As Halloween approaches, you might want to go out and visit some spooooky places with the kids. These are some not-too-scary places that all the family can visit.
Mostly they just have really cool Halloween-y types of names, but won't scare any one! So no need to worry about nervous kids.
Firstly you could visit Devil’s Dyke in West Sussex. It is the largest Anglo-Saxon Dyke in Britain and a haven for flora and fauna.
It got its spooky name from a local legend which tells that the valley was dug by the devil who wanted to flood the local churches by digging a trench from the sea. He was interupted before he finished his work and the Devil's Dyke is what remains.
Actually the landscape was probably formed during the last ice age due to erosion which carved out the deep valley that you can see today.
The area has enormous archaeological and ecological diversity and this ancient landscape means that it has been designated an ESA (Environmentally Sensitive Area). It is owned by the National Trust and visitors can get a leaflet with a suggested walking trail.
Or how about visiting the stunning scenery of the Devil’s Punchbowl in Hindhead, Surrey? The legend is that the devil tormented the god Thor by pelting him with enormous handfuls of earth, leaving the great bowl that you can see today.
In fact, like the Devil's Dyke it was caused by more mundane water erosion caused by spring water beneath the sandstone that is common to the area.
Nowadays it is also owned by the National Trust and you can enjoy the countryside then eat a snack in the Devil’s Punchbowl Café.
Perhaps you would like to visit the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire?
The Hellfire caves are manmade, and were excavated by Sir Frances Dashwood and were venue for some of the most scandalous behaviour of the 18th Century.
This is where the notorious Hellfire Club held their parties - drinking, feasting and maybe even carrying out magical rituals. It is also reputed to be haunted by the ghost of the steward of the Hellfire Club.
They are now a popular tourist attraction and you can visit them to see the caves - but do bear in mind that these are underground, so not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
Halloween: 30+ Non-Food Halloween Treats Brilliant for kids with food allergies
Autumn Fun: Harvest Festival Activities for Kids Crafts for harvest time
Wookey Hole in Somerset is pretty spooky too – an underground cave where the Witch of Wookey Hole lives.
The stone figure of the whitch is reputed to be that of an old woman who lived in the cave with her dog and goats; the people of Wookey believed her to be a witch so they sent an abbot to exorcise her and she was turned to stone, along with her dog.
Today Wookey Hole is a massive tourist attraction - a whole day out. It includes kids play areas, lots of activities, museums, a penny arcade and a 3D cinema. Of course the highlight is a tour of the caves to see the Witch and her Dog. Again it is a cave, so it is slippery and not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
Related: Halloween Colouring Pages
Pendle in Lancashire was the location in 1612 of the notorious Pendle Witch Trials.
The 17th Century was a time of great suspicion of witches (usually they were village healers and most villages had one) and witchcraft which caused harm by magic was punishable by death. It was of course, difficult to prove in court however a number of men and women in Pendle were accused of witchcraft, many of them being found guilty and hanged.
This sad episode for British justice has become quite an industry for the town of Pendle, with bus tours of the main locations, a heritage centre, statues and gift shops full of witch-themed paraphernalia.
What they both have in common is that they are in deep valleys so are more suitable for a serious walk than a gentle stroll! And despite the spooky sound, Devil's Pulpit is probably just a corruption of an earlier place name.
The Devil's Pulpit in the Forest of Dean has a legend which holds that the devil would preach from here to the monks and occupants of Tintern Abbey below, while the Scottish one refers to a particular rock in a very deep chasm on Carnock Burn.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!