Category Archives: animals

Following cows at Open Farm Sunday

Sunday was a glorious day and perfect for the annual Open Farm Sunday. It has been running for 10 years and is a fab event where farmers get to open their gates to the general public. I thought we’d just get to have a walk around the farm looking at animals, but to our delight it was so much more.

There were lots of farms to choose from that were open in the Peak District, we headed to Flagg Hall a 350 cow grazing based dairy farm who supply milk to Arla.

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Looking towards Flag

On arrival we found out that a tour of the farm was about to start, which is where the proper adventure began! Rusty, the farmer, told us about different feed the cows have and then we started our walk out of the farm building area and into the fields. He had a strange contraption with him which was used to measure grass – it has to be the right length!

Walking on through the fields, it was beautifully warm with the sun shining on us. There was a light breeze and all around we could see field after field of shades of green. Gosh, we live in a beautiful place.

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On our walk to the cows

Rusty and his friends were happy to chat as we walked towards the cows, which were a few fields away. E bounced excitedly along asking questions about the farm, cows and lots of WHY? It was great to see her enjoying herself, I was worried she’d not be interested as she can’t drink cows milk.

When we arrived at the field full of cows, all the visitors stood in a line and helped make sure the cows went the right way. As we waited for the cows to get themselves organised, I told E about her family farming history, her great great grandparents owned a dairy farm and her great grandmother has told us wonderful stories of when she was a little girl delivering milk all around Plymouth “I remember when this was all fields”…

All we needed was one cow to start on the path to the farm and the rest would follow… eventually after some expert yelling from Rusty one cow headed through the gate and the rest followed – moooooing away!

We watched the  cows heading down the path, snaking in a long line, all walking by themselves. It was a surprising sight, I didn’t quite know what to expect – more herding I guess – the cows definitely knew where they were going.

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Long cow trail

We followed behind, trying to avoid the smelly poo glistening in the sunshine. It was a sticky walk, but much better than being in front at the cows chasing us along.

Back at the farm we were able to go and watch the milking in action. As a breastfeeding mum who has used a breast pump it was fascinating – I’d love to get that much milk out in a few minutes!

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Milking time

After milking time we pottered around the farm a bit more, taking in sheep shearing, some stern looking bulls, relaxed over a cream tea (yum) and picked up an Arla goody bag with stickers, children’s activity sheets and free milk.

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Watching sheep shearing
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A serious looking bull

It was a mooovellous afternoon, make a note in your diary for next year, we’ll be going again.

Here’s to our next adventure!

Michelle x

 

 

 

The Deep (Hull) – Review

The other weekend we took a road trip to Hull to see some family and it was also an opportunity to visit The Deep.

My hometown is Plymouth, home of the National Marine Aquarium. We had planned to visit when we were there at Christmas time but didn’t get a chance, so needed a fish fix! I’ve grown up in seaside towns and miss sea air (nothing quite like it), waves and the sound of the sea. A trip to Hull and The Deep seemed the perfect antidote.

Having two young ones, even though it’s only a two hour drive away, we decided to stay at a Premier Inn in Hull. It’s quite a new one and were impressed (as ever) with the warm welcome, friendly staff and nice clean room. The bonus was parking on site and the location meant a short walk to The Deep or into Hull city centre.

On the Sunday, after a filling breakfast at Wetherspoons (where I booked the tickets online to save a few pounds), we managed to get to The Deep about 1030. The queue was quite long to get in, but only took about 5 minutes to wait. Whilst waiting we were given a form to fill in to sign up for gift aid and that meant we could return, for free, for a whole year. Not bad.

You have to travel to the top of the building to start the journey, the beginning bit toddler E wasn’t that bothered about, it talks about the creation of the earth, dinosaurs and oceans. She was more interested in getting to see some live fish!

Next we walked through to the Lagoon of Light where children could crouch down and watch the fish swimming about underwater or look over the tank, teeming with hundreds of fish. The shallow tank meant E could compare the view looking under water or from above – quite intriguing. We arrived just as there was a Touchpool session where you can get up close with creatures from the British isles shores. It was incredibly popular, but the guide organised us so every child (and interested adult) got to touch the animals. I carried toddler E and after showing her that mummy could touch a creature without losing a limb, she stroked a starfish and some crabs – rather cool!

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The Lagoon

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We continued to walk around, toddler E loved the large tanks of fish as she (sometimes) could get right up to the tanks to have a look. She was so excited, with her face beaming and shouting mummy or daddy if we didn’t walk quickly enough to see the latest animal she had found. In comparison, Baby A was non-plussed, she snoozed throughout the whole outing.

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There were lots of other exhibits to see; ants crawling along a long rope overhead; an ice wall (easy to miss in the Kingdom of Ice corridor), super fast penguins (spot the blurry penguin in the picture) and some bright, colourful, deadly small frogs. A great range of interesting animals to see, but also lots of ‘informative’ exhibits which E just ran straight past. We would have preferred more animals!

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Near the end there was also a soft play area, it was supposed to be limited to ten children but was heaving, so we walked on.

At the end there are two ways out going up past a huge 10 metre high tank; via a glass fronted lift or walking up stairs. There was a big queue for the glass elevator so we chose the stairs. Though the elevator is rather cool, if you go up the stairs you stop after each flight and can look into the tank – much more time to admire the fish! E was fascinated as you started looking at fish above you, then on the same level, then looked down and then the top of the water. Our favourites were the rays and the tanks biggest inhabitant, the sawfish.

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We had considered going to The Deep’s cafe, but it was packed, so we walked back to the Premier Inn and had a quiet coffee in their lounge.

Looking at the brochure afterwards, we managed to see everything – in only 1 and a half hours. I’d have expected to be there for much longer, but with an excited toddler it didn’t take that long. I was glad we hadn’t made a special trip just to go there for the day.

It was good The Deep, we’ll visit again when we’re next in Hull – great for a morning or afternoon – just don’t expect to spend the whole day.

Here’s to our next watery adventure!