Posted in England

Barnstaple, Devon – 11th – 13th May

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We left Lydford behind after 3 days, we headed north to the Barnstaple area and a small site on at Collacott Farm near Fremington.  These ‘Certified Location’ sites only allow a few ‘campers’ and it was full with only 2 caravans, 2 other motorhomes and us, we all had ample space around our pitches and a field in front of us with 3 alpacas to keep us entertained.  There was also a lovely view across many fields to the estuary of the River Taw beyond and a few wind turbines completed the picture.

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While we were in Spain in March earlier this year we met a lovely couple, Ro and Ian, who live in Barnstaple, hence our visit to this area.  After our lunch they came to the site to meet up again and they took us out to Instow a small village where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet with Appledore on the opposite side of the estuary. We walked along the beach with Cassie, their lovely cocker spaniel, it was a blustery, grey day and after a while we all decamped to a pub overlooking the beach.  Rain soon followed but we had a great time catching up with each other inside.

The weather had changed next day and although there was a lot of cloud around, the sun also put in an appearance for a while.

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We walked down from the campsite into the village of Fremington between the flower filled Devon hedgerows, predominantly blue with blue bells, speedwell and violets, and white with stitchwort, hedge-parsley and jack-by-the-hedge.  We heard the skylarks singing high above us, while lower down the jackdaws were being blown around by the wind. Further on at Fremington Quay, we saw the abandoned old skeletons of wooden boats stuck in the mud and brightly painted boats further beyond, a real vision of the timescale involved in the life of a quay.

20170512_105416We spotted shelduck, mallard and two whimbrel on the tidal mud flats before stopping off for coffee and flapjack at the café overlooking the estuary. After our refreshments, we walked all the way to Barnstaple along a coastal path with vast areas of salt marsh, swallows skimming the ground for insects, curlew, cormorants and gulls dotted around and cattle in the fields behind.

20170512_135505Eventually the old and the new Barnstaple bridges came into sight and we admired a few of the buildings on our way to finding lunch at the Rolle Quay.  A real taste of the past, with proper bubble and squeak made with vegetables from the Sunday roast, two sausages and an egg.

 

The walk was 7 miles from the campsite and with tired legs our pre-arranged meeting with Ro and her car was most welcome.  We enjoyed the rest of the day with her and Ian at their home, including a wonderful evening meal of salmon and several glasses of wine eventually arriving back on the campsite at midnight!

We all got together again on our third and final day, Ian drove us out to Hartland Point west of Bideford and north of Bude.  The scenery is dramatic with the rocky outcrop standing at 325ft with fascinating rock layers moved in multiple directions, contorted and twisted over the passage of time.  There was pink thrift and yellow kidney vetch everywhere making a very pretty backdrop as we sat down to admire the view and have lunch and a drink in the sunshine.

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The tide was out showing the rocks leading out to sea, there was once a harbour here but the terrible storms took their toll and eventually after years of repairs the old pier head and wall were destroyed in 1887.  The route home took in Appledore and an ice cream on the sea front, doing a spot of people watching, looking over the sandflats at people walking out there as the tide was coming in, foolish to say the least.

Back in Barnstaple Ian fired up the BBQ and we were soon enjoying a feast with a few glasses vino tinto to help the party along!  We had such a great time with Ro and Ian; a chance meeting in Los Escullos, Spain a few months ago and a shared interest of motorhome travelling, has developed further with our visit to Barnstaple and more plans for Spain in the Autumn!

Ottery St Mary – 14th May

For the last 3 days of our break in Devon, we left the north coast and headed south to Putts Corner near Ottery St Mary, inland from Sidmouth. We relaxed after setting up and enjoyed a bottle of Rosé in the sunshine, the forecast for the next few days is not so good so it would be rude not too!

20170515_161100The British weather finally showed her cards when it poured down all night which was very noisy on Della’s roof. We had large trees behind and to the side of us and the debris in the morning was plain to see over us and everyone else. There was a mist over the campsite and it was like looking through a veil.

Using the time wisely, I continued learning my Spanish (ready for subsequent visits) and eventually progressed to writing this blog.  Eventually cabin fever took over, the rain stopped briefly around 4pm, and Chris and I legged it through a beautiful bluebell wood to the pub for a change of scenery.

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After only one drink in a near deserted pub we retraced our steps back to the campsite to watch TV.  The weather had beaten us virtually all day.

This morning we listened to the forecast which turned out to be more of the same and decided to abandon our last day in Devon and disappear back to a hopefully sunny Salisbury.

Well it has certainly been dryer, except for a couple of short showers, and this afternoon I have been able to paint more of the fence!!

Posted in England

8th – 10th May – Lydford – Devon

May 2017

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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.

20170509_12594020170509_133847 AAfter 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.

20170508_160227On 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 enjoyed 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 ……