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The Big Sheep (Abbotsham, Bideford)

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8 Reviews

The Big Sheep / Abbotsham / Bideford / North Devon / EX39 5AP / Tel: 01237 472366 / Fax: 01237 477916 / E-mail : info@thebigsheep.co.uk.

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    8 Reviews
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      02.05.2010 20:46
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      Excellent day out for whole family

      This is a fantastic whole day out for the entire family and there's something for parents, young kids and teenagers - a rarity.
      We've spent 6 hours there today, but could easily have spent another few hours as we didn't do everything by far. The Big Sheep is best visited in fair weather, as there are several outdoor attractions, however a day could easily be passed there when it is pouring with rain.
      There is a big indoor play area with slides, death slides, ball pools, soft play for under 2s, scramble through tunnels etc. This is set up alongside the cafe where parents can have a cuppa or food whilst watching the youngsters. There is also wifi here if that takes your fancy.
      A further indoor area houses the sheep and other animals (puppies, pigs, rabbits, ferrets, chickens). Children can buy sheep food and feed the sheep.
      There are then various rides - train, tractor, giant swings, pull along piggies.
      There are other areas such as bouncing pillows, trampolines, ride on go carts (adult sized as well as kids), sand pit with diggers.
      There is a laser combat section for the over 8s where they can run around hiding from each other shooting.
      This is all included in the £10.50 entry. A steep price but for an entire day not bad!
      In addition to this, shows run throughout the day - sheep shearing, bottle feeding the lambs, the sheep show, the beer show, sheep racing. These are very humourous and so entertain parents and grandparents as well as the kids.
      There are also some attractions where a small fee applies - pony riding, ducks and small tractors.
      Would definitely recommend this attraction for a day out but arrive early (doors open 10am) to take in everything.


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        12.04.2010 20:48
        Very helpful



        If you're going, spend all day there - wear the kids out!

        As theme parks go they don't come much weirder than this, but surpriingly The Big Sheep is a good day out. It is a strange mixture of rides, shows and activity areas that has appeal across the age spectrum.
        So, what is there to do, I hear you cry... well let me tell you. I shall try to organise my thought into the three broad categories mentioned above:

        The big draw for kids at the Big Sheep is Ewetopia. This is an indoor playarea with death-slides, ball pits, suspended rope bridges, etc, etc, you get the idea, there are probably loads of them across the country. This one is as much fun as all the others you've probably been in. Noisy for adults, manic with children running everywhere and getting worn out and sweaty. Great! I particularly like the bumpy slide that you have to go down sitting on a sack. I also like the fact that there is a small kids area for the under 5s. At the back of this area is a room of computers for people to use and at the front a cafe whose selection of food has improved in recent years. They do an acceptable hot chocolate.
        Outside activities are also available. There are some giant jumping pillows which attract nearly as many adults as children. Again, a small persons one is available next to the big one. There is the chance to feed the lambs. There are go-carts and trampolines which are free, horse rides which cost money (sorry don't know how much) and a laser shooting area which is about £7 for an hour.

        These are very basic, simple rides. There is a train which goes round in circles (very boring) and an old fashioned chair-o-plane ride, which is very popular so must be good fun. I can only tell you that my children love it as I am way too much of a wuss to have a go myself.

        These are actually quite good fun, and none of them last longer than about 15 minutes which is about the right time to hold a child's attention without them getting bored and restless. One of my favourites is the duck show, where lots of India Runner Ducks get chased round various obstacles, including members of the audience, by a sheep dog - its training for sheep you understand.
        Then there is a horse whispering show, a sheep dog trial show, a sheep show where you can learn about and see at least seven different types of sheep, all of which you can feed afterwards, and the beer show. The beer show is very boring but draws people in with the promise of free beer. Don't be fooled by this - you get free beer anyway by going to the brewery shop an asking to try samples.

        Other big event at the Big Sheep is the sheep race. This occurs at around 4.00 everyday and involves six sheep being raced down a track with little woollen riders on thier backs. It's all good fun and if you want to you can place a bet on the winner by buying the badge of the sheep you want to back. All winners get a prize.

