This is going to be a very difficult review to write , I will explain why later! However hold the thought, a picture paints a thousand words.
Last weekend we visited Niddfest in Pateley Bridge. The festival hosts a number of literary events for both adults and children and is very much aimed at bringing together the local communities and surrounding areas. I am also guessing that the volunteers were local, the atmosphere at every event we attended was warm and welcoming.
With this being a review for Mini Travellers we were mainly interested in the children’s events and booked to go to the children’s tent on the Saturday together with “Born to be Wild” by author Hattie Garlick on the Saturday morning and “ A Big Draw “ with author Helen Stephens on Saturday afternoon.
We live in Harrogate so this festival is “local “ to us and involves a beautiful drive out through the Yorkshire Dales. Unfortunately the first event was cancelled so we headed straight to the children’s tent where the daughter of the Bramley Hedge author was reading stories from these classic tales. We arrived around 10ish and the tent was fairly quiet. Our children sat down straight away to colour-in whilst listening to the first story. The tent did get busier and we had the usual half hour wait for face painting which seems to be a norm wherever you go. There was a little craft stall next to the face painting, and the lady helping was very sweet so our kids contented themselves with making felt badges whilst I waited in the queue for them (?!)
We probably stayed in the tent for about 1 hour. Once they had coloured, crafted and had their face painted they had pretty much done everything on offer so we headed off. I have to say though the volunteers were all really sweet, and a lot of children and families stayed a lot longer than us as this was clearly a community event. A lunch was being laid on as we left, as well as best dressed mouse competition and more activities in the afternoon.
Pateley Bridge itself is beautiful, within an area of outstanding beauty and with a park , river and oldest sweet shop in the world all within close proximity to the children’s tent we entertained ourselves until the next children’s event- Wild Art.
Wild Art was held in the Memorial Hall within Pateley Bridge. My youngest loves drawing and lions and was immediately sold by the description that she would learn how to draw her own lion and participate in Helens Stephens story “How to hide a Lion”.
Albeit a few technical hitches and a late start, my 4 year old was enthralled throughout. Helen Stephens has a real charm and the children in the audience were captivated with her drawings and readings from her book. Most of the children’s hands shot up when she asked who wanted to join her on stage and become part of her fun lion story. My youngest, albeit not the bravest was straight up. She was awestruck if a little bashful for a lion.
That was principally it for the younger children’s entertainment on the Saturday. The children’s tent stayed there all day however we barely scratched the surface of the full programme of events. This is a festival aimed at nature lovers and avid readers and I could very much see the appeal of a number of their events which included morning bird walks, talks from local farmers and walks through nidderdales meadows. It would be lovely to see a few more children based events next year.
On Sunday I returned to Pateley Bridge with my 8 year and her best friend. This is where the review gets more difficult to write. I dropped them both off at 10am for the Wild Art event with Annie Berrington..and left them too it.
At 12.45 I picked them up, took them for a quick play in the nearby park then returned at 2pm for Den building again with Annie Berringtom.
As I didn’t actually go in with them and see what they did it is difficult to review, but hopefully the faces on the photo below shows how much they enjoyed it. For a child who really doesn’t like her photo taken, that is a very big smile! When I asked during the car journey home what it was like in a desperate attempt to find words for this review, I was bombarded with a babble of excited talk, of boggits (when you feel something drop on your head in a forest it’s a boggit apparently), hide and seek but not hide and seek better, games of tig but is wasn’t quite like tig, building dens, making REAL fire, toasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate. Everything you hope your child will enjoy on this sort event. LOTS of outdoor fun, learning , playing and enjoying nature . The outdoors at its best.
The next day I asked again if she enjoyed the day… It was great! Was the reply. . Would I have any hesitation in recommending these events? Not at all, our kids came back dirty, tired and happy. Really happy!
Review done, enough said. From an 8 year old that’s all you need to know and see.
A picture paints a thousand words…