Last week we were invited along to National Forest Adventure Farm, where they were attempting to break the world record for the largest display of scarecrows. Though it was a two hour drive away, all of us were excited to be going – the kids especially so at the idea of a Maize Maze. When we arrived, we were welcomed by a lady named Cathy and given a map, some tickets for Barrel Stampede and a few leaflets.
Since we’d traveled a long way AND got stuck in traffic, it was pretty much lunchtime when we arrived. As such we decided to hit “Scarecrow Joe’s restaurant” first. It was a nice spacious place to eat, with a good choice in food, an easy ordering system and a pretty good wait time. Though the soft play area was also inside the same building, it felt far enough away that you weren’t constantly listening to kids shouting as they played. Chris and I had burger and chips, while both the girls went for hot dog and chips. I was surprised to see them both eat it all and Megan even claim to still be hungry. However we had stuff to do so after referencing the map, we headed out towards the Scarecrow Workshop and Maize Maze.
On our way to the Scarecrow Workshop, we passed all the scarecrows that had been made, lined up in the field. By the day we visited (Friday) the record had already been broken, but they were continuing to grow the collection as technically the official figure isn’t recorded until September 7th. It was really interesting to look at the scarecrows as we passed, some of the amusing ones were definitely an Iron Man and also a Disney Belle. We entered the Scarecrow Workshop and paid the £1 to make our own as a family.
It was fairly easy to make the scarecrow and help was on offer if you needed it. There wasn’t a huge amount of guidance though so you just sort of had to figure it out for yourself. After getting the wood and picking the clothes, one of the helpers screwed our wood together. We placed the clothes on the wood and we tied up our arm and leg holes with cable ties. After that we went to stuff the scarecrow, then attaching the trousers, adding braces to hold it all together, making a head and stuffing that too.
Like I said before, they had already hit the world record target by the time we visited. In fact the world record breaking scarecrow (number 3,312) was a huge 12ft tall and called Big Ernie. As such our scarecrow just continued to grow the numbers, being number 3,384.
Megan and Lily wrote their name on the sleeve, while Chris and I wrote on the chest. Chris wrote “Chris Le” and I wrote “Bel” so the kids decided the scarecrow was called Chrislebel. Apparently there is a prize for the best scarecrow but we are not holding our breath!
After making the scarecrow, we headed for the Maize Maze. The girls and I were pretty excited by this and after watching a short introductory video to the maze, Megan decided she wanted to do the quiz that went with the maze. We were happy to let her do it and in fact we also let her lead us around the maze. We clocked about 6,000 steps that day and I’m pretty sure majority of it was in that maize maze!
The quiz that Megan filled in, was all to do with The Scarecrows’ Wedding – a book which has just been released, by the same people as The Gruffalo. The Maize Maze was much much bigger than any of us had expected but it was nicely broken up by the clues and also the lookout points you could climb up to and see across the maize. Megan completed the quiz and handed it in at the end – apparently she is hoping to win a helicopter ride!
Though we didn’t get lost, we did buy a map of the maze – sort of as a souvenir. It was mind blowing to see just how far we must have walked and in which shapes and directions. By this point though we were all ready for a sit down and since it was almost 3pm we lined up for the tractor ride. We only queued for about ten minutes and then we were on our way. Though the ride wasn’t very long it was a good way to view around the farm and the kids on the ride seemed to enjoy it as they shouted “scarecrow” every time they saw one on our journey.
Next we headed to the Barrel Stampede ride but taking one look at the size of it, Chris and I had no intention of riding it. However the girls wanted to and so we lined up and it wasn’t very long before they got on. The concept of the ride was fairly simple (a tractor pulling some barrel trailers) but all the kids seemed to really enjoy it.
The clouds were starting to grey a little but we made sure we did everything and popped into the indoor animal area. After that Lily wanted to play on some of the outdoor toys and so we all sat and watched while she had some time on them. Sadly it started to spit with rain so we decided to call it a day. Just as we got out to the car all the heavens opened up and so it was a very good job we left when we did.
The day was a lot of fun and knowing that we added to the world record breaking display of scarecrows was great too. National Forest Adventure Farm was a really great family day out. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Also, if you’re wanting to add to the world record yourself, you still can up till September 7th 2014.