Today was what Kids of the Wild is all about. We have our big adventures and epic birthday parties, I’m drafting up our Madeira holiday, Caroline’s remission news and numerous other outdoor experiences, but what we’re really all about is getting outdoors as a family, enjoying nature, making memories (cancer is always looming in the background), encouraging others outside and having family fun! Additionally this is a shout out for a couple of small local businesses we discovered today.

A 2-day migraine delayed Friday’s blog post and its hangover brain-jumble left me unable to write any major posts all weekend. Instead we headed out to pick some pumpkins. It’s possible I love pumpkin picking more than Halloween itself!

Image of orange hanging sign with black writing stating Pick Your Pumpkins Here

Pick Your Own Pumpkins

We haven’t done this for a few years (read about our pumpkin PYO experience near Oxford) so we found a local smallholder, The Veg Hut, near Charlton Mires, Northumberland, with a PYO pumpkin patch. It’s a small enterprise and the pumpkins are a bit more expensive than the shops but I’d personally rather pay the extra to a small local business.

The Veg Hut

The Veg Hut is a cute little honesty shed, usually full of fruit and veg but apparently emptied by just one lady not long before we arrived!

Fortunately she hadn’t swooped all the pumpkins so we followed the ‘Spooky Stuff’ sign for a good mooch round the field where 5 different varieties were growing. We bought 4 as my sister will be here for Halloween, including the biggest warty pumpkin I’ve ever seen!

Image of smiling girl struggling to hold huge orange warty pumpkin in her arms

The Veg Hut was a real find and we’ll be back regularly for veg as well as a Christmas tree later in the year.

The Veg Hut is always open for veg via the honesty box but they recommend telephoning in advance for seasonal Halloween and Christmas opening times. More details on their Facebook page.

Chilled by a badly timed squall whilst in the field we went in search of a café and came upon the most delightful gem of a place only a few hundred yards up the road.

The Rocking Horse Café & Gallery

Well! Firstly, how have we not been here before? Secondly, how have I not tried a Northumberland Stottie before? And thirdly, this welcoming café is child friendly, seriously dog friendly and very definitely Wild Mummy friendly.

The Rocking Horse Café is a cosy, calm and relaxing room with views across rural Northumberland but easy access from the A1. With beams and log burner, comfy chairs and tasteful decor it was the perfect antidote to our windblown pumpkin harvest.

We sat at a mahogany table on an expensive wool rug amongst wonderful pieces of furniture and art, surrounded by carefully selected gifts for sale and exclusive photos by the ex-jockey Richard Dunwoody, a friend of the cafe’s owner.

Ethical Goods & Pilgrim’s Coffee!

There was local sheepskin on sale and yak wool shawls from Tibet (I’ve been a member of Free Tibet for over 20 years so this touched my heart) as well as doggy gifts and local produce including the delicious Pilgrim’s Coffee, ground in a yurt on Holy Island! Who knew?!

The Rocking Horse Café uses local produce and free range eggs. The menu is purposely compact to ensure they provide delicious food to a great standard, like the soft and fluffy Northumberland Stottie bread for my all day breakfast sandwich. Highly recommended.

Image of egg and bacon in large triangular roll with ramekin of ketchup and striped mugs on table
My all-day-breakfast Northumberland Stottie – you can see how soft it was

Dog Friendly

There is a lovely garden with countryside views, tables, swing seats and a dog agility course for visiting canines. Genius. Fidge loved it. As did Caroline who went round in more style than the dog!

Image of child in coloured clothes with black dog on lead jumping over multicoloured striped dog agility training bars

Image of dark haired smiling girl in red, green and blue clothing jumping over multicoloured dog agility bars with no dog

You can also wander round the art and antiques gallery and buy Persian rugs, and if that’s not enough, the café supports local charities by hosting events and donating 2/3 of their tips. I’m recommending this place to everyone.

The Rocking Horse Café is open 7 days a week from 9am in the summer and 10am during winter. The menu, location and more information can be found on their Facebook page

A Woody Wander

Fully sated and not really wanting to leave, we dragged ourselves out and drove to the village of Rock for a 2-mile walk.

It was an easy, flat walk through farm fields and woods that takes in the edge of a huge sawmill, ideal to walk off my Stottie and gentle enough for Fidge who’s not allowed off the lead following a biopsy.

We ambled in the autumn sun spotting fungi, birds, nests, hedgerow fruit, patterns in cut pine and two shy deer in the next field.

We savoured the re-emerging sun, the atmosphere and Nature’s autumn best. A perfect Sunday afternoon.

More things to do in Northumberland?

There are lots of ideas and inspiration at Kids of the Wild, from castles and cattle, to walks and beaches. Take a look at the things to do in Northumberland pages for inspiration.

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Check out some Halloween pumpkin ideas here – pumpkin carving and a really slimy fun trick or treat idea.

Wild wishes, Autumn explorers!