This time last week I was limping towards the end of a very bad day on the parenting front-line. Effie had emptied an entire tub of glitter all over the living room floor, then trod it through the entire house. She’d done a wee on the sofa, smeared vaseline up the walls and had multiple threenager tantrums. We didn’t get along very well that day.
So, on Thursday, I decided we needed to draw a line under the preceding day and go on a bit of a trip. It was an exercise in Love Bombing, if you will. Anything to avoid another day that ended with us both in tears, anyway.
And that’s why, at 10.30am last Thursday morning I found myself on top of a very high hill, looking over some of the most beautiful landscape with my three year old. We were on our way to Becky Falls, an ancient woodland park hidden in the depths of Dartmoor.
The weather was textbook autumn: crisp, cold and bright. Perfect for exploring the outdoors and going on a “benture”, as Effie likes to call it. And if you’re looking for a “benture”, Becky Falls is the place to go.
Where is it?
Becky Falls is on Dartmoor, near the little village of Manaton and a short drive from the town of Bovey Tracey. It also happens to be very near where we live, which is handy. This means that before you’ve even arrived at Becky Falls you’ve had an adventure, savouring some of the best British landscape there is to see and very probably spotting a gazillion Dartmoor ponies on the way.
The real draw of Becky Falls is the landscape. Think ancient woodland scattered with huge prehistoric style boulders, babbling brooks and plenty of wildlife (including the odd otter, if you’re lucky). It reminds me of a cross between a fairytale setting and Narnia. In fact, I half expected to stumble across a mythical creature along the way. There are hiking trails and picnic spots, along with a selection of animals (Effie loved the goats and meer cats), a reptile house, craft centre, gift shop and cafe serving everything from cream teas to organic soup and sandwiches.
Who would it appeal to?
Well, anyone who likes nature, really. Obviously with the hiking trails it’s not appropriate for anyone who might find walking tricky. And you’d need a baby carrier rather than a buggy (you can borrow carriers from the site). But you don’t need to be a super-fit hardened hiker to enjoy it – there’s an option between an easy or more challenging route. And even if you didn’t want to walk it’s still a lovely place to take in the scenery, have a picnic, see the animals and just chill out in nature.
Is there food?
There’s a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, which serves hot and cold food, ice-creams and a whole range of drinks.
What activities are there?
Aside from the hiking trails, there’s a letterbox trail where children can find stamps along the route and get a free prize at the end. There are also various activities depending on the time of year you visit (including some pumpkin Halloween crafty activities over half term), with hands-on animal encounter shows at weekends and school holidays, and twice daily animal feeding sessions.
For us, the highlight of Becky Falls is the scenery. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and gives you a glimpse into a part of Dartmoor you wouldn’t otherwise see. Effie loved spotting mushrooms, acorns and trying to find a Gruffalo (!) and was excited by the idea of exploring somewhere “secret” and “magical”. It was the ideal antidote to the hellish day before, and the trip bouyed us both giving us a chance to enjoy each other’s company again.
You can watch a video I made of the day here:
If you missed the others in the series, you can read more here:
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