For today our third National Park is Dartmoor in Devon. You're likely to have heard of Dartmoor ponies (they're wild and tiny!) but this national park is jam packed full of great things to do as a family. Once again, we've picked our top five places and activities to do with your children.
1. Become and Otter Spotter! A wonderful activity to take on with your children. There are 100 Moor Otters that have been hidden around Dartmoor, gateway towns and other surprise locations. All you have to do is spot them. Pick up an otter spotter guide from one of the Visitor Centres and head on your way. If you can find more than 20 otters (remember to note their name and code from the plinth, fill in your details and return it to either the visitor centre at Haytor, Princetown or Postbridge to get your badge.
2. Sticking with the otter theme, because let's be honest, they're wonderful animals. Make time during your visit to take a trip to Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary. See the otters up close and learn all about these incredible creatures. A small and family run centre, education is a priority, but don't worry, fun is on the agenda too. In the otter sanctuary you can see the native British otter, the playful Asian short clawed otters and the large North American river otters - apparently, they like to show off! The sanctuary works on a sustained breeding program and rehabilitates the animals in their care. Conservation is critical and your children are going to love learning what they can do to help otters and butterflies in their futures.
3. Pennywell Farm is a must visit for animal lovers. Can you see our theme here? With four free rides and hundreds of friendly animals, play areas and games you'll be hard pushed to find anything that your children won't like about the place. You can collect eggs with your activity farmer, have a go at goat milking, bottle feed the goat kids, cheer on the miniature pigs as they race at 2 pm and have a cuddle with them at their tea time. Come together as a family to enjoy the tractor and trailer ride, see the most scenic part of the farm and soak in the views across Dartmoor from the comfort of your seat.
4. A trip to Dartmoor wouldn't be complete without seeing the ponies. Make time in your schedule to visit the Miniature Pony Centre and fall in love with these gentle creatures. There are indoor and outdoor play areas so you can visit in all weather. Activities and talks run through the day, they include animal feeding, pony grooming, work the front loader of the tractor, meet Buster the shire horse, pony bedtime (adorable) and for £2 you can have a ride on the ponies!
5. Head to Tree Surfers for an adventure you won’t forget. In the top of the trees you'll cross rope bridges, zip lines, walkways and death drops to challenge and excite you. This is no ordinary family day out. It’s a chance for the whole family to escape. There are four specially designed high ropes courses from junior to the “black run”, plus the exhilarating “leap of faith” and the awesome “big zip”.The fun doesn’t stop there. You can also book an archery session, hire a bike or take a wander on some of the 25km of trails and mountain bike tracks. And there’s our fabulous Beech Cafe for lunches, afternoon teas and delicious home made cakes. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the courses are designed in harmony with the natural environment. It’s a magical place and we promise to keep it that way. Our warm and friendly staff are trained to support you every step of the way. It’s a chance to run wild and have an adventure together.