        As well as all this there is a shop (isn't there always) and a restaurant.

        The Big Sheep also do special events depending on the time of year. The two favourite ones for kids are Halloween where everything is spooked up and there are special scary shows at night and a ride on a tractor trailer through some very scary scenes where chainsaw wealding manics jump out at you, etc. And Easter where for a whole week you can do a massive Easter egg hunt. Some of the smaller eggs can be exchanged for larger one, but this is restricted to one per child.

        Entry to the Big Sheep cost £10.50 for children and adults alike, which I feel is a bit of a rip-off, or £10 if there is a group of four or more. I was lucky yesterday for my visit as my daughter had been invited to a birthday party there.


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          07.12.2009 18:03
          Very helpful



          Don't be sheepish, give it a whirl

          If, like me, you really enjoy a good old fashioned British day out, particularly those of you who have kids, I'm sure you'll be familiar with the constant struggle to find new places that are just that little bit different, entertaining and even very possibly educational for both young and old alike.....

          Step forward, Britain's only (to my knowledge) dedicated Sheep based Theme Park, Ladies and Gentlemen I give you - The Big Sheep!

          In total I've now been here three times with big family groups, during the last three summers. In each case, we have thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

          The added bonus is that there's a good mixture of indoor and outdoor activities available so you can always enjoy a full day here whatever the weather.

          ~~~~Getting there and admission costs~~~~

          The Big Sheep is near Bideford in North Devon, just off the main A39 trunk road.

          Here are the latest available prices from summer 2009 taken directly from the website at http://thebigsheep.co.uk.

          Summer Season (opens daily from April to October)
          Children = £9.95 Adults = £9.95
          Groups of 4 or more = £9.45 each

          Children under 3 feet tall are free of charge. (aka make sure you take their shoes off when they stand next to the cardboard cut out and they might just scrape through- just kidding!)

          Return admission within one week = £4.00 - handy if you want a second look while on your hols.
          Less abled = £9.45 (carer free of charge)

          As "Ewe-ltide" is rapidly approaching, the good news is that even through the winter season, they are open at weekends and during school holidays at £5 per person, adults and children.

          There are a lot fewer activities available , baa humbug, although apparently there's a farmers market, plus they've just opened up an ice rink - still what a bunch of sheep skates!

          Last time we were there, anyone living local to the attraction could purchase a season ticket, although at £32.50 per person or £30 per person for families of four, would need to visit at least 4 times a year to make it worthwhile.

          Also worth noting that if you sign up to the email newsletter on the web page, you will get a £5 discount off your next visit.

          For those of you who collect Tesco Club Card points, the good news is that The Big Sheep is one of a handful of South West attractions that qualify for and accept Club Card Days out Deal points.

          Anyway on to the main attractions....

          ~~~~The shows~~~~

          There are a number of special timetabled shows and talks running for around half an hour usually in both morning and afternoon sessions throughout the day in case you miss one, and they really are well worth a visit.

          Now for those of you already starting to wonder about the ethics of using real farm animals for entertainment value, please be assured that from all the evidence I've seen and reports I've read, that all the animals are very well looked after throughout. They are fed during the shows, and what really comes across from the people who do the talks is that they are genuinely knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.

          My personal favourite and a good starting point for your visit is the Sheep Show which takes place in the main barn, where we get to meet a unique line up of 10 woolly coated characters that come out one by one to their own personalised theme tunes!

          There are 10 rare breeds on show from across the British Isles and all except one are Rams. There's plenty of interaction with the children and adults in the audience to keep them interested and involved. Look out for the Victor Meldrew look-a-like, Scooby Doo, a Shaun the Sheep, plus the lone female the Devon Longwool (aka Bob Marley - you'll see why) who currently has little Ziggy appearing with her. The show's surprise climax is worth the entry money alone I reckon!

          (Small word of advice, if you do have really little ones or toddlers they may just get a little bored at some point, but its easy enough to get in and out if you sit near the end of the rows)

          Another very entertaining show is the Duck Trials - basically it's a kind of sheep dog entry level training. There are 3 resident non-flying duck characters who have their own enclosure to waddle around in, with 5 separate gates or pens scattered around the place. The host invites the kids and accompanying adults to go and stand by the gates, and the trainee pup follows the commands and guides the ducks through the gates one by one.

          Depending on the season, you and your little ones can also try your hand at lamb feeding, where you sit along the front row, playing pass the parcel with the milk bottles to a very appreciative set of fluffy funsters.

          Other shows include sheep shearing and the proper One Man and His Dog style sheep trials, a brewery show (yes they have their very own ale production line) and even a horse whispering demonstration.

          ~~~~The Rides~~~~

          Also running throughout the day, for bigger groups there's a wooden train ride departing from Ewe-ston station, or even an ever so slightly bumpy tractor farm safari for the more adventurous. Leading up to the area where you can queue up for the rides there is a petting / baby animals enclosure, though obviously with the current e-coli and other health concerns, make sure you wash hands thoroughly before and after making contact with them.

          There are also a couple of mini-tractors the kids can power drive around a circuit for a pound a time, further up on the hill there's a fairground favourite with the spinning chairoplanes and some pedal powered go karts. There's also the live battlefield combat zone spread over 7 acres, which I believe offers some kind of laser based (i.e. pain free) alternative to paintballing for anyone of 8 years and older.

          If that's all a bit too fast paced for you small ones, for a small extra charge there are pony rides available, and close to them there are a couple of netting enclosed trampolines.

          ~~~~The Indoor Play area~~~~

          Now I don't know about you, but I've always been just that bit jealous of kids nowadays, because when I was growing up I never got near anything remotely resembling these ball pool play areas. But since having a toddler of my own to look after, on the fairly flimsy pretence of making sure the little one doesn't get too overwhelmed, or stuck, I now get to jump in after him and barring the odd occasion where I smack my head on a bar or get compromised squeezing into little spaces

          The good news here is that the soft play area at Big Sheep , aptly titled "Ewe-topia" gives you the perfect excuse to not only shadow the little ones, but have some fun of your own. The first thing you notice as you go in is the enormous blue multi-laned slide. Just like those classic old seaside versions, you pick up a mini sledge made of rope and twine, with foot space for you and any mini passengers, head up to the top and away you go!

          A quick word of warning about the slides here. The last time we visited was on a Monday, and my brother-in-law spotted a chap treating the main slide with Silicon. When he enquired, the chap explained that it was done once a week, just as a regular maintenance thing.

          Being an adventurous soul, he decided to take this as an opportunity and stuff his 6 foot 6 frame into the sack and just went for it. Needless to say, the freshly zip speeded track and his sheer mass, sent him slamming into the end wall, flying back a few feet and landing with fortunately nothing more than a few bruises and a bit of wounded pride! So take my top tip, wait till late on Monday afternoon before you venture onto the slide otherwise you may get a bit of a shock!

          ~~~~Food options~~~~

          The main restaurant , situated near to the entrance offers a decent enough selection of reasonably priced hot foods like jacket potatoes, pasties etc. We weren't all that struck with the relatively pricey pre-packaged sandwich boxes for kids though, finding the bread a little on the stale side and not a great range of fillings available. There's quite a big sit down area both indoors and out, and there are fairly good baby changing facilities on hand.

          There's also a café area in Ewetopia, including with seating up on the second floor. Plenty of hot, cold, slushy and fizzy drinks available here, as if the kids needed any more excitement with all the ball pool and slide action available.

          ~~~~The Sheep Race~~~~
          The grand finale of the day is the Sheep race, run at 3.50pm in the afternoon.

          Basically so the story goes, that when it came to feeding time, they used to release the sheep from up in the field, and they'd scamper down the track to the main enclosure.

          Never one's to miss an opportunity, they decided to produce a set of 6 colour coated mini jockeys, attach one to each of 6 sheep, mark out the course and bingo, the sheep race was born.

