As easy is riding a bike!

We bought Eliza has bike for her 5th birthday, but she has always preferred her scooter as she found pedaling quite hard work, but last month she went back to her bike and has been asking us to take her stabilizers off.

I have to admit I doubted my ability as a bike trainer. I love riding a bike and used to cycle everywhere when I was younger, but when it came to teaching Isaac, I tried and failed. In fact we booked him on a course in the end and all it took was someone with a bit more patience than me to get him off and going.

We took the stabilizers off Eliza’s bike last weekend and had a bit of a practice outside the house which showed that Eliza had the potential but that she was, quite frankly, hopeless at steering, so this weekend we headed to Potterne Park in Dorset, which has nice wide pathways, perfect for those wobbly first rides.

It didn’t start well.

There were lots of “I can’t do it”, “I can’t steer” etc and me hanging onto the back seat clearly wasn’t working.

She kept turning the handlebars to the right so I moved my focus to the handlebars which kept her in a straight line. I must have been holding on to her for a good few hundred yards, correcting her balance and keeping her straight and could see her confidence rising.

Potterne Park

I let go!

She crashed, but got straight back on and tried again.

This happened a few times and then she was off!

She was a little wobbly, but she was going.

She was so confident by now that we continued along the path towards Moors Valley, which got narrower and she lost her balance right by a huge ditch and ploughed over the side. Thankfully there was no harm done, but we decided to ride back the way we came, have a break in the play park and then try again.

Potterne Park

She rode back to the park confidently, but it was her second attempt, after a play, that she really nailed it.

She got started herself, rode off with Isaac and didn’t stop. She must have ridden about half a mile, stopping only at the bridge to wait for me as instructed.

Potterne Park Cycling

Again we turned around and headed back, with her so confident that she kept up with Isaac and was waiting at the park for me, as Sebby had run out of steam on his scooter and needed a tow back.

Potterne Park Play

I wish we could have stayed out longer, but Isaac had a swimming lesson so we had to head home. She was straight back on her bike, however, and insisted on doing a few laps around the block at home though.

I feel like a mean Mummy as she wanted to ride her bike to school this morning and I said no, as it is really busy and she hasn’t mastered her brakes yet, but I am sure after a bit more practice, she will be riding to school too.

Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Moors Valley Railyway 30th Birthday Gala

Last weekend we were invited to the 30th Birthday Gala for Moors Valley Railway.

It wasn’t until the event that I discovered that its origins went back to 1980 when Jim Haylock set up a miniature railway at Tucktonia Miniature Theme Park in Christchurch – somewhere I have very fond memories of visiting as a child.

The miniature railway then moved to the Old Kings Dairy Farm at Moors Valley five years later and opened to the public on 26th July 1986.

Moors Valley Country Park is somewhere we have visited regularly since my eldest children were small as there is so much to do for all ages and it remains a firm favourite with all the family.

Sebastian is train mad, so every visit we have to take a trip on the railway which is a recreation in miniature of a traditional British Railway complete with stations, locomotives, rolling stock, bridges, tunnel, signal boxes, carriage sheds and engineering workshops – in fact the Moors Valley Railway is the south’s longest, fully signalled narrow gauge 71/4 steam railway with the main ride being a mile long.


For the Gala celebrations not only did we get taken on a very special loop of the Moors Valley Railway, but we got to look behind the scenes too.


In its 30th Moors Valley Railway has carried over 3 million passengers, over 100,000 each year. A typical train consists of a barrier wagon, 11 coaches and a guards van and can carry around 65 passengers.

The workshop was fascinating as it is a true main line in miniature and has seen the construction of over 20 steam and two diesel locomotives, many of which were out on display.


Of course the day wasn’t all about the trains as the kids were keen to explore the other things the park has to offer.

Moors Valley is somewhere I always recommend to visitors to Hampshire and Dorset as there is just so much to do with over 1000 acres to explore. There is forest trails (nature, play and story), kids parks, cycle tracks, an 18 hole golf course, fishing, the railway and picnic areas plus Go Ape, the award-winning tree-top adventure course with Tarzan swings, zip wires and Segways to try your hand at.


The Rangers also arrange over 300 special events throughout the year, ranging from nature walks, fishing lessons and off-road cycling to miniature railway events, art and photographic exhibitions and golf coaching. For children at the moment there is the Young Ranger challenge which involves 40 exciting challenges to complete and Joanne from CharlieMoos and her family have been busily ticking them off.

After burning some energy off in the park, we, and the CharlieMoos crew tried our hand at some Go Ape fun. Keep your eyes peeled for a post coming soon ………….


Special events at Moors Valley coming up soon are:

6th November 2016 – Tank Engine Day

10th/11th and 17th/18th December – Santa Specials

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall