An egg hunt without chickens is one of the attractions organised by the National Trust in Avebury - poster at right. These hunts have been running since April 8 with help-yourself-timings between 11.00am and 4.00pm. As well as those Cadbury eggs, you can hunt for spring hares or get creative with craft activities. Call 01672 538036 for details.
The Great Lydiard Park Easter Egg Trail - Sunday, 16 April 2017 - 10.00am to 4.00pm (last admission 3.00pm) £4 per child. (Parking charges apply.)
Faux Arts in The Parade, Marlborough have many arts and crafts opportunities for youngsters. Details on their website or 01672 512031.
Wiltshire Museum in Devizes is open Friday, April 14, Sunday, April 16 and Monday, April 17 from 12.00am to 4.00pm - and on Saturday, April 15 from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
On Wednesday, April 19 the Wiltshire Museum runs holiday activity sessions: Colourful Textiles - including felt making, bookmarks, pictures and plaited bracelets. Suitable for ages 11 and under - under 8s must be accompanied. £5 per child. Booking essential. Details and booking here.
Characters from the past - clues - prizes: English Heritage hosts an Easter Adventure Quest at Old Sarum - last day Monday, April 17 - 11.00am to 5.00pm. Free to members - non-members £4.80/£2.90.) Booking not necessary.
Studley Grange (near M4's junction sixteen) has Butterfly Wolrd, Farm Park and Craft Village. Tenrecs from Madagascar are their latest attraction. A Tenrec? It looks like a hedgehog but has gone down different evolutionary paths. Fascinating. And for children who like bending things - Studley Grange's resident blacksmith will be offering drop in sessions for children to try their skills. Details here.
For those who reckon they can tell one end of a horse from another, Friday, April 14 sees the Many Clouds Lambourn Open Day - renamed this year in honour of Many Clouds the Grand National winner who died at Cheltenham in January seconds after winning his second Cotswold Chase. He was trained by Oliver Sherwood in Lamborun.
The day-long event includes visits to many of Lambourn's famous training yards and in the afternoon a welter of events for all the family in the main arena. More details here.
For horse racing fans there is the famous Cazenove Capital Point-to-Point & Country Day at Lockinge (near Wantage): activities from 11.15am and first race at 2.00pm.
General admission is £25 per car (single occupancy £10) and pedestrians are £5 per person. Gates are open from 10am. Excellent viewing available from the hillside.
Back in the real and old world, Crofton's world famous beam engines will be in steam from Saturday, April 15 to Monday, April 17. A spectacle, a history lesson and a science lesson - or you can just sit and watch the canal traffic go by. And there is a cafe. Prices and opening times here.
And this is a Studley Grange Tenrec
Shepherds Hut restored by John ErringtonOnce a relic rotting on the Downs, made redundant as mechanised farming techniques began to invade the traditional lifestyle of the sheep herder on Wiltshire’s rambling grasslands, and shepherds found that Land Rovers, other 4x4s and Quad Bikes meant that they didn’t have to live out with their sheep, a restored shepherd’s hut is rapidly becoming a desirable addition to a garden, as a summerhouse, garden office or even as ‘glamping’ accommodation.
John Errington, a retired farm manager from Wanborough was aware of many of these sad once-proud mobile homes and made a decision to bring them back to a condition which far exceeded that of the original which once graced the Downs as accommodation for the Wiltshire shepherd.
The earliest shepherd’s huts can be traced back to around the fifteenth century. Sheep were very valuable and provided one of the main sources of income in those days. These first shepherds huts would have been very basic covered carts.
Gradually the sophistication developed, incorporating seating, bedding and a stove for warmth, but still pretty rudimentary although a welcome haven for the shepherd looking after the flock grazing on the vast expanses of Wiltshire’s Downs far away from the farm or nearest village.
John’s restored huts date back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.
Most huts were made locally to their use and although all huts were basically the same, individual variations did occur. These are mainly where the door is situated. some at the front and some at the back. Window placement also varies depending on who made the hut or the purchasing shepherd’s requirements. The major differences were in appearance with some constructed from corrugated iron whilst others were clad in wooden boards.
All of John’s restored huts will be in pristine condition with all major components replaced or restored to a standard better than they were when new. An example is one hut recovered from just outside Salisbury which was in very poor condition when found. Over the years the wooden part of the axles had rotted away and had been replaced with railway sleepers (not mobile an more). New oak axles were the first step in the restoration, followed by a new floor, whilst the inside sides and ceiling were able to be recovered and restored as was the structural frame and floor supports.
A new stove was fitted to the restored hut which was insulated thoroughly as part of the process of bringing it back to life, and it now features a drop down table, two windows (with curtains) and a day seat which converts to a bed.
John can provide a restored hut to order. Some he can source and restore to the specification of the news owner, some can be purchased in an already-restored state, or some can be supplied in an unrestored state for John to bring back into a desirable and usable condition.
Or, if you already have a Shepherds Hut that is in poor or original condition and in need of restoration, get in touch with John as he will be able to transform it to whatever condition and or design that you may wish.
One of John's restored Huts is now sited at the Three Trees Farm Shop & Cafe, on the A346 at Chiseldon.
Dining areaSeat that converts to a bedWood stove for heating and cookingRestored but original wheels