Monday, 30 July 2007

Rock Park

The sun is finally shining in North Devon, so everyone rushed outdoors to make the most of it today. I took the children over to Rock Park at lunch time for a picnic and to meet a friend I haven't seen for a long time. We had a nice chat, and a beer (a picnic isn't complete without one). The kids played, or slept in the pushchair in the case of her little one.

There are two parks in Barnstaple, Pilton and Rock. Rock park, named after Mr Rock, some famous Barnstaple person (I only know this because there is a statue of his head somewhere nearby), sits on the bank of the river Taw. It is larger than Pilton park, has some very pretty grounds and a big field used for sports at the weekends. It is in the process of being re-vamped with a new children's play area and new toilets. Lets hope they finish soon because what was on offer today was rather old, and there wasn't much for the kids to play on at all. The old toilets were locked so we had to water a few trees. Still, the picnic was nice, and its worth a wander through if you like some pretty views.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Appledore and Instow

We've just 'done' Appledore and Instow at school. That is to say, we visited them and studied them from a geographical point of view. I'd forgot there was more to these to towns than just the beach or the quay.
In Appledore we walked through the little park at the back of the car park and into Irsha Street, a quaint windy little road full of pretty cottages. Half way along there are two lovely looking pubs (which of course we didn't go in) and in between them is a slipway. It leads down to the muddy beach you can see in the photo. The children sat and did some sketching and we showed them the sand bar where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet. Then we let them loose on the pebbles and rocks. They loved seeing what they could find, and lots of shells, stones and even crabs legs went home in pockets as treasure.
Walk to the end of Irsha Street and you find the Life Boat Station. The crew members very kindly let us go in and even showed the children the room where they keep thier uniform and wetsuits. Outside there is fantastic view of Westward Ho!
In Instow we walked along as far as the old train station where the Tarka Trail goes through the town. More on that in a future blog, I hope. (I'm waiting for my husband to teach my youngest how to ride a bike.) Then we went back round to the sand dunes and made sand sculptures. Some of their creations were very good, I recommend trying it sometime. Mermaids were particularly popular, three dimensional and fully equiped with shell bikini tops!

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Jazz Train

It's still raining here in North Devon, so with umbrella's waving we headed off to Barnstaple train station last night for a little jaunt down the Tarka Line to Eggesford. We were advised to arrive half an hour early to ensure buying tickets as they couldn't be bought in advance, and were pleasantly surprised to discover that if there are more than four in your party you can get a group rate of 50% off adult tickets and children travel for �1. So our return trip cost a grand total of �7.50! Bargain!

And the reason for our trip? Once a month from April to September there is a Jazz Train running out of Barnstaple. A band plays on the train down to Eggesford where passengers alight and take the short walk up to the Fox and Hounds Country Hotel for dinner. The band also plays in the pub, and on the return train journey. On our trip the band was The Steve Tucker All Star Jazz Band, and they were brilliant.
The meal at the Fox and Hounds was also fantastic, although I ate rather too much and had to waddle back to the train station. The children loved going on the train, although the countryside views were spoiled a bit by the weather. I especially enjoyed the champagne provide by my friend for the journey. And despite my teenage daughter asserting that the music was "gay", even she was smiling by the end. I'd definately go again.