Thursday 13 June 2013

A day out at Dinefwr Park and Castle.

As I believe in a natural childhood with playing in the great outdoors being an integral part of growing up I was keen to keep having outdoors with Bug and encourage him to complete tasks from the 50 Things list.  With an action plan arranged to get Bug started on his #50 things adventure, Bug and I recently headed to a National Trust property to set about get at least 1 thing ticked off of his 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ list of challenges. 

After browsing the National Trust Wales website for the perfect property to get Bug started on his #50 things adventure I thought I had found the perfect place that would allow us the chance to at least complete 1 of the tasks.

With a number of spare hours and the car at our disposal Bug and I headed to Dinefwr Park and Castle in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.  

As we headed off from home the sun was shining beautifully in the blue sky and I had high hopes of a relaxing, fun filled day in the sunshine, exploring the 12-century Welsh castle, historic house and 18th century landscape park that encloses a medieval deer park.

As soon as we started down the long winding country lane towards Dinefwr Park and Castle I was impressed with the gorgeous surroundings and the beautiful views all around us.  After parking up Bug and I headed to the visitor centre which was decorated with ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ bunting.  After speaking to the friendly National Trust employee about our hopes to complete a 50 things task she provided us with a ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ scrapbook for Bug to record his adventures.  Having never been to the property before I also asked her advice regarding where to go at the property that would be best for Bug with him being 2 years old.  I was a tad disappointed when she said that in her opinion most of the walks were too long for Bug and she simply advised us to have a look around the house and its grounds.

Before heading out to take a look around the place I grabbed a number of information leaflets about the various walks at Dinefwr Park and Castle with the intention of attempting at least 1 of the walks.  As Bug is used to long country walks, with most of walks being around 3 miles long, I thought that a short walk with him would be no problem.

Following the suggestion of the National Trust employee I thought we would start by taking a little walk up to the house and stroll around the garden where I was told there were fountains that Bug would enjoy.

Bug was delighted at being able to run around and in his giddiness and glee at racing around outside he was not the least bit interested in having a look inside the house and to be honest in his hyper state I doubt I would have been able to appreciate the historic house anyway.

At the rear of the historic house is a decent sized garden with gravel pathways, areas of grass and plants. 

In the centre of the garden was an impressive fountain, however I was a tad disappointed as I had assumed that there would be a working fountain with water flowing which I think would have looked even more impressive.

From the garden in the very far distance we could just about see the deer that were sat in the shade under the trees.  To would perhaps been able to see the Deer Park better if we had gone on the Oak Tree Walk.

Bug enjoyed racing around the garden, exploring the different pathways with his giggles and chitter chatter filling the air.

Our little visit was going well at that point, Bug was enjoying the fresh air and being able to run around whilst I was content admiring the beautiful surroundings and seeing my little boy happy playing.

Just before I thought of heading off on one of the walks, with the Dragonfly Walk my chosen trek for a first attempt at a walk with Bug, a grandmother with her 2 year old granddaughter arrived at the garden and started chatting with us.  Of course there was no problem with her talking to us and that Bug and her granddaughter had a little natter but where the start of the end of our lovely day began was when Bug noticed that the little girl had a trike that she was riding.  With Bug starting to get grumpy over the fact that he did not have a trike to ride I decided to say our goodbyes and head off on our walk.

As we left the historic house Bug was intrigued by the stone walls surrounding the grounds of the house and loved running up and down the small slope.

Along the way to the star of the Dragonfly Walk we passed the herd of pedigree White Park Cattle grazing in the field next to the fence.  Bug loved the big white park cattle and happily waved at them to say ‘hello’. 

The rare white park cattle were beautiful with impressive horns.

As we were admiring the remarkable white cattle? The grandmother and her granddaughter who was riding her trike stopped next to us to look at the cattle.  Our new friends only stopped briefly and then headed off with the grandmother pushing her granddaughter on the trike.  As they walked away Bug got very upset, again wanting his own little trike to ride on.  Poor little Bug could not understand why the little girl had a trike and he did not have one.  He got very angry and upset.    With his tantrum in full swing I headed back to the car to attempt to settle my screaming Bug, in the hope that he would calm down once he was away from the temptation of a trike.

Thankfully once we were back at the car he soon calmed down so I decided to attempt to rescue the day and start off with a cold drink from the café trailer in the car park before going on a walk.  After having a drink we started off on the walk and all was going well until Bug caught sight of the trike from afar and with another temper tantrum boiling away I decided to call it a day and head from there as Bug was no longer in the mood to enjoy the surroundings and attempt a 50 Things adventure.  There was a silver lining to the dark cloud that had descended on our day, as we left we saw some very cute sheep lazing in the shade of a beautiful tree.

Even though our day at Dinefwr Park and Castle was not the day I hoped for and ended in a very upset Bug it was a stunning place set in beautiful surroundings.  I will most definitely be going there again with Bug and hopefully next time we will be able to bring daddy along with us too for a family day out.

I think Dinefwr Park and Castle is a perfect place to complete a number of the 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ adventures and I look forward to returning there over the years to watch Bug accomplish a number of the adventures from the 50 Things list in the gorgeous landscape park.

According to the National Trust website there are a number of 50 Things adventures children can complete at Dinefwr Park and Castle.  Dinefwr’s top 5 from the 50 Things list are - 

*  Look inside a tree
*  Track wild animals
*  Climb a huge hill
*  Make a grass trumpet
*  Roll down a really big hill

More information about the 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ and National Trust Wales.


*  We were kindly provided 2 family passes to National Trust Wales properties of our choosing to help Bug make a start on his #50things *

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