During half term we visited the National Trust's Colby Woodland Gardens to take part in the "Survival" Activity.
It was "one of those days". We arrived slightly late due to half term lay ins, slow traffic and traffic lights. I packed my camera but not my memory card. I did consider turning the car around and driving home but thankfully, we arrived to cold rain but a warm reception and despite missing the start time the staff made us feel welcome and happily walked us down to the activity so I'm glad we persevered! Here are some phone snaps of our day.
After a quick recap with our leader, we wandered into the woods looking for materials to make our fire.
We learnt that instead of foraging for little bits of dry wood it is more energy efficient to find a dry branch off the ground, chop it off and carry it back to use the whole branch.
These energy saving tips are great for Danny as living with a heart condition he often has to think of ways to conserve his energy so he can manage to do all he wants to do (which is lots!).
We learnt how to use knifes safely.
We also collected some bark for kindling.
Back to the campfire and our leader demonstrated how we could start a fire using a bow drill or a flint.
As we regularly use a fire stick, Danny decided to try the bow drill method. It's not easy and requires a lot of patience. He is going to make his own bow drill to practise at home.
Rebecca found that dried hydrangeas can be used as fine tinder. We later saw the hydrangeas in the beautiful walled garden.
Danny eventually decided to use the faster fire stick method too.
He blew some air to help it burn.
At last we had fire.
As we only have a fire stick flint at home, Danny also wanted to try creating a spark with a knife and flint cooking knife. He has a long list of survival tools that he wants for his birthday!
As it was so cold and damp we were very grateful for all the fires to keep us warm.
Rebecca looking proud of her fire. Caitlyn lit a small fire too but Izzy stuck to collecting sticks and kindling for the fires.
After all that hard work it was time for a play on the rope swing.
I forgot to pack a flask and the cafe was closed so we went to explore the walled garden.
The Victoria Gothic inspired gazebo is quite stunning.
We spotted a robin.
The kids threw pennies into the wishing pond.
I love Caitlyn's face as Danny makes a jump!
The colours all year around at Colby are glorious.
The garden really highlighted the end of Winter and beginning of Spring with these dead leaves and new fresh daffodils.
This plaque is in memory of the late Cynthia Scourfield-Lewis, who, alongside her husband Tony, took on Colby Lodge and the walled garden in the 1970's. The garden was returned to the National Trust in 2010.
We usually spend all day at Colby Woodland Gardens as there is much more to explore. It was just one of those days where we were so wet and cold and couldn't warm up so we decided survival and the walled garden was enough for one morning. We drove back to a local pub for lunch!
I'm sure I'll give you a full tour (and video) of Colby Woodland Garden during the warmer weather!
Colby Woodland Garden is open 10 -5
Adults: £6.30 (£7 with Gift Aid)
Children: £3.15 (£3.50)
Family: £15.75 (17.50)
(free for National Trust members)
Postcode: near Amroth, Pembrokeshire, SA67 8PP
Parking is free but pay and display during Jan/Feb and Nov/Dec.