Wild Ideas for Family Fun This Autumn


Half-term is looming, but what to do with the kids while Covid restrictions remain in place? Here are some low-cost fun ideas from Exmoor National Park to keep the kids safe and entertained this Autumn. All our pocket guides are free from National Park Centres in Lynmouth, Dunster and Dulverton and can be downloaded on our website. Always check the latest information before you travel to help plan your visit.

Get Quizzical. Discover hidden corners of Exmoor as you navigate your way around the BIG Exmoor quiz trail – choose your own route as you travel around 25 destinations, collecting answers as you go. Head to one of our National Park Centres if you need a clue or to collect your certificate on completion!

Go on a nature walk. From roaring red deer stags to fascinating fungi, nuts and seeds, Autumn on Exmoor is as varied as it is atmospheric. Download the iNaturalist app free on your mobile phone and search for ‘Exmoor Wild Watch’ to immediately have access to hundreds of local volunteers and experts who can help you identify anything you find. You can see wildlife almost anywhere on Exmoor, but for starters try Watersmeet, Porlock Marsh, Tarr Steps or Wimbleball Lake. For more tips and advice check out our Exmoor WildWatch page, where you can download a free spotter guide.

Try stargazing. Exmoor's night skies are some of the darkest in the world, thanks to its official status as a protected Dark Skies Reserve. Our Dark Skies Festival may be nearly sold out, but you can still take advantage of the earlier night fall to take the kids on a starry night adventure. Good spots include County Gate, Brendon Two Gates, Webbers Post, Haddon Hill and Wimbleball Lake. For more tips pick up a Dark Skies Pocket Guide.

Hug England’s tallest tree. Exmoor's 9,375 hectares of woodland provide ample opportunity to connect with nature and are wonderful to visit in Autumn. Head to Nutcombe Bottom, near Dunster, to track down a record-breaking Douglas Fir that has gone down in history as England’s Tallest Tree and look up in wonder at these impressive giants. For more ideas pick up a Woodland Pocket Guide.

Summit Exmoor's highest point. With amazing views overlooking Devon, Somerset and across to Wales, and an easy-going ascent, Dunkery Beacon is a great location for all ages to experience the exhilaration of reaching a peak. Park at Dunkery Gate to follow the footpath 0.6 miles to the top, marked by a large cairn and plaque. Don’t forget to wrap up warm as the top is often breezy.

Go rockpooling. Exmoor’s coast, with its rocky beaches and spectacular tides, has some brilliant spots for rockpooling. The beaches at Lynmouth, Woody Bay and Coombe Martin are ideal spots and make sure you check out our virtual seashore safari, put together by rangers Rosie & Charlotte. Our Seashore Pocket Guide includes an identification chart showing all the creatures you might see.

Go crabbing. This favourite pastime has probably delighted children for centuries and Exmoor has no shortage of beautiful coastline on which to give it a try. Porlock Weir, with its 15th century harbour and stone jetty, along with local amenities, has all you need to enjoy this simple pleasure.

See a wild pony. Exmoor's ponies are free-roaming and can usually be found on any areas of high moorland, although Winsford Hill, Porlock Hill and Molland Moor are particularly good places to look. For a more hands-on experience try the Exmoor Pony Centre – all visits must be pre-booked.

Play pooh-sticks. On Exmoor you're never far from running water, so you don't have to stray far to find a quaint footbridge in a scenic spot - the ideal setting for this time-old game. Try the medieval stone Gallox bridge that crosses the river Avill in Dunster, follow the river Barle through Dulverton, or for more ideas pick up a Rivers and Streams Pocket Guide. Be aware that river levels on Exmoor can be extremely high after rainfall, so use caution and never enter fast-flowing water.

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Published: 22 October 2020

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