One of the things I most love about where we live is the huge choice of free days out. You may remember back in the autumn, we visited a multi-era reenactment camp and the World War II area was in an educational farm called La Ferme Vernaelde. I thought it looked like a great place to visit in its own right and decided we'd head back another day. Half term was the perfect opportunity to pop back and explore.
The first thing we saw was a very muddy field full of donkeys.
They were very friendly and came right over to the fence to see us. There are signs everywhere saying that you mustn't feed the animals so they must genuinely like getting attention from people.
They even trailed along behind us as we walked along the side of the fence. We laughed about the shadows from the fence making them look like Teenage Mutant Ninja Donkeys !
Despite supposedly being the animals that like wallowing in mud, the pigs were having none of it and stayed safely out of harm's way in their pen.
The goats were much braver though. Pierre was stunned to see that they had playground equipment in their pen for them to clamber on !
This one apparently had a poorly foot. He was skidding all over the place in the mud so we wonder if he'd twisted his ankle (if goats even have ankles).
He seemed happy enough munching on the grass though so it can't have been that bad.
Moving on, we saw geese ...
guinea pigs ...
As is often the case in this neck of the woods, we stumbled across a World War II bunker. These are dotted all over the place in Dunkirk - you may remember when we visited them on the beach and even saw one that has been covered in shards of broken mirror like a giant mirror ball !
Apparently this one housed ten German soldiers - it must have been a bit of a tight fit in there.
As this is an educational farm, there are various things such as a vegetable patch, a compost heap and this insect hotel to teach kids about gardening and wildlife.
There are also various things made ot of wood, such as this tractor which Pierre thought was very cool because the steering wheel goes round.
There was also a very large aeroplane made out of tree trunks.
And a totem pole next to a teepee, which Pierre thought was brilliant, because he'd been learning about them at school.
It certainly seems to be popular with the local bird population as there was a huge flock of pigeons on the roof of the main building.
We went inside and discovered that it was the stables.
We wandered along patting the horses and reading their names.
There was also a chart at the end with symbols next to each name to show you their mood - happy, grumpy, under-the-weather - so that you know whether to stroke them or leave them alone. I might have to adopt this approach at The Madhouse now that the teenage strops are kicking in !
At the end were some very cute little Shetland ponies and, walking around the corner, we came across the indoor riding zone with tiny children learning to ride ponies.
It was a great place to visit and I'm sure we'll be back when the weather gets better because there were some walks signposted but the fields were very muddy.