardiff White Water Centre. This is a brilliant place, where paddlers of all ages and abilities have the opportunity of paddling different types of waters; flat water for novices and fast-moving water for the more exprienced paddler. My daughter had some time on the flat water improving her technique, paddling on the flow from the smallest of waves. When she toppled over, she popped up quickly, giggled and then quickly gave me the “thumbs-up” just to calm my nerves. Of course, she wanted to go on the fast-moving water. She went with one of the instructors in an inflatable, two-man raft and they bounced their way down the course. It was a great evening and, being out of the pool into moving water, was so good for her confidence and kayaking experience.

 

 

Our Summer Holiday scrapbook is coming along nicely, with tickets, photos and drawings being added to the book. It’s a lovely way of remembering our trips, and will be a great “show-and-tell” experience for when my daughter returns to school.

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Learning for Life

Our Pen-y-Fan Adventure

Yes…..   we got to the top !!

Climbing up to the top of Pen-y-Fan was on our summer holiday to-do list. My daughter has been jumping at the chance to do the walk and, after we got her first pair of walking boots and thick walking socks, there was no stopping her. We waited for a dry and clear day and my Dad, my daughter and I set off with a well packed picnic and a flask of chicken noodle soup !!

The weather at our house was warm and sunny but, when we got to Brecon the clouds were set with rain and we quickly threw our jumpers on to help against the cold. We started on the family-friendly path, which is great for young children. This is a gradual path and not too steep, which makes it a good way for children to get to the top. We took regular breaks and, when we started to feel the cold, my Dad got out his trusty flask filled with chicken noodle soup and extra pasta, which my daughter loves.

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After a cup of steaming soup, we headed back up the path, exchanging “hellos and how’s the top” to the passing people who had woken very early and were now on their way back down.

As we got higher, the wind started getting stronger and it was quite a surprise that we had to put on our hats and coats to stay warm.

We reached the corner of Corn Ddu and, with Pen-y-Fan in the distance, we knew we had about twenty minutes from the top, and this gave us our second wind. With a few “are we there yets ?” from my daughter, I pointed to the rocky mount that was the top, where many people were now in a small line waiting for their photo to be taken.

Of course, we wanted to have our photo taken too and, what was nice, was that everyone helped each other and offered to take photos on each others’ cameras, so that we could all get a shot with everyone in. We took in the amazing sights from all angles, but decided not to say too long as the wind was making it so bad that we had to shout to each other to be heard.

After a little while on the way back down, we were able to stop out of the wind for our lovely picnic, snacking on sandwiches and having little bits of fudge, to give us renewed strength for the journey down.

The walk down was a lot easier than going up, and we found ourselves back at the car in record time, treating ourselves to a warming cup of tea from the little stand in the car park. We sat for a while watching people coming down, and chatting about our day, all agreeing that we were so glad and quite proud that we made the effort.

So, three generations of my family went up the largest mountain in South Wales, and we were able to tick off one of the biggest outdoor to-do adventures from our summer holiday list !!

We went up a mountain, and came down victorious !! What a wonderful memory !!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

 

 


Our Summer Holiday.

Today is the start of my main holiday, and I have the next two weeks off work.

I shouted a huge “yayyy” last night, when I got home !

We’re not able to go abroad, this year, but I don’t want to waste a moment of the time that we have together as a family. So, we’ve collectively compiled a Summer Holiday “to-do” list.

Activity 1: Have a coasteering trip.

Coasteering is one of the most adventurous activities that we offer, in work. Although this would be the first time that my daughter has taken part in a properly organised coasteering activity, we feel that she’s ready for it. It involves wearing a full kit of wet-suit, buoyancy aids and helmets. It reqires jumping into and swimming in the sea, and exploring the coastline of Caswell Bay, in the Gower. This is a stunning beach with beautiful clear-blue sea, little caves to swim into and is an absolute favourite of mine. Also, the cafe serves the best chips, followed by caramel ice cream and clotted cream. A perfect end to a wild day at the beach.

