Tag Archives: kids

Tarr Steps, Dulverton ancient stone bridge

A cheap half day out for the kids

Tarr Steps, "clapper" bridge.  According to Wikipedia The name "clapper bridge" comes from the Medieval Latin "claperius" which means "pile of stones".

Tarr Steps, “clapper” bridge.
According to Wikipedia The name “clapper bridge” comes from the Medieval Latin “claperius” which means “pile of stones”.

It’s just  in Somerset, but it is within an hour’s drive of Ilfracombe, going through Combe Martin and across Exmoor.

The Tarr Steps is not made of tar, and it isn’t steps. It is actually a bridge made of large flat stones.

Wellies or crocs recommended, plus a change of clothes or some towels at least.

Wellies or crocs recommended, plus a change of clothes or some towels at least.

The bridge is approximately three thousand years old. Originally built by the Devil for a bet (at least according to legend)

It has been damaged by flooding several times most recently last year (2012) after which is was rebuilt by a team of seven men, and in 1952 when it took fifty sappers from the Royal Engineers to rebuild it. The advantage of modern heavy lifting equipment presumably.

Here’s a short video about the rebuild.

The stones are all numbered so that future rebuilds will be less difficult.

The bridge crosses the river Barle which is a tributary of the Exe, The water is shallow during dry weather and passable by off road vehicles.

Visitors are directed to park in a car park (£2 flat fee all day) which is a short (1/4 mile) walk from the river itself, although there is a blue badge car park at the bottom of the hill, and people can also be dropped off and picked up if the walk is too much for them. There are toilets at the car park.

My wife fell in but unfortunately I wasn't filming her. It was a hot sunny day so the puddle she is standing in is all from her. She had to put a blanket on the seat for the drive home.

My wife fell in but unfortunately I wasn’t filming her.

There are no litter bins at all here, nor are there any dog poo bins. Visitors must take litter away with them but there is no problem at all with dog poo providing it is not bagged, or deposited near the paths or in the river.

There is an ice cream kiosk, we didn’t dare ask the prices, and a tea rooms with pleasant garden. Sorry, but again we didn’t enquire about prices. We decided that it was bound to be expensive and so we brought a picnic lunch.

As well as the bridge and the river, which the kids enjoy splashing about in (wellies or crocs are strongly advised as well as a change of clothes for when it all goes wrong!) there is also a very pleasant footpath and bridleway through the woods which eventually reaches Withypool .

View Tarr steps in a larger map

Quince Honey Farm – South Molton

Learn all about bees and honey
at this long running attraction

Entrance to Quince Honey Farm, South Molton.

Entrance to Quince Honey Farm, South Molton.

My daughter has been nagging us to take her to the honey farm for ages now, and with the summer holidays more than half gone it was high time we did.

Location and contact details

Quince Honey Farm,
North Road,
South Molton,
EX36 3AZ
Telephone 9am to 5pm:
01769 572401
Email:
info@quincehoneyfarm.co.uk
Watch people working on each stage of the process.  This lady was making frames for the honeycomb.

Watch people working on each stage of the process.
This lady was making frames for the honeycomb.

There were mixed reviews on Trip Advisor ranging from five star to one star and some of the comments almost put me off. As a result we decided, since money is tight right now that I would just take Ellie, and keep the costs down as much as possible.

To be honest, Trip Advisor is a dangerous tool, sure you can get forewarned about possible holiday disasters, but you are going to take on board the opinions of people who may be completely different to you.

A lot of information is presented on display boards but it is well written and laid out, and is not the only source of information.

A lot of information is presented on display boards but it is well written and laid out, and is not the only source of information.

One of the negative comments said  “It is so old fashioned and the way the information is delivered i.e. posters and displays on walls does not engage with young children. ”
Well when we went there, (only one month later) we found there were flaps to lift to find answers to questions. I doubt very much if this was added recently so, presumably, they missed that as they rushed round.

There were several different types of beehive and some of them could be opened by pressing a button which controlled a motor. Exactly the sort of thing kids love.

There were several different types of beehive and some of them could be opened by pressing a button which controlled a motor. Exactly the sort of thing kids love.

There were numerous different types of beehives, with active bee colonies, some of which had buttons that you could press and a motor would open the hive for you to see inside.

There was also a film that you could sit down and watch although we didn’t bother.

I even learned stuff myself, because I was there talking to my daughter about it, and reading the information to her. She had a booklet with quiz questions to answer, as well as mazes and puzzles etc, a really well thought out booklet, although she isn’t much into writing so that ended up being done mainly by me. Did you know the honey is extracted from the comb in a centrifuge? I didn’t.

Soft Play area.  Fairly substantial play area with no time restriction. Socks must be worn  but can be bought in the shop for £1

Soft Play area. Included in the entry price.
Fairly substantial play area with no time restriction.
Socks must be worn but can be bought for £1

Sure it wasn’t the science museum, and certainly not Legoland; but there was enough to keep my seven year old daughter occupied for the best part of an hour, and that is not counting the soft play area which was pretty extensive and included in the entry price. (£5.25 children; £5.95 adults) I might add, the soft play area had no time limit.

Soft play is quite large, as you can see, I couldn't get it all into one shot.

Soft play is quite large, as you can see, I couldn’t get it all into one shot.

The cafe smelled wonderful but I avoided the temptation to eat there as prices were typical for this type of attraction. I did have a decent mug of coffee (£1.90) and I got a jug of squash for Ellie which filled up at least four glasses (£2.05)

 

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I also learned that humans have been climbing up to collect honey since before written history. Of course I should have known this since most primates do so, but I didn’t realise there were cave paintings and carvings dating back thousands of years depicting the activity.

In the shop they sell a wide range of honey and bee related products, as well as socks, which is thoughtful, because many children will arrive in sandals, but have to wear socks on the soft play. My daughter included.
We bought socks, a large jar of heather honey (£4.50) a jar of honey marmalade (£3.50) very nice, and a beeswax tea light 65p.
I wasn’t willing to pay four quid for a candle shaped like a Christmas tree, but then I wasn’t buying gifts for friends back home.

All in all, I would say it is certainly worth a visit with most age groups of children. It is tolerable value at just over £22 for a family of four (children are ages 3-16) although, if you are on a tight budget, make sure you feed everyone before you go, so they aren’t hungry; and maybe show them the price of a jar of honey in Tesco for comparison first.