Friday, 11 November 2016

Mountain View Ranch - A Toddler Explores


Mountain View Ranch is between Cardiff and Caerphilly on the top of Caerphilly Mountain. We have driven past it many times and looked down from the Ridgeway Walk. Every time we say we must visit but something always crops up. On Thursday it was freezing but the sun was shining so we decided to have a look. We were lucky, from 7th november the ranch is closed during the week and only open at weekends. We nearly missed our chance.

Why haven't we visited before? Well the website is a bit vague so I was never very sure what I'd get for my money, and in the peak season (school holidays and when events are on) it can work out expensive. We arrived early and were there just before a coach full of nursery children turned up. We rushed to get ahead of them in the queue but needn't have worried. This is a professional set up and their guide went to the coach and escorted them in. No delay at all.

So what is Mountain View Ranch and what do you get for your money? It's acres of parkland next to a golf course. The paths are made from stone chippings or mown grass and well maintained. It is muddy and dusty but we were prepared for that and it is buggy friendly. They also hire pull along carts for £3 that you can throw everything into including a couple of small children. It has;

Adventure Playground
Gruffalo Trail
Ranch  Trail
Badger Wood
Indian Village
Fairy Forest
Dragon Gorge
Climbing Tree
Hobbit Hill
Sedgeway and High Ropes (additional Charge)

As you enter there is a low building hosting the cafe and other facilities. To our right was an adventure playground that looked just the right size for a toddler. A little further along is a pen with rabbits and guinea pigs.

The Adventure Playground looks perfect for toddlers

Although they are hiding in my picture the pen had rabbits and guinea pigs and Bear loved watching them
Bear watching the rabbit in the straw bale Can you see it?

The park is well signposted and we left the rabbits to find the goats. There is a lot of walking so a buggy or a cart would be a good idea. 

In the distance the high ropes and Sedgeway rides. We were looking for the goats

We found the goats but Bear preferred the chickens.

We knew we wouldn't be able to see the whole park in one visit so decided to take a shortened route through. We started by following the Gruffalo trail and the Gruffalo foot prints. We were quickly rewarded with a wicker mouse, an owl and a fox. We left the trail to see the carved Dragon and the Hobbit houses. Bear would have been happy to play there for ages and it would be a great place to pause in the summer. We walked on past tree houses, the Three Bears houses to a low swing hanging from a massive tree.

Follow the Gruffalo footprints to find the trail

No! Bear. The rope is there to keep you out!

It's naughty but cute too

There are posts with stamps near everything of interest where the children can stamp their map.

The Hobbit House was a great hit with Bear he didn't want to leave


After the swing we found, well we couldn't miss it really, a fallen tree that had been smoothed to make a great climbing tree. Bear was happy just to sit while Grandad and I made the tree bounce. We then cut across the field to the Indian Village.

We could hear laughter behind us from the group of nursery children and they caught us up at the teepee. So much noise! They were loving it and Bear was loving it too. We were getting tired and Bear was due for a nap so we headed back. We had been here two hours and it seemed like minutes.


The Indian Village has a big teepee and a little one just the perfect size for Bear

We didn't get a chance to explore the Fairy Forest, so thats on our to do list next time

Top left to right; Everywhere is clearly signposted; A wicker Owl; The big Teepee at the Indian Village
Middle left to right; Is that a Troll?; Bear having a break in the Teepee; The views are wonderful
Bottom left to right; A Carved Dragon; A Fairy waiting to be found; A Totem Pole

There is so much to see and in the summer it would be a perfect place to spend the day and have a picnic. The only downside I could see was that all the toilets were by the entrance which would be a long way back for little legs.

During the winter (off peak) the ranch is only open weekends. It costs £3.50 for adults and children over two with concessions for OAPs and groups. Check the Mountain View Ranch website for up to date prices and opening times as it is an outdoor activity it closes in bad weather. The Sedgeway and high ropes have an additional cost and a height and age limit. Bear is much too small for both.

Have you been to the Mountain View Ranch? What was your favourite bit?

*We paid for our own entrance. All opinions are honest and my own.


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