Activity 2: Celebrate National Play Day.

Wednesday 6th August is National Play Day. This is a day when organisations, parents and families can come together to celebrate play, and the importance it has in children’s development. I’m lucky that I will be a part of the “Friends of Pentre Gardens” celebrations. We’ll be providing a fun packed afternoon full of outdoor playing, arts and crafts, games, messy play, sporting games, face painting and costume creations. The play opportunities will be endless ! National Play Day is celebrated nationwide, with many communities holding events through various playschemes and childrens organisations. It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate play, and adults are actively encouraged to take part in a bit of “child’s play”. It’s going to be a great day.

Activity 3: Go foraging for wild-food.

We are so lucky to have a fantastic range of wild-foods available to us, growing very near to where we live. Our local hedgerows are thick with blackberries and wild raspberries. Last year, we spent a couple of sunny evenings filling up plastic tubs with these easily rich pickings, later making homemade tarts and preserved jams. On one evening, late last summer, my husband and daughter announced that they were going “for a walk”, just about dusk. They returned a short time later with a bag full of succulent, sweet apples, and both with stupid grins…… I didn’t press the subject !

Sometimes, we venture further afield to visit a beach in the Gower, called Oxwich Bay. This is a food foragers dream. When the tide is right, you can wander up and down the shore and simply pick cockles off the surface of the beach. It’s so exciting when you find your first one, and then seek out more and ever more. To make it even more rewarding, it’s possible to walk along the edge of the beach to pick mussels clinging to the rocks. In recent months, we’ve watched how the locals use special tricks and techniques to harvest up to 20 or so razor clams at a time. This involves shuffling backwards until a black spot in the sand is located. This spot is then squirted with a very salty water solution and, a few seconds later, a long razor clam pops up out of the sand ! We come home with such a feast. We never take more than we need, but it creates a rewarding and educational day out. Nothing finishes the day off better than a bowl of steaming mussels with crusty bread. I guess it helps that my husband is a chef and has a vast knowledge of wonderful recipes ready to wow us with !

Activity 4: Have a full day out on our bicycles.

We’re so lucky to have an amazing cycle track through Cardiff. The Taff Trail follows along the River Taff, passing beautiful communal gardens, muddy trails and paths cut through wild woodland. Another bonus are myriad farm shops and traditional deli’s that are to be discovered en route. These little hidden-away treasures often serve great coffee and (of course) delicious home-made cakes that help to refresh a weary biker.

Activity 5: Record our Summer Holiday adventures.

We find that we’re lucky to have such amazing family adventures, but we rarely record our time together. Yes, we take photographs, but collating all of the pictures, tickets, recipe ideas and drawings into a summer scrapbook is such a lovely way to remember the fun times we have as a family. It also helps when my daughter goes back to school, and is able to do a show-and-tell about her holidays for her class-mates.

Activity 6: Visit a traditional beach.

Porthcawl beach is only a short drive from our house, and has everything one could want from a tradtional seaside beach. Candy floss is sold in the shops, fairground rides and the old-style tuppeny slot machines are all to be found in the arcades lining the beachfront. We always seem to be tempted, (at the end of a busy day), by fresh chips served in cones with a splash of salt and vinegar, or fresh doughnuts cooked in freshly and, of course, an ever-expanding array of flavoured ice-creams. All very traditional, but an easy and fun day out, evoking reminisces of my childhood.

Activity 7: Walk to the top of Pen-y-Fan.

Our biggest challenge, however, will be to tackle a trek to the top of Pen-y-Fan. This is the highest mountain in South Wales, and will be a big adventure for us. I’m very lucky to have taken lots of young people to the top in all weathers, and now my daughter is bursting to give it a go. So, a trip to the local outdoor store beckons. We’ll invest in some good, stout walking boots and attempt the big challenge. I really can’t wait to take our picture at the top of the mountain.

