21 October is Apple Day in the UK. Originally designed by Common Ground, a Dorset charity, to celebrate and raise awareness of the variety of apple varieties we’re in danger of losing, it also focuses on the richness and diversity of the landscape, ecology and culture of apple growing too. Apples have long been a feature of puddings in the southwest, with Devon apple cake and apple dumplings joining chutney and cider on our regional menu.
This year, RHS Rosemoor is combining two events into one weekend: their 30th Annual Apple Festival and their ever-popular Taste of Autumn Food Fair. With apple displays, talks, guided walks, juicing and live music, there’s plenty of entertainment for all the family. Normal admission applies, so be sure to take the chance to explore the beautiful grounds which have stunning displays all year round.
Receive a free bottle of apple juice by helping with the apple picking at West Town Farm in Ide. Most of the apples will be juiced to support LOVE Food CIC’s community projects, but you might return with any surplus fruits. Register for one of the two sessions on Eventbrite.
Children love a bit of gentle spookiness and Devon’s attractions have some frightful fun on offer as we head towards the end of the month.
Boasting North Devon’s highest and fastest rollercoaster, the Big Sheep is popular at any time of year, but around Halloween, kids can take to the sky and learn to fly like a witch or enjoy a ride on the spooky train and tractor rides. Family Halloween fun from 10 til 5 daily.
The Halloween fun at Crealy has been favoured by families for many years and is back for 2021. Spook-tacular attractions such as the Scarecrow Scare Maze, the Creaky Hotel and the Book of Spells Live Show promise enjoyment for all.
Autumn Food Festivals
Usually held every year, the Powderham Castle Food Festival (2-3 October) and Dartmouth Food Festival (22-24 October) both promise a feast of chefs, demonstrations, entertainment, traders and tastings. More than 70% of the exhibitors in Dartmouth hail from Devon. You can buy tickets for Powderham here, or enjoy the Dartmouth festival for free.
The idea of carving a pumpkin at Halloween is a US import which took over from the original Irish tradition of making scary faces in turnips to ward off evil. This brightly coloured member of the gourd family is now to be found everywhere towards the end of October and picking your own from a farm is a fun thing to do.
Down on the farm, not only can you pick your own pumpkins, you can also take a tractor trailer ride, feed the pigs or find your way through the haybale maze.
At Halberton Farm Shop, they move from PYO strawberries to PYO pumpkins at this time of year. Combine your trip with a delicious cake in the café (we recommend the coffee cake), or a walk around the Swans Neck Loop on the Grand Western Canal. Look out for dates on their Facebook Page.
Other Autumn Activities
It’s time to take in the bumper grape harvest at Pebblebed Vineyard near Topsham. They need your help to get the grapes ‘off the vine and into the wine’! You’ll be rewarded with coffee, cake, a Darts Farm pulled pork lunch and glass of fizz. Picking dates: 3, 16, or 17 October 10am-2pm.
From making a twig person to playing ‘Top Trunks’, find a range of ‘moments of autumn magic’ on this fun National Trust activity sheet for kids, or become an Autumn tree and leaf detective with this Wildlife Trusts spotter sheet.
We do our best to make sure that the information in this blog is correct and up to date, but please always check with a venue or attraction before travelling.