Sometimes I have an inkling of an idea but just don’t know how to take it forwards. For some time now I have been seeing posts pop up on Country Kids of families enjoying nature trails at National Trust properties and as a forest blogger I love the Gruffalo Trails from the Forestry Commission. The idea of trails has even hit London with the Paddington Bear Trail. Every time I see one of these posts I think to myself that there must be a way of recreating this family fun within the 30 acres of Coombe Mill. A chance to take our holidaymakers off the beaten trail, to lead them into the wilder areas of the estate in addition to the well trodden paths and create a wilderness trail. I see it being a perfect fill in those odd afternoons when popping out between the showers for a breath of fresh air is needed by everyone or filling in a summer evening with the children before bedtime.
I was voicing my frustration on how best to bring the idea to life with Farmer Nick on a trip to the shops whilst searching for new dinnerware and glasses for the properties when we stumbled over the answer. Away from the kitchenware down in the gardening section of Trago Mills we found a delightful array of ornamental wildlife. I snapped away on my phone and sent a photo through to Instagram & Facebook with a rough outline of an idea.
This seemed to get the thumbs up and we already had the crocodile and a flamingo in the lake to start us off. The crocodile has always been a firm favourite with the guests who regularly point to it on their first tractor ride around the lake.
Returning the following day to collect the new dishwasher we had ordered for Water Mill Cottage we purchased a range of the wildlife we know can be spotted at Coombe Mill. Now I plan to find suitable places around the farm where you might find the real animal or bird and place the ornamental ones there, or rather ask Farmer Nick to secure them there. We wasted no time in having a little play with some options. The fox certainly had our chickens running and a few of you guessing in my last post!
My next challenge is to create a printable Coombe Mill illustrative map, something fun rather like a treasure map that indicates roughly which areas of the farm the wildlife may be found. If I then upload this to the website and leave printed copies in reception I think I will have created my very own Coombe Mill Wildlife Hunt.
A Work in progress Wildlife Trail Map for Coombe Mill
If you have any further thoughts on how I can evolve this plan please let me know. for now I am delighted to finally be getting this plan off the ground, in some cases quite literally....
I hope to have the wildlife challenge fully assembled by the time we open again for February half term and will be testing it for activity hour that week. If you are staying with us this year, do give it a go and keep a look out for the live equivalent of our ornamental wildlife. I often listen to the owls in the trees behind our house at night.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.