In a magical corner of Norfolk, tucked away behind tall trees, lies a land that time forgot...
A big welcome from Dippy!
Hello dino fans! Welcome to an enchanted tale about our dinosaur park. Packed with dino twists and turns and adventure around every corner – find out more about Archibald and Esme’s intrepid discoveries on this page!
A place to call home
When British aristocrats Lord and Lady Weston-Smythe bought the spooky Longtail Estate in 1906, they had no idea of the creatures who already called it home. They put the rumours of late-night roars and devoured deer down to locals trying to scare them off, and paid a princely sum for the land and small lodgings.
Archibald and Esme were an adventurous pair who had travelled the world, but now they wanted a place to call home, and the beautiful Norfolk surroundings were perfect for their children – intrepid explorers Henrietta and Cornelius – and scrappy terrier Rex to roam around and get messy, as well as a small holding for their deer and other animals.
The big dig
Henrietta had a keen interest in palaeontology, ever since she’d seen Dippy at the Natural History Museum in London – the dinosaur model had arrived from America the year before. She soon settled on a spot to begin her inaugural dig. Keen to be a dino-discoverer too, Cornelius tagged along, although he mainly made mud castles and put worms in his mouth. Just when Henrietta was about to give up hope of finding any bones, she spotted Cornelius playing with an unusual stone. Only it wasn’t a stone – it was a dinosaur tooth.
Soon Henrietta realised that they were sat on a giant T-Rex skeleton. Consulting her palaeontology textbook, she studied the bones and figured out they hadn’t been there that long. Perhaps only a few years. But how was that possible? Immersed in her thoughts (and Cornelius in his mud bath), they hadn’t realised that a large T-rex had tracked their scent and was stood right behind them.
Escape through the trees
Startled by the T-Rex’s mighty roar, Henrietta and Cornelius ran into the woods, the dinosaur hot on their heels. After making their way through the thick brush, they clambered up the branches and climbed from tree to tree, using vines to swing like two tiny Tarzans. At that height, the T-Rex could only watch, gnawing at the lower branches.
Soon Cornelius started to get hungry, and he began to cry. Henrietta, fearful of climbing down, didn’t know what to do. That’s when a large Diplodocus head appeared. The friendly dinosaur bows its head for the two children to climb aboard, and they do. He takes them to the bottom of the garden so they’re home in time for tea. Henrietta names him Dippy.
Time to train
Archibald and Esme don’t believe their children when they regale them with their frightening adventure, but Henrietta wasn’t taking any chances. The next day, she set up an assault course to put her and Cornelius through their paces. They needed to be fit if they were going to stay one step ahead of T-Rex.
While they clambered and jumped, their faces red and hearts beating fast (and Cornelius constantly asking when it’s time for lunch), some smaller dinosaurs appeared curious about the commotion. They wanted to have a go too, Henrietta beckoned to them to join in, and soon she was leading a small troop of dino-buddies. They were scared of T-Rex too and wanted to out run him just like them.
The watering hole
Soon the gang was beat, and they all wanted to cool off, but T-Rex was guarding the small pond, so the rest of the dinosaurs were always going thirsty. Henrietta decided something had to be done. The friendly dinosaurs led her to a clearing with a sunken pit. It was dry, but not for long. The children dragged the rubber hose from the garden shed (Esme used it to water her rose bushes), put the nozzle in the pit and turned on the tap. Soon the dinosaurs were splashing around to their hearts’ content, cooling off in the summer sun.
Suddenly T-Rex appeared, and the dinosaurs scattered, terrified for their lives. Henrietta and Cornelius hid behind a bush. But rather than roar or chase after them, T-Rex tentatively approached the pool and lowered his head to drink. Then he sat down and started to cry. Henrietta hadn’t had much chance to look at him closely before, but it was obvious now that he was only young. Perhaps the T-Rex bones they’d found had been his mother’s and now he was all alone? Slowly she made her way closer, reaching out her hand to stroke the sad T-Rex’s nose. To her surprise, he didn’t flinch, but rather smiled at her, happy for the attention.
Slowly the other dinosaurs emerged, realizing T-Rex meant them no harm. He was hungry, but he didn’t want to hurt them. The other dinosaurs brought vegetation and fruit from the forest, but T-Rex still needed to eat some meat. Henrietta had a bright idea. Maybe T-Rex could eat the deer meat her father hunted.
The dinosaurs crept along behind Henrietta as they made their way to the small holding. Cornelius pointed out all the pigs, sheep and chickens and told T-Rex not to eat any of them, before Henrietta pointed out the cold-store where the deer meat was kept. T-Rex could finally stop terrorizing the other dinosaurs and they could all live together in peace.
A Norfolk secret
For years to come, Henrietta and Cornelius explored the woods with the dinosaurs, discovering new bones and meeting new species. While Archibald often wondered where all his venison went, neither he nor Esme never saw a dinosaur, but that’s probably because they weren’t looking hard enough.
Today, their estate is open to the public. You can come and explore the same treetops, watering holes and assault courses that Henrietta and Cornelius did. In other parts of the world, they say that dinosaurs are extinct. But here at Longtail, we know better.
Keep your wits about you – you never know what’s around the corner.