          Throw in some suitable names like "Wooly jumper", "Alderknitty", "Sheargar" and "Red Ram", get a man in a colourful suit with a chalk board and betting odds, (all bets must be in Ewe-ros). Seeing my tip Alderknitty leading all the way, only to be edged out at the photo finish by Wooly Jumper was hard enough, but knowing that my sister picked the winner and won a winner's mug to boot, still sticks in the throat

          Apparently they have special festival days for Grand National and Royal Ascot , and it's certainly a fun way to round off an eventful experience.

          ~~~~Ewe know it makes sense~~~~

          I promise I'm not trying to pull the wool over your eyes, no one is trying to fleece you.

          You "herd" it here first, this place is a genuine baa-gain!


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            18.10.2009 18:12
            Very helpful
            1 Comment



            Great all weather attraction

            The Big Sheep in located near Bideford in North Devon. It is easy to find from the main road (the A39) and is very well signposted. The post code for people using a sat-nav is EX39 5AP. The park is located in a small village and is very large. There are a vast number of free parking spaces which are close to the entrance of the park.

            *The Park Contents*
            To access the park you walk through the restaurant or shop. There are a number of different things here so don't assume it is all sheep because of the name of the park. Alongside a number of sheep there are a variety of other animals, a haunted house, an indoor play zone, a few fairground rides, a train and trampolines.

            There are various shows throughout the day including sheep racing, lamb feeding, duck trials, sheepdog trials, a beer show and a sheep show. These are all timetabled at different times meaning you can manage to see them all and the most popular ones are repeated throughout the day. We did not make it to all of them but I will comment on those which we did.
            Sheep Show-This was the first show we saw and it was very impressive. It took place in a large arena with a great deal of seating. Towards the front of the arena was a podium with various sheep breeds written in the different spaces. Basically in the show we were introduced to a number of different sheep breeds who were each interesting in their own way, all looked different and a few could also do small tricks. The man who took the show was a really good entertainer and told a lot of funny jokes. He also appealed to the children and there was an opportunity in the show for the children to volunteer. The show lasted approx 20 minutes.
            Lamb Feeding-This takes place twice throughout the door where you get the opportunity to bottle feed a lamb. You get one bottle to share between 2 or 3 if there is not enough to go round. You then can hold the lambs (if they are small enough) and stroke them or get your photograph taken with them. This lasted approx 10 minutes.
            Duck Trials-This show consisted of a sheepdog rounding up the ducks! The ducks have a number of different tasks to do including using a helter skelter and a water slide. This was a really interactive show and any child that wished to take part could do so. There was plenty of undercover seating. This show lasted approx 15 minutes.

            Ewetopia is an indoor play area for children up to the age of 12. This was an added bonus as we were not expecting this but it turned out to be a very popular part of the day. There were separate smaller zones for children under the ages of 2 and 5. The main area consisted of 3 very large slides, ball pools, ladders and so on. There was no extra charge for this and it was fab to pass 10 minutes or escape the cold weather! In Ewetopia there is also a cafe which sells reasonably priced food and drink. A small tube of Pringles cost 95p with coffee costing about £2. You could also purchase meals from here. Childrens meals cost £3.95 and adults meals (eg. Scampi and chips, chicken burger and chips etc) cost around £5. You cannot eat picnics in Ewetopia.

            *Jumping Pillows and Trampolines*
            These were situated near the entrance of the park and were easily accessible from everywhere in the park. The Jumping Pillows I had never seen before and were a really novel idea. Basically they are shaped like a pillow and are made out of brightly coloured plastic. They were similar to trampolines but much bigger (the larger one could fit 25 people on and the smaller one could fit up to 5 small children). We loved the fact adults could go on too and it was never busy meaning we could have a go without feeling too guilty. The smaller one was much better for younger children as it meant they weren't knocked around. There were also 2 large trampolines to go on.

            *The Haunted House*
            This looked very small from the outside but was actually laid out in a way that made it seem a lot larger. I would not recommend taking young children into here or people that get scared easily as it is pitch black and you cannot see where you are going. The special effects are quite good and are enough to give most people a fright.

            *Admission Prices and Opening Times*
            The Big Sheep is open daily from 10am until 6pm. Both children and adults are £9.95 and children under 3feet are free. It is worth noting that there are a number of vouchers giving you £1 off each or you can use Tesco clubcard vouchers.

