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Places to visit

The un-spoilt natural wonder of Klive Beach, Somerset

Every Sunday we are going to try as a family to go out exploring more of the beautiful countryside that we now reside so close too in Somerset.

Waking up on Sunday morning I had my doubts that we would make it out to explore this weekend as it had rained the whole day before and we were all feeling exhausted from the busy week we had just had. The weather was looking cold and overcast although the rain was not forecasted until the late afternoon.

I was going to use the miserable weather as an excuse for a duvet day  so I could relax and read my book while the girls played in with there lego.

My partner however had different ideas. Sundays are his only day from work and as he works away for the week so he wanted to go out on a family outing.

After looking through Google for places to visit he stumbled across a beach not far from us that is renowned for finding fossils. Having been to the Jurassic coast in Dorset before and had no luck finding anything that even remotely resembles a fossils I was a bit sceptical but was happy to go along for a day trip.

I knocked up a quick pack lunch for the 5 of us, grabbed my camera and put the welly’s in the car and off we set on another adventure.

From us to Kilve beach the Sat Nav took us down all the country lanes, having only moved to Somerset 5 months ago from Surrey we are all still getting used to these narrow country lanes. Although the lanes did make me feel a bit queasy the views were beautiful. Field upon field of unspoilt beauty with sheep, cows and horses all dotted along and every so often you pass through a lovely little villages containing houses with thatched roofs and period stone built cottages.

As we entered in to the small picturesque village of Kilve and followed the white hand painted sign to the beach. We travelled down a beautiful country lane past a church and a lovely stone built house up to the remains of a very old church that is being held up by steel rods. The lane takes you into a small pay and display car park that is very reasonably priced even more so when we visited as the pay and display machine was out of order.

Next to the car park is an idyllic stream trickling its way down through the banks and off through the fields. There is a little bridge leading to a small hut where the toilets are located. In front are two public footpaths leading across fields of green and up onto the beach. We took the path on the left which lead us up the hill.

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Once we had made it to the top we finally set our eyes on the hidden gem that is Klive Beach. Tucked away in a cove of eroding hills is the unspoilt wonder, full of rock pools and streams and huge rocks. The tide was out when we arrived leaving us with a vast rocky area to explore. 

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As soon as we set foot on this vast boulder field of a beach we were finding huge fossils imprinted everywhere, the girls were amazed and so ecstatic every time they found one. We were all walking heads down turning over rocks and stone trying to find a bigger and better fossil than the last.

 All the fossils we did find were on huge rocks so unfortunately we couldn’t take any with us as a keepsake but I had the camera so we took photos as evidence of our finds.

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We walked up the beach and found a path leading up a small hill with a little bench at the top looking out over the sea. After all the fossil hunting we decided this would be a great spot for lunch. From Kilve you can see Minehead off to the left and make out the big white tent of Butlins even on a dull grey day and also Wales off in the distance.

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After our lunch break we headed back to the beach where the girls discovered tiny shells in abundance which they then decided to switch from fossil hunting to shell collecting. The girls soon discovered the Limpets when they tried to pick the shell of the rocks with no luck. We had to explain that there were creatures living inside the shell still. In their search for shells they discover a few limpets with no shell. It is the first time I had seen this before and when we felt them they were like jelly cubes and were a deep ruby red in colour.

We then trailed off down the beach overshadowed by the huge serrated cliffs. The girls discovered a wide flat part of the beach with no rocks or stones but lovely flat sand. They had great fun running around on what they called ‘quicksand’ as their welly boots were sticking as they ran.

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After a few hours of this amazing beach we headed off to the car already vowing to come back again one day hopefully with warmer weather. We had all Sercombe to the charm and uniqueness of Klive beach. It is so nice to see a beach that has not been spoilt by commercialism with everyone trying to cash in on a natural wonder.  

However this was nearly not the case as in 1924 it was discovered that the shale found in the cliffs was rich in oil and Dr Forbes-Leslie founded the shaline company to start extracting these precious oils. He had a red brick retort built but was unable to raise the rest of the capital to carry on the project. The retort still stands by the carpark today as a sorry reminder of what was not meant to be.

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All in all we had an amazing day out even with the cold damp day and it only cost us the fuel to get there and if the car parking meter was working a couple of pounds to park. I would highly recommend this beach to anyone looking for a day of exploring and wanting to find some fossils. 

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Parenting Advice Places to visit

The fun that can be had in open spaces

Nowadays there are so many different activity places available to take children to. You have soft plays, parks, farms (most are more play centres now than animals) and theme parks. 

Do we really need to take children to these places to have a good time?

Today my girls and I had one of the best days so far of the summer holidays and we achieved this by visiting Epsom Downs which is a wide open field in between the famous race course. 

We arrived at midday and the place was near enough empty. We started off by having a lovely picnic. 

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My girls had brought with them a frisbee and some tennis rackets to play with.  They were all so happy with the freedom to run about and hit the ball as hard as they liked without it going over a fence or landing in the road.

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We ended up staying there playing for over 3 hours. We played frisbee, tennis, I.T, stuck in the mud, handstand and cartwheel competitions, granny’s footsteps (the girl’s taught me this game it is a bit like what’s the time Mr wolf) and running races. 

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It was amazing how much fun we had from an empty field and the best thing it cost nothing! We already had the frisbee and tennis rackets and we just bought the sandwiches that we would have eaten at home anyway.

