Family fun this half term in Devon with the National Trust
Tree trails, bug boxes and stick activities are among the special eventsby Ginette Davies
It can be difficult to find ways to entertain the children during the half term, especially if you don't want to spend a fortune.
However Devon has plenty of plenty of historic sites and beautiful stately homes to visit, where there are additional fun activities taking place during school holidays.
The National Trust runs events throughout the holidays, offering youngsters a chance to be inspired by the Tudors, get active and have a go at crafts.
For just £10 a month you could take out family membership with free access to all the sites across the UK, as well as use of all the National Trust car parks to explore nature at its best.
This means you can also attend the special events (although there may be a small additional cost for some).
Once the holiday home of author Agatha Christie and her family, this is a chance to take a glimpse into their lives.
The exterior includes a walled garden with peach house and vinery and an allotment cared for by local school children, a woodland which leads towards the Dart estuary, boathouse and a battery with cannon.
Greenway is the first National Trust property (and only one of seven locations in the UK) to gain accreditation as a garden of excellence by the International Camellia Society.
This half term you can pick up a trial, either the archaeology trail for older kids or the animal themed spotter trail for little ones.
You can discover the trees and plants that previous owners have introduced from around the world into the garden.
How to sign up to the National Trust
The National Trust looks after more than 500 places across the UK which includes some of the best beaches, parks, forests and wildlife areas in the country.
For a monthly or yearly fee you can enjoy as much of it as you like when becoming a National Trust member.
Individual memberships are priced at:
- Adults (aged 26 and over) - £69 a year, or £5.75 a month
- Young person (aged 18-25) - £34.50 a year
- Junior (aged 0-17) - £10 a year
Here's what you get:
- Free entry to over 500 special places
- Free parking at most National Trust car parks
- National Trust Handbook full of ideas to help you plan a visit
- National Trust Magazine sent to you three times a year
- Regular newsletters sent straight to your inbox
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This castle is, in fact, only 100 years old. It is unique - designed by one of the greatest architects of the day, Edwin Lutyens, the genius behind the Viceroy’s Palace in New Delhi and the Cenotaph, and built as an ancestral family home for Julius Drewe, the founder of ‘The Home and Colonial Stores’ who retired a millionaire aged just 33.
Inside there are installations sharing the untold stories of Castle Drogo, the family that lived here and displaying the collection in different ways.
The nature trail will take you through the garden and grounds learning about new ways to help look after the world around us.
On Sunday 16 from 11am until 3pm you can join the Wild Tribe in the activity hut for bushcraft activities for children aged between 5-12. This is a drop in event and is free on admission.
Take part in a 50 things stick trail with a range of stick-based activities for all the family including pooh sticks on the suspension bridge, create a story stick of your day and look out for stick creatures on route to the Whitelady Waterfall.
The trail will be running 10am-3pm every day.
You can also build your own bird box with materials and guidance provided by the ranger team along with information on the best place to put it up in your garden.
From noon until 2pm on Tuesday you can have fun with fire - lighting one fire without matches and then mixing up some tasty dough to cook on it.
You can make a bug home out of natural materials on Friday at 11.30am and 1.30pm or on Saturday you can take part in an apple pruning workshop with the orchard team.
The session will cover some of the theory of different apple pruning techniques and then let you get hands on with the trees in the orchard to practice using different tools. Booking is essential.
The tree trail is available for £1 and you can identify those on site. It runs from 10am until 4pm and you can also find out how the trust cares for the house and which beasties live in the house and garden.
Find out more about the birds that live at Arlington with the bird trail, which costs £1 and includes a bird themed prize.