The Bear Trail
The kids and I were very excited to receive an invitation to the brand new Bear Trail, near Cullompton in Devon.
We were definitely looking forward to some outdoor fun and mud included in the deal.
The Bear Trail has only been open since 22 July and when we visited 3 weeks later they had already welcomed over 3000 people, many of them return visitors.
Run, jump, swing, balance, climb…
The trail is ideal for getting children outdoors, back to messing about in the fresh air and mud (which is optional).
GREAT FUN OUTDOORS
If you’ve ever seen or been involved in one of the extreme outdoor running events popular these days like Tough Mudder or Rock Solid, then this is that sort of thing. Owner Ben is ex-army, so think assault course for kids.
A series of obstacles that all ages can have a go at with help if needed. Mine went round twice without getting muddy then decided to go for it. There is a clean bark track for anyone wanting to avoid the mud. To be honest pictures definitely say more than words on this occasion, so take a look at the little video I took.
HAVE FUN ON
What to Wear:
Old clothes and old trainers or boots, or something you won’t need for a week while they dry out. No flip flops, except for adults not taking part! My eldest wore wellies but in the end went round in her socks, not sure that’s the best advice though.
I suggest that if you know your kids will want to get really muddy, they wear a swim suit or trunks underneath their normal clothes. The showers are communal and outside – more of a rinsing off station than anything (no shampoo or soap allowed) so if they have suitable things underneath they can strip off and get clean a bit better and not be too embarrassed. We were lucky as it was a sunny day, getting changed outside in the cold might not be such fun! Take an old towel and spare clean clothes (and don’t forget a carrier bag for the dirty stuff).
Food and drink
A big tick from me, the Bear Trail has proper coffee! A little hut serves decent coffee, tea, soft drinks and light lunches. The pizza oven was fired up (£5 -£6) and were tasty. The good news is it’s fine to take your own picnic, there are benches undercover and outside in the field, or plenty of space to spread out a rug. The car park is close so you can easily pop back to the car when you need to.
What age group is it for?
I’d say kids of all ages! If they are old enough to run and you can help then take them round the course then go. If they are 14 and still enjoy running, climbing and getting muddy and can be dragged away from a screen then take them, if you want to join in too then that’s fine. There is a small enclosed playground for toddlers with a sandpit, seesaw and roundabout.
How long do you need?
We were there about 3 hours and that was about right for 3 or 4 circuits round the obstacles, shower, lunch and the all important coffee for me. Apparently that’s about the average time people stay. Do you need to book? No, but it is advisable. As we all know, queuing is not fun, and the Bear Trail have decided to limit numbers each day to make sure kids are not hanging around waiting for the next obstacle. Pretty sensible I’d say – we’ve never been to Lego Land because everyone says how bad the queues are!
How much does it Cost?
£6.50 per person Under 1 metre: £3.50 Baby in arms: Free
There is a 50p/ticket discount to all group bookings over 20 people. Dogs are allowed on leads.
Would we recommend it?
Finally the acid test – “girls would you go back”? Definitely yes was the answer and we have already made plans to go with friends later this month.
Owner Ben is keen to keep adding to the trail and he is happily taking on board ideas for improvements from parents and children alike – a great way to keep the business moving forward and encouraging kids to return. My daughter suggested a swamp walk – more mud and goo! So don’t be shy – head along for a fun active outdoor session for you and the kids.
We managed to get a bit lost going through the lanes so my top tip is to go via Cullompton town centre unless you have a good sat nav.
Use Junction 28 on the M5 then head through Cullompton town centre. Head out of town on the B3181, back over the motorway for about 1 1/2 miles. The entrance is right opposite the Merry Harriers Inn at Westcott EX15 1SA.
It was 30 minutes from Honiton and the same from Newton Abbot. Easy access once you know the way!