North Devon holiday 2010 part 6

great grey owlWe went to Exmoor Zoo today. It’s about 12 acres, so a lot smaller than Whipsnade. That said, its well laid out with a wide variety of animals, some of which we hadn’t seen before. The meerkats were cute as meerkats always are. When we got round to the guinea pigs there was a peacock that was determined to be noticed and very noisy. The guinea pigs were separated into a male and female enclosure (hmm, I wonder why) and the kids spent a lot of time stroking the female guinea pigs, the males were a lot more shy. They had a black leopard which wasn’t difficult to find; it was lying asleep next to the fence, not very photogenic thou’. We caught one of their organised sessions at 2:30 when they brought a selection of animals into the encounter area for children (and adults to touch). A stayed clear of the skunk, but stroked the guinea pigs, polecat, barnacle goose and hairy armadillo. P did the lot.
The kids were playing outside in the garden when we got back and one of the neighbours asked if they wanted to see the piglets, so we went up past High Hallsanney to see the piglets. The sow (Princess of Pork) is a Gloucester Old Spot and the boar (the young Duke of Pork) is a Tamworth, so the piglets are a mix of orange and spots. Their other boar, (the old Duke of Pork,) hadn’t been performing, so he was in the freezer. That said the other sow was pregnant, so maybe he had been up to the job after all. After we had met and fed the piglets and the boar, and A scratched his head, which was very bristly, we met one of the cows and then the ducks. At this point we were overflown by either a swallow or house martin. I hadn’t been able to make up my mind what I’d been seeing and so I asked. Evidently there are both, the swallows have a nest at the back of the main house and the martins have a nest on the front. We were taken to see the swallows’ nest, where they were raising their second brood of the year. We could just see the three heads peeping out over the brim of the nest.
We ate this evening in the Old Barn Inn in Bickington. We were going to go to The Quay Cafe in Fremington again this evening, but after driving down the single track road to it, found that it closed at 5pm. The staff at the Old Barn were really friendly and the food was great, so that worked out well.

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