            *Gift Shop*
            The gift shop is very big and there are a number of objects to buy in there. There are sheepskin rugs and sheepskin coats to buy aswell as your usual gift shop items. The majority of items are sheep related and are reasonably priced. Sheepskin rugs in a variety of colours were for sale for £39.99, keyrings in a variety of designs were 99p as were The Big Sheep logo pens. There were a number of soft toys available ranging in price from just £2.99 for a good sized teddy.

            We really enjoyed our day at The Big Sheep and will certainly be returning when we go back to Devon in April next year. Although admission prices seem quite expensive I believed it was really good value for money as there was something for everyone and plenty to do. The staff were all very friendly and polite and everyone had time to talk to you. Recommended.


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              31.03.2009 00:34



              There are better days out in N Devon

              More interested in getting your money than providing a great day out. We have been many times over the last few years but have noticed a gradual decline in standards over the period. The food is now decidedly mediocre at best with a 'tired' and 'testing' menu in the restaurant and the deep fried menu in the kids play area proving to be particularly unwholesome. Coupled with that, you come out of the play area smelling deep fried yourself. Some of the staff treat you as an inconvenience and can be hostile and aggressive if you say or ask for the wrong thing. The attractions lack any real interest as well unless you're 3 or under. They have fallen behind their competitors on all fronts except for raising prices as much as they can. It's a shame to say to say it, but they fail to live up to being the "The best day of your holiday... baa none!" Give it a miss if you want to be entertained for more than 2 hours.


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              19.10.2008 00:21
              Very helpful



              Overall this a great day out for you and your family.

              The big sheep is a great family day out.
              The latest 2008 prices from there site are:
              Summer Season
              Children = £8.95
              Adults = £8.95
              Groups of 4 or more = £8.45 each
              Children under 3 feet tall are free of charge.
              Return admission with in one week = £4.00
              Less abled = £8.45 (carer free of charge)

              Then in the winter the prices are £5.00 whether you're an adult or child and free if you're less than 3 feet tall.

              If you are planning on going to The Big Sheep make sure you check opening times as these can vary and at different times of the year not everything is open. They also have a timetable with different times of the activities that are going on through the day. So make sure you find out the times of things so you don't miss anything.

              We have been to the big sheep so many times I remember going when I was younger and now I'm taking my daughters there. Over the years it has developed loads and has many more activities for you to do. There is plenty for you to do in and outdoors so you won't be bored. Some of the outdoor activities are a fun park, you can have a tractor ride around the area, laser game which is quite new this is where you run round a course ducking and diving, and you have only got so many lives when you get shot then your games up. I have to admit this created many hours of entertainment for my family. They also have sheep racing which is great they put little cuddly toys on the back of the sheep's back and everyone bets on a sheep they want to win. They let the sheep go and they race around. Its great fun as everyone is cheering them on. There are also duck trials and dog trials. Or you can just walk around and look at the animals and i'm sure there is more that I have missed out.

              Indoors there is also lot's to do there's a big soft play centre which they have called ewetopia this is great fun. There are plenty of slides, climbing frames, ball palls and much more. You will probably find it hard convincing your child it is time to go as they will be having so much fun. There are also lots of facilities where you can get a drink or something to eat. There is a shop that you can buy toys, fleeces and mugs etc so you can remember your great day out. Inside you can do pottery, watch sheep sheering. There is also a barn with lots of baby animals in for example lambs, rabbit's guinea pigs and lots more.
              In the different seasons they do themed events which are great we went at Easter time. They hid lots of small mini eggs and when you had found a certain amount you could exchange them for a bigger egg. My girls loved doing this and I'm sure we will be going there again next year. This is also the time to go as there will be lots of baby animals around.

