I have been taking our girls to Escot ever since they were little and it is a lovely place for a family day out in Devon. We’ve seen it change and develop over the years and it’s great when a local attraction keeps investing and improving. Now known as Wildwood Escot, the park has distinguished itself from the gorgeous house that you see when you drive in and has lots to offer.
Wildlife, Woodlands and Gardens
Wildwood Escot is one of those places that encourages outdoor fun and learning without you or the children realising it – there’s a bit of everything – space to run and climb, interesting animals including the famous red squirrels (not your usual petting selection – oh no!), birds of prey, a huge maze, gardens and even an Anglo Saxon village.
Our girls have also been there on a school residential where they got to build their own shelters, learnt to make a fire as well as take the swamp walk challenge! To say they needed a bath when they came home would be an understatement! So I was delighted when we were invited to go back again for a day this half term and share with you what it’s all about.
Feeding Time for the Otters is Fun to Watch
So this half term we were invited along to Escot to see what’s new. I was especially looking forward to seeing the Lynx and the red squirrels which are so cute and rare to see.
Being half term there are events running all week as well. So we made sure we were on time for the 11am Otter feeding which was fun to watch and then we dashed off for the welly walk. There’s lots of space in the wetlands area with boardwalks and ponds to explore. We spent a happy time with forest schools expert Ali who tailored the walk to the interests of the children which was perfect.
“The park has wheelchair and buggy friendly paths throughout so it’s perfect for all the family”
After making clay creatures and building mini shelters for them, the children learnt how to light a fire. It never quite made it to roaring though, so after an hour with cold toes and fingers we headed back to the Saxon Village where there was a proper fire to warm up next to inside one of the “houses”. The Saxon Village is fun and interesting for the children to see what life would have been like, even if they don’t really appreciate the concept of growing all your own food. They enjoyed posing for photos in the stocks and playing King and Queen.
Click on the picture above to see my video of our day.
A great day out at Wildwood Escot
You can see from my little video that we had fun. After a snack we headed off into the woods. We saw the lynx lying asleep at the top of it’s fallen tree branch – sadly not close enough for a decent picture, and watched the wild boar snuffling around in the mud. Then the kids persuaded me to go down the drop slide – I am trying to keep young at heart although it felt like I’d left my coffee somewhere halfway down the slide!
Next stop was the pirate ship and adventure playground and some great low level tree climbing in the rhododendrons – they will be in bloom soon and will look stunning.
Red Squirrel Enclosure
Now catching sight of these is all about timing so check when you arrive when they will be most active. They’d not long since had lunch when we went through their special enclosure and so were having a little afternoon nap! We did spot one and they really are beautiful.
Overall we had a lovely day despite the cold weather. In the warmer months you could spend a day happily letting the children run around exploring while you find a spot for a picnic. There are also other footpaths and places to walk outside the main park if you want to extend your stay. Later on this Spring they are introducing wolves so I’d love to go back to see them – it’s part of the re-wilding project that the park is undertaking.
Escot is definitely a great spot for getting close to nature and somewhere where kids can make their own fun. There is an indoor play area for the little ones if you need a bit of controlled play and a lovely cafe which we did not use on this occasion but I have enjoyed a hot chocolate from there on a previous visit.
The activities will be on throughout half term so check out their website for details. Plus check out below for a competition to win a family entrance ticket.
FLIP FLOPS OR WELLIESMost of the park is accessible for everyone on paths and tracks so trainers (or even Flip Flops) would be fine. There are also paths suitable for wheel chairs and buggys. We headed “off road” and and the girls joined in the Welly Walk in the wetlands so they were glad of their boots!
Where is Wildwood Escot?
Escot is half way between Honiton and Exeter just off the old A30 near Ottery St Mary. Post code EX11 1LU
Disclaimer: on this occasion we were guests of Wildwood Escot.