On our first day away, once we were properly settled in, had some shopping and had played lots with the farm dogs, we took a walk above Okehampton; not a long walk, mainly due to a threatening looking rain cloud, but a pleasant one. It’s a path from just above the station, from the youth hostel car park and it goes up the road and through some woodland and out on to the moor above.
For the first time, the girls really took an interest in the nature of the area and spent a lot of time looking at trees and flowers.
It was a pleasant leg stretch for the beginning of the week; we didn’t do as much walking as we wanted in the week, partly as the weather wasn’t great and partly after Max turned his ankle, but short stretches we pleasant.
Fingle Bridge is another ideal place to wander with the kids; we really can’t afford to do a holiday filled with theme parks and meals out, so I guess we’re lucky our girls are mostly extremely happy with rocks to climb and streams to clamber around in. And trees. There did seem to be more and more tree climbing this year 🙄
Fingle Bridge is part of various walks; one up to Castle Drogo, a Hunters Path and a Fisherman’s path and then the other side of the river too. There’s a lovely pub and it’s quite undercover thanks to lots of trees, so it’s a pretty good light rain sort of a wander.
It was Fran’s birthday and we ate a picnic and chattered about various things. Freddie popped into conversation a fair bit that day, as he often does on birthdays.
Max and the girls crossed this dam, which looked far too perilous for me in crocs so I winced from the sidelines and then we all debated what it must look like in full flow. Pretty scary, I imagine, if the trees wrecked on it are anything to go by.
There are lots of places along the way where you can see dried up tributaries to the main river so we squeezed in some geography too, looking at how and why and where from the water must drain when it is wet. I love geography in miniature like that. One of my favourite ways of observing how rivers work is tiny rivulets on beaches, but this was nearly as good.
Dartmoor really is the most wonderful place; I never tire of it. I love the way it draws you out into the wilds so quickly, the variety, the colours. Most of all I lvoe how much the girls love it, how little they need the trappings of modern childhood and how happy they are to just play and explore. We’re getting to the point where we might consider longer walks soon, perhaps even Max and the odd girl going out overnight. it’s exciting to plan. I still want to go to Cranmere Pool and it can’t be that long till we could all manage it.