              Overall I would say this is a great family day out there's lots to do and it is for all ages. We go every year and there always seems to be something new every time we go. Make sure when yo


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              23.09.2007 17:01




              An awesome day out! We were somewhat 'sheepish' about a theme park dedicated to something i am far used to seeing on a plate with roast potatoes and mint sauce!
              It was brilliant. There are plenty of shows packed into the day from an funny but informative show on sheep and the different types of breed to duck trials, to horse whispering and brewery demonstrations with beer tastings.
              There is an indoor play area for kids (and bigger kids like me) called ewetopia with food and drink served.
              A nursery barn with lambs and piglets that you can stroke and feed.
              Kids are encouraged to get involved in all of the shows and learn about the animals through touch and play.
              Highly recommended to anyone of any age and very good value for money.


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                28.08.2006 10:26
                Very helpful



                Not a baaaaad word to say about it, lol (sorry).

                This is the second review about a day out we had whilst on holiday down at Bideford Bay in Devon. We first came across a website for this place when I was searching for things to do in the area, a couple of weeks before we went and it did look quite good but as usual I forgot about it until we saw a bright leaflet for it with a big sheep on the front with the words, "The Big Sheep Needs You!" This was reminiscent of the wartime posters and caught our attention immediately. My bloke, my son and I all had a great time there and I thought it would be good to share our experiences.

                This next bit of the review can also be found on my Combe Martin Dinosaur and Wildlife Park review but as it is to do with joint payment schemes between the two attractions, I thought it would benefit readers who hadn't seen that one. If you have already seen it then you can skip it to the details of this attraction.

                The leaflet we found for The Big Sheep had a 10% discount voucher on it and we grabbed it instantly as we are always on a budget and saving a couple of quid here and there can make all the difference. Later on in the week we saw other vouchers off for The Big Sheep too so it is a good idea to have a look out for them if you are in the area and planning a visit. Anyway, we went to Combe Martin first and when we paid we were give a half price voucher for The Big Sheep for up to 6 people. Later in the week, when we went to The Big Sheep we were given a half price voucher for Combe Martin, so it's worth having a tally up to see which one to go to first so you save a bit of cash. Not sure if they do this in peak times as we were there the first week of July but it's worth having a look or getting in touch with them to find out before you visit.

                ***Where Is It?***

                This was very close to where we were staying at the time so it only took us about 10 minutes to get there from Bucks Cross in Devon. It is just south of Bideford on the A39 Atlantic Highway and about 2 minutes from Bideford itself.

                ***What Is It?***

                You might be wondering what exactly The Big Sheep is all about. I must admit when I first heard of it I hadn't a clue so let me explain. Really this is all about sheep - no little jokes please, it is a family attraction. There are various shows throughout the day and most of the displays can be watched from undercover, which was just as well, as it was the only day of the holiday that we had a little bit of rain. There are some outdoor things for the kids to do but if the weather is bad then there is a large indoor play area where parents can have a go too.

                ***What's On?***

                Most of the attractions are on in the morning and then again in the afternoon so check out times when you get there. We found that it was easy to get from one thing to the next so we didn't miss anything and still had time to play indoors and outdoors too.

                The Sheep Show - This show was all about different breeds of sheep and we all settled into a massive barn where we could sit around and see the Australian guide bring out all the sheep or rather rams as most of them were male. We learned that they all had their own personalities, names and even their own songs that they came out to. The guide was very entertaining and even my son didn't get bored as he told us all about the breeds and where they originated from. I hadn't realised that there were so many different types of sheep and that they were crossbred to produce a more superior wool. This went on for about 45 minutes and at the end there was a chance to get closer to the sheep and ask some questions although my son felt a little bit intimidated by the size of them and steered well clear at this point.

                The Duck Trials - I have seen ducks being herded by sheepdogs locally before but this show was really good fun. First of all the children were invited to come into the centre of the pen and then separated into groups to stand at each gate where the ducks would be herded through. My son wasn't too sure to start with but got very excited when he saw the ducks running around and there were a number of different style gates for the ducks to go through as well as them going up a ramp and down a slide. They seemed to really enjoy this and there was no hesitation at all from them as they quacked away at the crowd. The display ended with the ducks going up another ramp, which took them into a little pond for them to splash about in.

