Category Archives: Devon

Descending Devon’s Rivers

This week, Cheri Lucas Rowlands at WordPress Daily Post asks that we show photos of our interpretation of ‘descent’. We can take it literally, experimenting with point of view or take it deeper.

I’m going to show you the descent of my favourite rivers, six of them that all descend to the sea on the south coast od Devon.

If you’ve known me a while you’ll know how much I love estuaries, those liminal, transitional places that tap into our ancestral memories.

The first is my beloved Exe, flowing into the sea at Exmouth. exe
A few miles to the east is the river Otter – and yes, Otters and even Beavers have returned to the Otter!I’d like to be able to photograph them. otter
The river Avon is the furthest west, flowing into the sea near Bigbury, in the beautiful South Hams. avon
The river Teign flows down from Dartmoor to the estuary between Teignmouth and Shaldon. teign
The Dart also descends from Dartmoor to reach the sea at Dartmouth, via another of my favourite places, Totnes. dart
Back to east Devon, the Axe joins the sea at Axmouth, with Lyme Regis just around the corner in Dorset. axe
I’m going to end as I began, with the Exe. It may not be a mighty river like some around the world, but it’s my river and my soul is wrapped in it. exe descent

You can join in with the challenge and see lots more descents at,

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/descent/

Wistman’s Wood

It is believed that Dartmoor was almost completely covered in forest thousands of years ago, but it was gradually chopped down and used by the people living there at that time. Nowadays there are evergreen plantations and just a few natural woods remain, Wistmans Wood for one. It is a small, remote wood, just eight acres at a height of 1300 feet above sea leve,l with mostly oak trees, stunted by the poor soil and altitude. The surrounding area is open moorland, grazed by sheep, cattle and ponies. Without the clitter, fallen from the tors further up the hillside, the grazing animals would have put paid to Wistmans long ago. As it is, the clitter makes it impossible for them to gain foothold there.
Wistmans is one of many Dartmoor sites that is shrouded in myth and legend. Its name derives from Saxon wissen, to know, so Wissman’s or Wistman’s Wood, means wisemans wood and refers to the Druids and their sacred grove. You may indeed encounter the ghosts of druids past, if you dare to visit in the dark of the night. Far worse might be an encounter with the devil and his pack of fearful wisht hounds, Wistmans may be where he keeps them.
Rumour has it that adders lurk between every boulder, ready to strike if you dare clamber over, to find a path through the wood. What’s more likely to happen is that you will slip on damp moss and break an ankle, or worse, between these ancient granite rocks.
So brave traveller is you visit, listen for baying hounds, keep your eyes out for serpents, be careful what you turn your back on, and most of all if there’s a red flag flying stay away – the military have a firing area nearby and you don’t want to get shot!

Scarce hoarier seems the ancient Wood
Whose shivered trunks of age declare
What scath of tempests they have stood
In the rock’s crevice rooted there;
Yet still young foliage, fresh and fair,
Springs forth each mossy bough to dress,
And bid e’en Dartmoor’s valleys share
A Forest-wilderness”.
Sophie Dixon -1829.

Sidmouth’s 60th Folk Festival . . .

. . . was last week, and I spent two evenings there enjoying the street entertainment and the lovely relaxed atmosphere.
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As always there were lots of crazy characters around.


Good food, I remembered my favourite from last year, so joined the queue again.
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For falafel and goodness salad stuffed pitta with grilled halloumi on top.
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There was folk dance around the town, and beside the sea.


and the girls from Fosbrook accompanied their dancers on violin.
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A nice drop of special Annings cider!
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The fabulous samba band Street Heat, chilled outside the Anchor before their performance on the sea front.
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I burnt a few calories dancing to the beat. You can check them out here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2UI5jWqxBw
As if this wasn’t delightful enough, I also had a lush salted honeycomb ice cream
Jo Bryant if you come to the south west next year come in early august :-)

An English Country Show

Saturday was one of those steamy July days when a craft marquee isn’t the best place to spend the day. Luckily for me, I was able to escape at regular intervals and check out some of the goings on at the Mid Devon Show. There’s always lots to see, but I only ever manage little glimpses. Here are some of them, starting with some classic cars.

Being a country show there are always plenty of flowers.

Add some rural crafts.

Tasty treats.

The odd tractor is a must
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And I’d love one of these.
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A burst of Kalash Tribal is a must see.

What would a country show be without some livestock?
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The prettiest cow ever
The prettiest cow ever

So, that was the Mid Devon Show 2014, and I’m already looking forward to next year, maybe you’ll be there too?

Early Beer

On a sunny Sunday at Beer in East Devon, it pays to be around bright and early to enjoy the peaceful beach. With blue skies and the crunch of the waves on the pebbles and just a few people it’s a perfect spot.

Looking east
Looking east
A shimmering horizon
A shimmering horizon


The stuff of coastal folk

As blue as can be!
As blue as can be!

Busying up, it's 10 am and there must be 10 people on the beach!
Busying up, it’s 10 am and there must be 10 people on the beach!

Looking West, Branscombe is around the corner, I don’t think you can walk it at beach level, but you can always climb up to the South West Coast Path.
I hope you liked an early peep at Beer?

Beer Beach

The craft fair season has begun and today I’ve been to a regular venue at Beer, in east Devon. It was a glorious spring day with a cool breeze coming off the sea, and lovely for  a stroll.

On the way to the beach
On the way to the beach

 

The Lively Lady on the pebbles
The Lively Lady on the pebbles

 

Looking east along the beach
Looking east along the beach
Beach huts waiting for summer
Beach huts waiting for summer
Time for a sit down
Time for a sit down
Lobster pots
Lobster pots
The fish shop on the beach is as fresh as you can get
The fish shop on the beach is as fresh as you can get

Plants will always strive to grow in the most unlikely places, including high up on the cliff face at Beer, the bright yellow and purple ones are wild wallflower. I think the more delicate yellow are a type of wild cabbage and the paler mauve are a mallow variety.

The beach at Beer is very special, unspoilt and traditional,  with ice cream and crab sandwiches, pebbles and driftwood and the opportunity to try your hand at mackerel fishing.

If ever you’re in Devon, pay Beer a visit, try a crab sandwich and then perhaps a  walk on the coast path to build up an appetite for cream tea!

Dawlish trainline, checking for progress

For the 100 word challenge for grown ups this week  I wrote about  the storm damage to the trainline at Dawlish. I’ve since been to see how things are going, but it was no surprise that I couldn’t get very close. Here are some phone pics.

Dawlish is a quaint little seaside town ful of old -fashioned charm.

The train journey west continues to Teignmouth and from there you can get a ferry to Shaldon. I ‘ve posted about both in the past.

http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/teignmouth-my-last-day-off/

http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/starting-and-finishing-with-boats/

The workmen at Dawlish told me that the completion date for repair of the train track and sea wall is just before Easter, good news for locals and visitors alike.