Having found an opportunity to get away and explore some of Devon in springtime, we decided to visit three areas. We planned seeing an area on the edge of Dartmoor, the north coast to visit friends in Barnstaple then travel down to south Devon. After a three hour drive in beautiful sunny weather we arrived at the edge of Dartmoor and set up on the Lydford Campsite.
Very soon we disappeared on an exploratory walk in the lanes nearby and found a beautiful wooded area by a river, the beech trees looked amazing with their new leaves in soft green glowing in the sunlight. The small river was very picturesque and had a bridge over it inviting us to explore the far side. There we found a sunken footpath leading us uphill between the trees which grow on top of the walls. These are known as Devon Hedges and are built with earth and stones between the walls and the shrubs, trees and plants grow on them making a very secure barrier, providing shelter to animals in fields and nice calm walking conditions in the lanes. Walking under a viaduct that used to carry a railway line, we came out at the top of the wood and walked along the field margins into the lane and back to the campsite for an alfresco meal in the sunshine.
Next day we walked Lydford Gorge which belongs to the National Trust, it was really beautiful with swathes of blue bells and wild garlic under mixed woodland.
The walk itself was along small pathways high above the river in the bottom, and along the way we noted around 30 different species of wild flowers and 20 different birds, including the elusive pied flycatcher which is nesting in the woods.
After around 90 minutes we had been descending steadily downhill we admired the wonderful The White Lady Waterfall which is 30 meters high.
Carrying on towards the end of the walk, The Devil’s Cauldron could be heard before it was seen. The sound of water roaring against the rocky gorge was quite loud and the black rocks were worn smooth by the action of the water which formed the deep cauldrons.
On the way back we stopped to look the pretty and very well kept village church. Next to it was a ‘Lydford Castle’, not so much a castle really, but a tower for imprisoning ‘naughty tin-miners’ so the plaque informed us!
As the weather was so pleasant, the next day we ventured out again in warm sunshine to walk the Granite Trail, leading among other places to Okehampton, a distance of 10 miles. The walk was level and easy along a decommissioned railway line, with a tarmac surface between the trees, hedgerows and fields offering tremendous views across open countryside beyond. Here we heard a cuckoo, the first of the year for us, the lambs were well grown and a few cattle dotted around the fields completed a beautiful day in the countryside.
We had our picnic when we entered Okehampton and later had a walk around the small market town looking at the local shops. However, shopping is not our ‘thing’, and after 3 hours of walking we needed a rest. Having found a pub with a lovely sheltered garden located on a high point in the town, we enjoyed a well-earned drink and views across the town to the hills beyond while waiting for the local bus that whizzed us back to Lydford in 20 minutes. That evening we treated ourselves to a meal at The Castle, a pub in the village with real character, excellent cooking and only 15 minutes walk back to Della waiting on the campsite.
Our three days at Lydford was at an end, next stop Barnstaple ……