Mini adventures in Dyrham Park and the South West Outdoor Festival

On the way to a workshop in Bath recently, a friend who was giving me a lift asked whether we’d taken the girls to Dyrham Park, a nearby National Trust property. Her children now grown, she fondly remembered the days they’d spent there when they were little.

When we recently made the most of a last snatch of summer by heading to Dyrham Park for the day, this was very much on my mind. These little outdoor adventures with the children, these are our memories.

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With lots of wide open space, the girls found the perfect spot to fly their kite. There was the gentlest bit of wind but their optimism wasn’t misplaced. They took it in turns to fly it, thrilled with this small, brilliant thing: a kite in the sky.

We became National Trust members a couple of years ago because we wanted to inspire our kids’ love of the outdoors while feeding our own. It occurs to me that for that to really happen, we need to slow down so we can stop, notice and enjoy what they do.

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While an adventure in our books might involve kayaking down a river or throwing an axe, for them, searching for mini beasts, balancing on a branch or even just stopping for a picnic is hugely exciting right now. In a way, that’s a relief because we’re restricted in how much we can reasonably cope with as a family with a newborn baby.

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We managed to make the time for all of those things and more mini adventures, Talitha rolling down a hillside while her little sister found tree hollows to dip in and out of. They managed tick a few more things off their 50 things lists.

All in all, it was a day worth capturing on film below and I’m glad we did. It’s an uber short video. Take a look and let me know what you think.

We’re conscious that as the kids get older, we’re going to want to up our game and push out further in what we do as a family. We’ve done a lot of camping and hope to keep that going. I’m still learning to ride a bicycle but I’m hoping that we’ll one day all cycle together. Basically, we’re saying yes to more wild swimming, more foraging, more time having fun in nature and more seeking genuine microadventures.

The National Trust’s South West Outdoor Festival promises to be a great starting point for inspiration and information for anyone looking to push out further into new outdoor challenges. It’s a new festival in stunning Heddon Valley in Devon with activities for all ages ranging from stargazing to kayaking to bushcraft.

Alongside a cracking lineup of speakers and workshops ready to whet your appetite for the wilderness, there’ll be storytelling, local bands, film viewings, an outdoor bar and the chance to hang out around a campfire in desperately beautiful Exmoor.

The festival is set for Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th September, which could be a brilliant way to shoot into the Autumn when many of us, especially those with kids, could be tempted to go into hibernation mode instead of continuing to pursue life outdoors. It could be just the time to learn to raft as a family or sneak in that last camp out before the seasons properly change.

Weekend camping tickets are £60 for adults and £25 for children. You can check it all out on the South West Outdoor Festival website.

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This post was brought to you by the National Trust


3 Comments

  1. September 15, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    Your adventures sound just perfect & that festival sounds fab!

  2. September 19, 2016 / 11:06 am

    I love your caterpillar picture, that’s amazing! I’ve been looking at this festival and it sounds brilliant. I’m a huge fan of the National Trust generally too, they do such amazing work and the whole thing has become so brilliantly family friendly.

  3. February 6, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    It is so nice to get the kids out and give them some space to run and not worry about being quiet or still. Kites are so much fun. We flew one once, in the parking lot of a hotel where we were staying while waiting on a house to be ready when we moved. This was extra fun because we had never done it before! What a wonderful adventure.

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