                Lamb feeding was something we hadn't done before and this really was one of the highlights of the day. The lambs were slightly older so weren't just cute little bundles of wool but they were lovely and this was something we all wanted to have a go at. It takes place in the barn area and we were all asked to sit down along the front seat. Then we were split into groups of 3 or 4 and given a big bottle. Luckily we just had the 3 of us in our group so our son got longer at holding the bottle than some other children got. When the 10 lambs were let into the arena it got a little bit frantic although this had already been explained to us so we were well prepared. The lambs being fed were either a twin or a triplet who had been removed when it hadn't been getting enough milk from it's mother so they were well used to being bottle fed. Our lamb took to the bottle like a duck to water and we all had a turn before the bottle emptied. This didn't take very long but it was lovely and I would say that if you have a little one with you, it's best to help him hold the bottle as the lambs do give quite a pull on the teats. I can only pity their mothers.

                The Sheepdog Trials was held outdoors and we were given a full tutorial of how these lovely animals are trained to herd sheep from the time they are young dogs. It was both entertaining and amusing to watch as we saw sheep going through gates, being herded from one end of the field to the other and then being penned. The highlight of this show was actually when something went wrong and the sheep decided to jump a fence into the next field. This was hilarious and totally unexpected for the handler who then had to try to get them back through along with some helpers.

                Sheep Shearing took place in the big barn too and we were told all about the history of shearing before being treated to a demonstration. It was then explained how the fleece would be rolled before being sent off to be cleaned and sold for a few pennies each. It also explains why shearers have to get through as many sheep as they can to make a bit of a wage.

                Horse Whispering is an important part of training horses and this was shown in the field out the back where we were told that understanding the horses needs and gaining their trust is of the utmost of importance.

                ***Other Things To Do***

                Now I hope Tange and Proxam are reading this as there is a brewery on site and you can learn all about how the beer is made and find out what it tastes like. I'm not a fan of beer myself so I'll leave it up to one of them to find out and review the taste for you.

                The Nursery Barn is where you will get the chance to see and pet lots of young animals. The baby pigs were adorable as were the little bunnies and puppies. There were also some goats and young sheep that were very excitable in their pens and kept trying to escape. We were also treated to a fine musical display by some mechanical chickens. It had to be seen to be believed.

                Outside there was a Combat Zone for those of you who want to have a go at war games with laser guns. This was for age 8 and upwards so my son couldn't have a go on this and I believe there was an additional charge for this too.

                There were pony rides available at a charge of £1 a go but as the weather turned sour when we got to this area, my son didn't get a chance to have a go.

                We were in the same boat with the Tractor Track, which also had an extra charge. It was raining quite heavily by then and my son had to give this a miss too.

                There were a couple of other outdoor activities, which he did manage to have fun with. The first was the world cup shootout, which consisted of a big board with holes in it to kick the ball through. After a few attempts though he gave up and went up and popped the ball through with his hands - I think he's going to be a goalie. My bloke enjoyed this too. The other activity was the big trampolines and we all had a go on these. I was amazed at how well I did, considering it had been about 20 years since I had been on one. My son had a great time, not only trying them out for himself, but by watching his dad jump and fall about with no sense of balance whatsoever. It's a pity we can't put video clips on reviews although this may have been one to send to You've Been Framed.


                I've decided to give the indoor play area a section to itself, as there was so much to do in it. It is basically a huge area that has a combination of slides, ball pools and soft bits to climb and jump on. The beauty of this one is that not only are there under 2 and under 5 sections to keep the young ones safe, but the main area is for everyone so adults are allowed and often encouraged to have a go too. This is something that my bloke really enjoys and throws himself into it with great gusto. I held back a little bit to look after the bags and to laugh at him falling all over the place again. I did have a go on the bumpy slide but stayed away from the more daring ones, unlike my bloke and my son who couldn't wait to get stuck in.

                The area also had an Internet café through the back and I took the opportunity to have a quick scan of my emails to see if there was anything important going on. This was free to use and it meant that I was able to clear out a lot of rubbish so that I didn't have quite so much to come home to.

