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!
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.
The children immediately began skating in earnest, laughing and racing each other.
A muddy puddle from the rain earlier was a magnet for some Penny Board fun.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Even if you didn’t approve of all the content!
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.
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!
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“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.