During the half term holidays we stayed at Andrewshayes Holiday Park for a short break and I was keen to explore the local area.
One place to visit that was recommended to me was Wildwood Escot, set just 15 minutes away in Ottery St Mary.
Wildwood Escot is home to a wonderful collection of native and formerly native wildlife, a fascinating Saxon village, a rather tricky beech hedge maze and lots of woodland paths to explore with fun parks to play in and fallen trees to climb, perfect for my adventure loving kids.
When we arrived we were given a map and the times of activities that would be hosted throughout the day and set off in search of some animals, meeting our first just outside the door.
There were several peacocks roaming the grounds who didn’t seem phased by the kids who were running around among them. Sadly we didn’t get a full feather display, but we did get to admire them at close range.
Wildwood Escot has a main pathway which runs around the grounds and then lots of smaller winding pathways which head into 200 acres of stunning woodland with animals dotted around every corner including lynx, wild boar and birds of prey . One of our favourites had to be the Otter who seemed very happy to see us.
The one animal we were really looking forward to seeing was the red squirrel. We have them locally on Brownsea Island but they are very shy creatures and therefore difficult to see. At Wildwood Escot they have 5 squirrels who live in a specially adapted area and do talks at 11am each day.
The talk was informative and aimed perfectly at the children and the keeper had some nuts with her to coax the squirrels closer. She let the squirrels know she was here with a clicker and it wasn’t long before one, Bramble, appeared.
She darted around our feet, much to the kids delight and then ran off to hide her nutty prize several times. Although we only saw one red squirrel it was a real treat.
Once the talk had finished and the kids had finished asking questions we headed back into the park, eager to find Edcott, their Anglo-Saxon village.
At weekends and during the school holidays it comes to life with a working forge, woodwork and the opportunity to also make your own Saxon penny but the kids were more than happy to investigate everything it had to offer on their own.
Next to Escott was the beech hedge maze and like all good explorers we got ourselves helplessly lost.
After finding our way out…….eventually, we carried on exploring and found some fabulous trees to climb…..
…..alongside a fun frame to pose in and have our photo’s taken.
Activities in the park are quite spread out and we found an indoor soft play area and a death slide on our way around it, meaning there are places to hide if the weather turns.
Sebby’s favourite area was the pirate themed play area, where he was in his element playing pirates with his brother and sister!
Excitingly they have just introduced a pack of wolves to Wildwood Escot, but they are currently settling into their new environment so we didn’t get to see them, but contented ourselves with the wild boar and birds of prey.
Wildwood Escott is the perfect blend of education and fun and I would love to return in the school holidays to see the activities we missed.