                At the front of the play area you could find Bo Peep Café, which had lots of big tables and seating areas in it. This area did get quite busy when the rain came on as everyone scrambled for cover. There is also a seating area upstairs from the café but this may not be so good if you have buggies etc. We took a picnic lunch with us so didn't actually buy anything from the café but from what we could see the prices weren't too bad. You aren't allowed to eat anything that you haven't bought from the café though and it does warn you that you will be asked to leave if caught out.

                ***The Big Sheep Race***

                Have you ever seen sheep racing? We were clueless but this was the finale of the day for us and it was well worth the wait. Although the race took part outside there was an undercover gallery area where we could get a fantastic view of the contenders tearing down the field. Each sheep had a different coloured knitted jockey on them. There were a choice of 6 sheep to choose from and you could buy a badge to cheer it on. Our son chose Golden Fleece who had a jockey with yellow colours on it. If your sheep wins then you can swap your badge for a winner's one and get some goodies too. This only cost £1 and our son was very excited by the race. Unfortunately we backed the wrong one and it came in last but we still had fun and no sheep or jockeys were injured in the race. The way they get the sheep to run down the hill was simple. They had a sheepdog herding them down from one area to the pen at the bottom.

                ***Other Information***

                These activities kept us busy the whole day and there was no time for us to get bored. If you did have some energy to burn after all this though then you can pop next door to the South West Mountain Boarding Centre and with your ticket to Big Sheep you can get free use of the centre, the lift and free lessons. We didn't go to this as we didn't think it would be suitable for our son who is 4 but there is apparently an extra charge for hiring the boards and the safety equipment.

                There is also another restaurant, which serves a more adult style of meal and although we didn't eat here it did look lovely and clean inside and had some outdoor tables too. We had our picnic at some other wooden tables before the rain came on and these were spotless too. My son was kept amused by a cheeky sparrow that kept looking at us hopefully until we threw it a little bit of bread.

                Throughout the summer holidays there is also a pottery display area but as we visited at the start of July, this had not started. There are also special events at Easter, Halloween and Christmas along with a few special festivals throughout the summer months, including horse shows, gourmet evenings and a beer festival (again Tange and Proxam may be interested in that one).

                You can also book the Ewetopia section for birthday parties and the usual goody bags and food are included. You can get more information about these on the website.

                No attraction like this would be complete without a gift shop and this one is very nice. The prices of the toys and books were very reasonable and my son chose a small bunny to buy with his holiday money. This was only £2.50 so we were more than happy to let him get it. There was also a good selection of preserves, shortie and of course the beer to choose from, all from local suppliers.

                This attraction is wheelchair friendly and allows guide dog entry although other dogs are not allowed into the area. There are some free kennels which are available on a first come basis and a large dog walking area.

                ***My Thoughts***

                This was an excellent day out and well worth the money, especially getting the half price deal, as it only cost us £11.50. There were a great deal of different things to do here and we were never bored as we watched and learned about all the shepherding information. The guys who presented the shows were brilliantly entertaining and funny. They interacted with the audience and made us all feel like we were very welcome.

                I think this park is a fun and novel way of showing children that there is more to life than just elaborate theme parks with big rides. Although we live in a town, we are used to seeing farm animals around the area, but I know that for many children who grow up in cities rarely get to see animals such as sheep and pigs close up so this would be a fantastic opportunity for them to experience something completely different.

                Apart from the sheep race at the end of the day, my favourite part had to be feeding the lambs. They were lovely and my son thoroughly enjoyed this special job. This was just something that you would not normally get a chance to do and was a very rewarding experience.

                ***Prices & Opening Times***

                Adults £7.95
                Children £6.95
                Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) £29.50

                Children under 3 feet tall are allowed in free which stops any fighting about ages. There are discounts available if you pre-book and for schools, etc.

                If you come back within a week you can get in for only £2.50 each.

                The Big Sheep is open all year round but has limited opening times and shows in the winter season although prices reflect this and you are encouraged to phone for details.

                The summer season runs from 1st April until the end of October and is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

                ***Address and Phone Numbers***

                The Big Sheep
                North Devon
                EX39 5AP

                Tel: 01237 472366


                This also appears on Ciao with pictures of our day out.


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