We’ve lived in South Devon for nearly four years now, but I still feel like a tourist here at this time of year. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world, but exploring new corners of the county that we haven’t yet visited is a great way to remember why we bit the bullet and relocated here in the first place. There are still so many days out in Devon we haven’t yet experienced and, up until last weekend, Wildwood Escot was one of the places on our “must visit” list.
With over 200 acres of parkland, and views across the valley beyond, Wildwood is a great destination for nature lovers. As well as the majestic peacocks roaming the grounds, there are regular displays with other birds of prey, plus cute otters, wild cats and boars to look at. In fact, there’s so much here that we struggled to fit it all in during one day, so my advice is to arrive early to give yourself time to see it all.
The indoor play barn makes for a handy pit-stop if the weather’s less than perfect (but to be honest, my soft-play loving kids would probably have wanted to go in there even if it had been really sunny). Then there’s the huge maze, the Anglo Saxon village, the outdoor play area, rope swing of dreams and – last but not least – the terrifyingly high death slide.
After taking some obligatory photos next to the stunning wisteria (note to gardeners: the walled garden is very pretty and Instagrammable) we ventured into the Anglo Saxon village. It was great timing, as the NLM and I have just finished watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix, featuring many Saxon vs Viking feuds. Frog’s topic at school at the moment is Travel Through Time, so she really enjoyed seeing the village, although she couldn’t quite believe people actually lived in huts without proper windows and asked why Anglo Saxon children weren’t afraid of the dark. Always love the mind of a six year old.
Once they saw me put the NLM in the stocks, both girls obviously wanted a go too. Frog took these photos and they make me laugh – she’s developing a good eye for photos!
We weren’t organised enough to take a picnic so ate in the Coach House restaurant, which serves all the basics you’d expect – the kids had chicken nuggets while I had quiche and jacket potato. But, if the weather had been warmer and we’d got our act together then there are plenty of picnic spots dotted around the grounds.
The maze is a real show-stopper of a feature and would have been great fun had both kids not suddenly needed an urgent poo halfway around, when we were all completely and utterly lost. Isn’t parenting FUN sometimes?! I caught it all on camera, which you can see in the first half of my latest weekend vlog here:
After we’d had lunch we hit the death slide, which is an experience in itself. It was a great example of how different both my girls are. Frog was too nervous to go on it (fair enough – it is bloody high!) but Baby Girl was raring to get going and was furious at being told she was too small. The NLM is really scared of heights but was keen to show Frog there was nothing to worry about, a trait you’ve got to admire in a dad. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him do something so out of his comfort zone – which you can tell from my loud whoops on the video above.
The post-death slide jitters meant we all needed some calm, which we found in the beautiful meadow of bluebells on the way to the outdoor play area. We stopped here to take in the spectacular view across the fields, which gave me one of those pinch-yourself moments. Devon, you are a beauty.
We finished the day with loads of playing. First the rope swing, then the outdoor play area and, finally the trampoline. The girls were so exhausted from the trip they both fell asleep as soon as we got in the car, which is always the sign of a good day out, I reckon.
It was a brilliant day and we’ll definitely be back to visit another time. Remember, if you’re planning a visit then make sure to leave yourself enough time to see and do everything!
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