A few days ago I was reading a favourite blog friends post about beaches, and something seemed familiar. I’ve seen photos of many wonderful places since I’ve been blogging, it’s great to see parts of the world I’ll probably never get to visit in reality. Australia is one of those places and Eurobodalla beach in particular, and yet I feel a connection. So when Meg posted images of Broulee beach I looked through my photos to try to find out why. These rows where Dido and Daisy are paddling remind me of Meg’s beach As does this crisscrossing in the rock. and the view at Hartland is rather like Narooma!
And these are similar to Meg’s Smugglers Cove photos. Craggy rocks with winkles. Crops of determined little flowers Even surfers, but I expect they are colder than any near Meg. Pay a visit to Meg and see if you don’t agree with me, Hartland in North Devon has a lot in common with these beaches in New South Wales. To find Hartland on a map of the UK, first find South Wales, then go due south.
The Byes, in Sidmouth is a gentle and level riverside walk, ideal for all the family. The River Sid is just 6 miles long and the walk follows it from the centre of Sidmouth to Sidford. We began walking at the Old Toll House,
and continued along past the waterfall.
and had a leisurely stroll with two happy dogs There are beautiful old trees
The blue sky made the river look appealing and there are plenty of bridges to cross
The weather hasn’t been very wonderful for a Christmas walk, this was only a short distance so I need to get an awful lot more exercise to deal with the excesses. Hopefully New Year’s holiday will bring some opportunities!
After catching a couple of bargains in the sales, we walked on down to the beach
Where the light was quickly fading
into splendid Sidmouth sunset. The seaside photos were taken with my phone, I’m afraid I was fed up with carrying the big camera!
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.
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.
The river Avon is the furthest west, flowing into the sea near Bigbury, in the beautiful South Hams.
The river Teign flows down from Dartmoor to the estuary between Teignmouth and Shaldon.
The Dart also descends from Dartmoor to reach the sea at Dartmouth, via another of my favourite places, Totnes.
Back to east Devon, the Axe joins the sea at Axmouth, with Lyme Regis just around the corner in Dorset.
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.
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!
Watch out for adders
The wood on a bright day
Ferns, moss and lichen
Beware the Serpent
Gnarled and twisted
Wizened and moss covered oak
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.
. . . was last week, and I spent two evenings there enjoying the street entertainment and the lovely relaxed atmosphere.
As always there were lots of crazy characters around.
Good food, I remembered my favourite from last year, so joined the queue again.
For falafel and goodness salad stuffed pitta with grilled halloumi on top.
There was folk dance around the town, and beside the sea.
and the girls from Fosbrook accompanied their dancers on violin.
A nice drop of special Annings cider!
The fabulous samba band Street Heat, chilled outside the Anchor before their performance on the sea front.
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 :-)
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.
Classic sports car
Rows of Minis
A splendid 1913 Rover
An old local fire engine
Being a country show there are always plenty of flowers.
Cottage garden plants
Lots to choose from
Bugs hotels are very popular
Add some rural crafts.
Willow basket making
Spinning a yarn
Bobbins for Honiton lace
I’d better not linger here
But the Ceylon Curry House do the best lunch!
The odd tractor is a must
And I’d love one of these.
A burst of Kalash Tribal is a must see.
‘The Widecombe Wag’ interviews Kelly
Dynamic and feminine
What would a country show be without some livestock?
So, that was the Mid Devon Show 2014, and I’m already looking forward to next year, maybe you’ll be there too?
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.
The stuff of coastal folk
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?