Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

Turning Disappointment into Adventure

Last Sunday was the triplet’s birthday party. We had plenty of outdoor fun lined up with some fun organised games, plenty of Pizza at the triplets request and I had made and iced a huge cake. The sky was looking heavy, the forecast was poor and drizzle was in the air but we had other priorities first thing as our first ever farm triplets had just been born! In view of this we waited until the end of the morning tractor feed run before finally calling round to postpone the party in light of the continuing rain. The triplets were understandably disappointed and I wanted to do something fun to brighten the day for them, not least because the sun was now peeping through the clouds and laughing at us.

Remembering a recent conversation with a friend about an amazing graffiti wall inside the old closed down Wenford Driers along the Camel Trail I suggested a Sunday walk. This was not met with any enthusiasm until I suggested they take their new birthday Penny boards, roller skates and that there was an amazing graffiti wall in a secret place we were going to visit.

Theo and Jed cycled off to Nick’s shed and returned triumphant wielding 2 cans of spray paint left from creating last year’s Carnival float! I had to admire their thought process and packed the cans for them forgetting to mention they were empty!

Theo finding spray paint

We parked up on the trail just a mile from Coombe Mill. It would have been easily walkable but very hilly and not suitable with the boards and skates.

There is a new cafe there with all sorts of tempting treats, bike hire and even a kids corner, a perfect way to start or end your journey. We had birthday treats at home so didn’t indulge on this occasion but will be back.

Wenford Bridge Snails Pace Cafe & Bike Hire


The children immediately began skating in earnest, laughing and racing each other.


Penny boards & Roller Boots on the Camel Trail

A muddy puddle from the rain earlier was a magnet for some Penny Board fun.

Puddles & Pennyboards on the Camel Trail

In no time we were alongside the old driers. These dried clay from Stannon China Clay pits up on Bodmin Moor, somewhere we visited on bikes last year. The clay came by pipe through Coombe Mill and on downhill to Wenford Bridge where it was dried into clay blocks and finally loaded on goods trains for Padstow for export, until the famous Beeching cuts closed all the small lines in the 1960s. Then it travelled by lorry to Fowey or for the UK market. It is the old railway line that now forms the 17 miles of Camel Trail cycle way from Wenford Bridge to Padstow. The driers were operating right up until 2002, the year we moved to Coombe Mill. 


history of Wenford Driers


Now they are listed buildings sadly going to ruin and fenced off. The children found a gap in the fence they could hop over and I followed them. Now we were on an adventure. Jumping up to the first level the teens then helped the triplets and me up. Nick of course had found a much easier route which didn’t require any clambering!


Adventurers at Wenford Bridge


Inside was vast, as we moved from chamber to chamber the scale of the building became apparent. It is rumoured to be the longest building in Europe!


Exploring Wenford Driers


It took us a while of passing less than impressive spray painting before we found the walls we were searching for.  I have to say it really was incredible. Truly works of art and on a scale so large it is hard to convey.

Graffiti at Wenford Bridge Driers

Even if you didn’t approve of all the content!

 Shocking Farmer Nick


Having gawped and admired the children remembered the cans they brought and were only momentarily sad to discover they were empty; I was quite proud of not mentioning it before and having a teen sulk on my hands. As it was they were so fascinated with everything they found from the art work to understanding the history that the fact they were unable to leave their own mark was soon overlooked. I know we weren’t really supposed to be there, but that added to the adventure and we certainly weren’t the first! 



I love this photo of Nick explaining the history of the driers to the oldest boys on the journey back.


Explaining the history of the Wenford Driers

All in all a day rescued from doom and gloom with Pizza and birthday cake for tea! Hopefully next week I will be telling the tale of the triplet’s party having baked another cake!

Joining in with Country Kids 

If you have been enjoying the great outdoors with the children recently please come and join the Country Kids linky. Country Kids is all about spending some quality time with the children away from all screens and sofas. Get active and get outdoors. Adventures, crafting, learning and playing from the garden to the beach are all welcome. Please add the badge or a link back here and take a look at some of the other posts. Country Kids is a lovely growing and friendly community built on inspiration from one another, please help support this. 

A few of my favourites from last week:

I love the Easter happiness in the photos from Emily Beal Photography from their family meet up, the scavenger hunt from Daisy Broomfield and forest school experience from Chelsea Mamma

An activity based Easter from Touchline Dad kept the kids away from screens while Mummy Constant took the Family to a National Trust Abbey for some Easter Fun

No one translates a book into a real life adventure quite like Mummy Mishaps. Who wouldn’t adore this Bear Hunt?

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall