Originally posted 3 November 2017
How are you all? November has arrived and my brood and hubby are all back at school and work with 6 weeks to go until the next break (I know very well which holiday is approaching but I am hiding from it at the moment!). However, we are still living off the memories and feeling the benefits of a wonderful half term adventure spent in the beautiful medieval village of Dunster in West Somerset.
This is how we holiday:
Everyday we go out and about to explore our surroundings, usually on foot, come rain or shine. In our back packs, in addition to raincoats (we are realistic not pessimistic!), we pack a lunch of sandwiches, crisps (Oh my, crisps! They are my weakness!), plenty of water and treats to reward us all for climbing up a steep hill/reaching our destination/arriving at a viewing point/being brave when we fall or invariably getting stung by nettles/getting almost all the way home…you get the picture! We also pack a bag for possible foraged items, such as shells, interestingly shaped pebbles, chestnuts, pine cones, sticks etc. Oh and cameras, we always pack our cameras.
We do a little bit of planning before hand, occasionally we have an actual map with us, we always have a destination in mind, but we are flexible about where our journey takes us. We almost always remember the way back! We listen to the children chatter to us or amongst themselves along the way, sometimes we sing songs, we notice and point out things of interest, we smile and say hi to other explorers and there is always a little bit of bickering but a lot of silliness. In fact, the latter is obligatory. We come with a side order of silliness!
After a day of fresh countryside air, exercise and exploration, we arrive back exhausted but happy and revel in taking off our back packs, kicking off our shoes and hanging up our coats ready for the next day’s outing. We usually cook an easy dinner, often washed down with an alcoholic beverage for the parents only of course and we sleep really well.
So we did Dunster in the usual way, with the addition of two more lovelies for the first few days! Our eldest girl brought along two friends, who turned out to be game for holidaying our way, adding their own silliness to the mix! Such fun!
On the first morning, we popped out to say “Hi!” and “Gosh we are so glad to be back and boy how we’ve missed you!” to Dunster village…(Kelly, the cows with the white stripe down their backs are for you!)
In the afternoon, we went off in search of the tallest tree in England. We went through the village, up into the woods where the sun streamed through the canopy of trees overhead, lighting up the chestnut strewn forest floor. We admired the breathtaking views across the auburn tinged green hills and down into the valleys, hugged the resident bear, chatted to a local chap about the controversial selling off of part of the woods and some land nearby and we played hide and seek.
We gazed up to the top of the tallest tree in England, a douglas fir measuring 197ft and sat nearby to eat our lunch. The children sang and shouted to their heart’s content which, although not advisable if wildlife spotting is desired, was good for their wellbeing I am sure! Day one was finished off with a log fire back at the cottage. Sigh…
On the second day, we were very adventurous and walked all the way into Minehead, the long way round, to meet my Mum for a well earned lunch. We journeyed down and out of Dunster village, under the A39, along a stream and over a little bridge just right for a game of pooh sticks, across the railway tracks and along the road to the beach, stopping to wave and smile at the steam train as it chugged and tooted on it’s way.
We walked along the beach, past the beach huts and then the golf course. By this point we were running a little bit late and so it was the hubby and I who were shouting this time, urging the kids to “Come On!”. To be fair to them it was a long way but the teenagers impressed us by entertaining the younger ones and making it a much more ‘whinge-free’ adventure!
During our holiday, we stayed in a cosy cottage in Dunster village, with views of the historical buildings and shops of Dunster High Street, the medieval yarn market (exciting!), Dunster Castle car park (not so exciting, although we could mostly see trees!) and Conygar Tower, a grade II listed, hollow folly built in the mid 18th century. We discovered that Conygar Tower is a sort of beacon for the village, on account of it being visible from many different places in and around Dunster.
On day three, we decided we’d looked at and talked about Conygar Tower long enough, it was time to take the children to see this stunning structure. We took the long route of course, up past the community orchard and down, around and then up, way up to the tower, stopping along the way to ‘wow’ at the spectacular views.
The cylindrical folly was showing off it’s roofless, hollowness with shafts of light beaming in through the paneless windows creating shadows on the walls. Much fun was had larking about in and around the tower and yet more shouting ensued. What is it about open spaces and fresh air that makes the younger generation want to holler and howl?!…Oh ok, the adults joined in too!
What an amazing three days so far! Now days four and five were mainly spent in the grounds of Dunster Castle. If you have read this post, you will know that our visit to Dunster Castle about 5 years ago was the start of my love affair with the National Trust. So for this reason and because of the many, many photos I took, I will show off the special place it is with a separate post in a couple of weeks.
I am not forgetting day six. I could never forget day six. Day six deserves a blog post all of it’s own too. We ventured out to pastures new and so magical that I am still feeling that magic and the heart swelling emotion a week later and I am sure it is going to stay with me forever. Come back next week lovelies and I’ll tell you all about it!
Until then, take great care of yourselves and have a fab week.