Letting off steam at Lappa Valley
All Aboard . . . a day at Lappa Valley Steam Railway
We arrived quite late in the evening on Saturday after a long drive to Cornwall and spent our evening sifting through leaflets for local attractions to make plans for the week ahead. One attraction which immediately stood out for our train-loving Beans was Lappa Valley Railway near Newquay. It also had the added bonus of being just over an hour away from our base at Newleigh Farm which meant there was a chance of the Beans sleeping to re-charge themselves for a day of fun.
After winding our way through the narrow Cornish Country roads we found ourselves in a chalky car park with a small play area outside the main ‘station’ building. We never tell the Beans where we are going, that way if plans change we don’t need to handle the disappointed whinges and whines of four grumpy children.
All aboard Zebedee
Our train, Zebedee, had just pulled into the station and was ready to leave so we quickly bought our family ticket and boarded the train with the very excited Beans. Jelly Bean in particular is a HUGE train fan so he was beside himself with excitement.
East Wheal Rose
Zebedee carried us along the mile long track through the Countryside passing woodland and streams, under bridges and out into an open expanse of land known as the East Wheal Rose Leisure Area. The East Wheel Rose mine had been abandoned in 1885. In 1975 a large boating lake was excavated to improve the environment and drain the surrounding area since it had become a swamp.
Over the years the area has been landscaped beautifully and play equipment and small steam railways have been added to make a beautiful play area. The Beans had a blast chasing up and down the hills, climbing up, over, under and through all the adventure play equipment pretending to be knights, getaway drivers and pirates.
Whistle Stop Cafe
We stopped for lunch at the Whistle Stop café and when in Cornwall what else do you have for lunch but a Cornish Pasty!!! As soon as the Beans had finished their lunch bags, they expended a bit more energy running around the brick and turf maze which is based on Trevithick’s Railway locomotive of 1804 leaving Daddy and I to enjoy our coffee and watch on.
Man the boats!
After lunch we took to the water in the canoes, I wasn’t sure that Jelly Bean would like it but he LOVED it and was telling me to go faster and faster. Curly and Little Bean managed to manoeuvre their boat around the lake with relative ease and Daddy and Beanie Boy went from one canoe to another making sure that we were all ok. When it was time to take the canoes back to the quay the Beans complained as they would have happily stayed on the water all day long. Hubby and I have been toying with the idea of buying inflatable canoes to take away with us when we go camping but wasn’t sure if it would be something the Beans would enjoy – obviously this is now a definite possibility!!
We enjoyed train rides on APT outline a 4w+4w petrol single cylinder Honda 5hp (built by Mardyke miniature railways of Essex in 1982) and Eric the 0-6-0 diesel hydraulic shunter on the 10 ¼ inch Railway which took us on the Newlyn Brand Line to Newlyn Downes Halt where we disembarked and had a little play in the play area before running the Woodland Walk back to East Wheal Rose leisure area in an attempt to beat Eric (we didn’t win!).
Alas, our day at Lappa Valley was drawing to a close but we’d had a truly brilliant day and we were all sad to leave but we still had a ride back to the car park on Muffin to look forward to.
Our day at Lappa Valley cost just £40 for a family of 5 (Jelly Bean was free as he is still under 3 years old) and we felt this was well worth the money.