I guess I hoped to show that, with a little planning, it’s possible to fill out a holiday with all those things that are important to us….. outdoor adventures, simple but good foody treats, and quality time with loved ones.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted as we tick off our achievements but, after compiling this list, my husband has already said that he’ll need to go back to work for a rest !

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

Encouraging Wildlife In Nature

Recently, my daughter had the opportunity to make her own ‘Bug Hotel’. This is a great activity, that encourages animals and wildlife to live in your garden. A Bug Hotel can attract a variety of insects and other creatures, and help to develop the bio-diversity of your garden.

All the materials needed were very basic. They included a piece of pipe, some dried out leaves, twigs and sticks etc, (all of which can be found in any garden or hedge), and some old newspaper. Beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice all love to live in the decaying wood and bark.

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My daughter filled the pipe with the natural materials and newspaper, then bound it all together. It was such a quick and simple activity, and was suitable for all ages. The younger children were getting encouragement from parents, and the older children were really focusing on the design of their hotel.

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Once completed, the hotel needed to be placed into a dark and cool area of our garden. We decided to place it by the corner of the shed near to the trampoline, as it would offer much-needed shade, and is away from the ‘traffic’ of the garden.

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We have to leave the hotel for a few weeks, and then we can investigate and look to see if any tiny animals or insects have “checked-in” to stay.

This was a wonderfully engaging activity, and something we can return to and monitor throughout the summer holidays. My daughter intends to make keep a scrapbook about her hotel, to share with her class when she returns to school.

We’ll keep you posted, so watch this space !!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



Mini Creations
Learning for Life

Finding Play Space In The City

A friend of mine is involved with an amazing community-based project called ‘Friends of Pentre Gardens’.

It’s a brilliant project that was set up to promote local green park space for the community of Grangetown, in Cardiff. Its’ aim is to keep the area safe, clean and user-friendly, and to deliver a fantastic outdoor playscheme which promotes free-play for the children who live in the community. The initiative also works together, (with the help of the Parks Department), to improve and maintain the park, by planting flowers and maintaining the trees and bushes, as well as to generally promote the area for the enjoyment of the local community.

It’s a wonderful project, as it gets children to play outside safely in spite of living in an urban area.

Recently, I took part in one of these play sessions.

Set in the park, we provided an afternoon offering a range of play opportunities for children to take part in. There were many different types of play activities on offer and all were freely available to the children for them to choose.

My favourite element of these events is arts and craft activities. The materials are fantastic, and fit nicely into the idea of using objects that aren’t necessarily ‘shop bought craft’. The materials come from a local scrapstore, which provides a huge variety of recycled objects collected from firms around South Wales. Paper and card, off cuts of material, plastic discs and tops of bottles, and all shapes and sizes of cloth. Items that most people would think of throwing away, the organisation called “Recreate” collects them and sells them in job-lots to the public.

It’s a really clever way of introducing children tothe concept of recycle and re-use.

playscheme1

The children are able to rummage through bags of treasures, seeking out inspiration to create their own personal craft creations.

playscheme2

Because the scheme is set in a green space, the children have the opportunity to play cricket, ball games and sack races, or whatever their imagination lets them discover. The staff are there to encourage and facilitate play experiences.

My daughters’ favourite part of the day was the make-shift swing and hammock. Both were made from recycled materials….. an old net and some strong elasticy-type material. Tied around the trees in the park, the children spend ages swinging back and forth on the swing and taking it in turns to relax, (and be bounced very high), in the homemade hammock. Two very simple but very effective ideas that the children adored and it was the last thing that was taken down at the end of the session!

playscheme3

We had a wonderful afternoon, and my daughter loves going to the playschemes. She enjoys having the freedom to play and explore. It’s a fantastic project that’s a huge benefit to the community and the dedication of the volunteers and staff is amazing.

playscheme

It’s a great project that allows children to be free and, most important of all, gets everyone to play together!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall                                             

Learning for Life
Mini Creations