It was so great to see the kids making their own fun and I got to join in, unlike when we visit places especially designed for children where it is normally me sitting on the side watching them play. We received loads of fresh air and exercise and had a great enjoyable day. We would have stayed a lot longer but ran out of water and it was a very hot day.

Our open spaces are slowly disappearing and as we saw for ourselves not that many people use them which is such a shame as there is so much fun that can be had when using them. As a parent you can let your children run free without worrying as much as you would in a busy place.

*Edit* We still to this day enjoy visiting open spaces the only thing that has changed is instead of a frisbee and tennis racket we now have a football that is always in the back of the car and I have just bought a rounders set.

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Why not also read my other posts –

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Giant Bubble Fun

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Places to visit

Our day out at Dover Castle

We recently took a family day out to visit the beautiful Dover Castle. It really is one of Britain’s national treasures, even Hitler had his sights set on the castle itself.

This is the reason the castle survied unscathed through World War 2 when the rest of Dover was badly hit as Hitler ordered for it to be left alone as he wanted to take it over for himself. 

Dover castle stands proud on its iconic hill overlooking the historic port and out on to the English Channel. The castle was built to impress, even the drive up to the castle is dramatic as you sweep up the step circling hill to reach the entrance. 

There is so much to do and see on this English Heritage site, it makes a great day out for children too as there are lots of activities for children and facilities for families.

We visited the two museums that are on site one that has the history of the castle and the monarchy of England and the other museum was The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Museum. Both of these were jam packet full of information and had interactive games for the children to play with allowing them to take in some of the history in bite size portions.

The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Museum has tons of war paraphernalia some as far back as World War 2 and the Cold War. There was even tributes to soldiers who had lost their lives in the recent war in Afghanistan. The museum had a vast array of war medals and official hats worn by the regiment throughout the years which made it a very interesting place to visit.

The remains of the light house that still stands at Dover Castle was built by the Roman’s and is the oldest standing lighthouse in the country and one of the oldest in the world. It is built directly next to the Anglo-Saxon church.

We visited the Castle on a Sunday morning and as the church is still in use there was a church service going on. The big doors at the back of the church were left wide open so we could peak in to the see. At the time we were there the parishioners were all in full singing mood which bought the church to life with the beautiful harmony’s reflecting from the stone walls. 

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The main part of the Castle is called ‘The Great Tower’ however in my opinion the word ‘Great’ just does not do it justice. It is stupendous with its sheer size and grandeur.

As you walk through the rooms you discover bit by bit the depth of the castle as it slowly reveals itself to you. It measures 100 feet in each direction with corner turrets and passages throughout. There are vast rooms spread out over 3 floors and a roof terrace on top.

English heritage has done a spectacular job of recreating the medieval time period with authentic replicas that you can see and touch. You do get the feeling of being transported back in time. We were lucky to have attended on a day that they had costumed actors roaming round and playing instruments from the time period to really bring the castle to life.

In the castle you will find throne chairs that you are allowed to sit on and take pictures, replica swords, shields and chain mail that you can pick up and try on giving you the true sense of what it would have been like to wear them into war. The chainmail in particular had me amazed the sheer weight of it was unbelievable I am astonished how anyone managed to wear it let only be able to fight in it.  

You can access the rooftop terrace where there is a breathtaking view of Dover, you can see the white cliffs and the port from there. For the children this was the main talking part of the trip being on top of the world. The stairs to get to the top are big stone steps but are very wide so are accessible for young children. Even if you are carrying them up to the top you can go up a floor at a time and explore the rooms on each floor before reaching the top so as not to have to carry them up numerous flights of stairs in one go.

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Outside you can walk around the grounds and follow the walls around the outskirts which has replica cannons and aircraft rifles which my girls enjoyed and pretend to shoot the ‘Pirates’ out to sea.

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The Castle has some lovely cafes that serve a selection of hot meals, sandwiches and mouth watering cakes. If you didn’t want to purchase food there is plenty of space on the grounds that you could sit and eat your own picnic. They do have an ice cream stall that you can treat the kids to and a gift shop.

Once we had thought that we had seen all that Dover castle had to offer we were stunned to find that underneath was a vast tunnel system.

To see the tunnels there is two guided tours that you can take one is called Operation Dynamo which is 45 minutes long and the other is a tour of the underground hospital. The Operation Dynamo tour takes you down below where they once used these tunnels as a command centre to put into action the safe withdrawal of troops from Dunkirk. The tour does not involve too much walking so young children will be fine and I think you can take pushchairs in there. The slope on the way down is steep and a bit slippery but the rest of the tour is on the flat surfaces.

During the videos that they show on this tour there are a few images of the war that children may find upsetting and the tunnels are quite dark when the lights turn off before the videos come on so be wary if taking small children on the tour. In saying that my 8, 6 and 4 year old were all fine and found it an enjoyable experience.

Dover castle turned out to be an amazing family day out for us all. Our day was packed full of fun and adventure and best of all our girls got to learn about History first hand. I would highly recommend a visit if you are near Dover.

We are English heritage members which is well worth the subscription. The price for us alone to have gone to Dover castle for the day is £52.50 with gift aid (which is definitely worth the money if you don’t have membership), this cost is over half of what you would pay for the annual joint membership. So even if you went to the same site twice you would have made the membership worth the while. English heritage do own over 400 sites across the UK to visit so it is well worth getting the membership. 

Why not take a look at my other posts –

English Heritage Annual Passes are They Worth it

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.