Category Archives: England

St Ives Beaches, I do like to be beside the seaside

On Saturday I spent the day in St Ives, west Cornwall. It’s a tiny seaside town, just over a hundred miles from home and has limited parking, so when I learnt that there is a park and ride, it seemed like a good plan to leave the car there. Parking at Lelant Saltings was just a few pounds, and for £4 you can buy a return train ticket that allows you to travel between St Erth and St Ives, getting on and off as much as you want. This branch line is rated as one of the most scenic in the country.

Carbis Bay from the train
Carbis Bay from the train

Try to sit on the right of the compartment if you ever take this journey. As the train approaches St Ives, Carbis Bay is one of the first beaches you see, but you can see clear across the Hayle estuary to St Ives bay.

Our destination in the distance
Our destination in the distance

When you get off of the train there is a footpath with pretty hedges, leading to Porthminster beach (above) to the right and the town to the left.

See the railway bridge?
See the railway bridge?

And the pretty  path .

The pretty path
The pretty path

Now there’s a clear view of the harbour, especially if you zoom in .

The harbour beach
The harbour beach

But there’s no rush, lets have a look at Porthminster’s sand.

seaside1We’re going to skip on past the town now and have a peep at this little bathing beach.

I think this is called Bamaluz
I think this is called Bamaluz

and its resident poser! seaside8
On around yet another bend in the coastline,
The surfer's beach
The surfer’s beach

is Porthmeor.
Looking east
Looking east

Lastly, looking back from – I think – Porthgwidden.
St Ives is lucky to have so many beautiful beaches. Of course it helped that it was still early in the season, give it a month and these sands will be teeming with people.
The town isn’t just about beaches though, there are galleries galore, cutesy cobble streets and lots of foodie opportunities. I’ll be back with more sometime soon.

A Walk at Morte Point

Last weekend my friend Lindy and I went for a walk up in north Devon. I wanted to go to see Verity at the same time so I found a walk on the coast that was just 2.3 miles, perfect for the Dido and Daisy as well.

We arrived at Mortehoe, a pretty village, just before noon and walked up the road between the pub and church.

Mortehoe village
Mortehoe village

The lane climbing upwards was trimmed with spring wild flowers.

Wildflowers in the hedgerow
Wildflowers in the hedgerow

And the walls were full of life.

Navelwort waiting to bloom Jude
Navelwort waiting to bloom Jude

We walked past a pretty cemetery.

Cemetery with a view
Cemetery with a view

And the walk began

Back to the path

Looking west
Looking west
That's close enough to a sheer drop
That’s close enough to a sheer drop

There were sheep everywhere and the lambs were adorable

The lambs were at the toddler stage
The lambs were at the toddler stage

The path stretched ahead into bright sun.

The south west coast path
The south west coast path
Woolacombe is fading into the distance
Woolacombe is fading into the distance

We stopped frequently so the dogs could cool down, so I zoomed in again.

Something strange over there
Something strange over there

Can you see the stegosaurus back bone?

By now we were warming up, and wishing we’d brought all of our picnic lunch, instead of just a packet of crisps. But the walk was lovely in every direction.

Deceiving but a very steep drop
Deceiving but a very steep drop

There were some interesting rock formations.


The crest of the hill in the photo above was soon just above us.

The stegasaurus
The stegasaurus

Some suicidal sheep!

Sure footed sheep
Sure footed sheep

 

Not far to the point
Not far to the point
One more bend
One more bend

The rock was changing colour as we walked east towards Morte Point.

Made it at last

Morte Point
Morte Point

Morte, as I’m sure you know means death and it’s believed that Morte point got its name because the treacherous rocks caused a number of shipwrecks over the centuries. Smuggling was rife, and some of the wrecks may have been helped along the way by wreckers walking the coast with lamps to confuse the sailors in the dark. Having seen this rcraggy coastline, it must have been incredibly dangerous. According to the South West Coast Path website,

The Normans dubbed it the ‘Death Stone’, and claimed that ‘Morte is the place which heaven made last and the devil will take first.’

Time to head on.

Going east again
Going east again

The walk continued steeply.

Shallow water
Shallow water

My camera captured seals here but just as dark bobbing blobs.

The seals didn't want to sunbath
The seals didn’t want to sunbath

We were out of water and fairly certain that we’d missed a turning by the time we reached here.

The turning point
The turning point

But a slight hint of a path up to the right led us back the way we needed to take.

Familiar ground
Familiar ground

The gate leads through to the road by the cemetery.
nd35

The village shop supplied cold drinks and ice cream, which we followed with our picnic. The dogs flopped in the shade, tired but happy. The pedometer on my phone said I’d walked 5.5 miles, not the planned 2.3, but we stilled had some energy left to pootle around Ilfracombe.
I don’t know if Jo will be doing her Monday Walk this week but there’s always another day.

Distant Beaches

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. har1 These rows where Dido and Daisy are paddling remind me of Meg’s beach har4har5As does this crisscrossing in the rock. har2and the view at Hartland is rather like Narooma!

And these are similar to Meg’s Smugglers Cove photos. har3 Craggy rocks with winkles. har8 Crops of determined little flowers har6Even 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.

A Warren Walk

When I was child, if you lived in Exeter, to the east of the river Exe, your beach was Exmouth, to the west and it was Dawlish Warren.  Both beaches are around 10 miles from the city. Back then, in the dawn of time, most people didn’t have cars, but there was always the regular train or bus service, and there still is.

Summers were longer and warmer then, and the sunshine was, well, sunnier somehow.  Families would pack up their bags with sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls and cake, kids would take their buckets and spades. Sun lotion didn’t exist, so many would burn and peel a few days later, the lucky ones would just tan.  No-one thought anything of it, other than a touch of calamine lotion if it was sore.

Nowadays the Warren is a National nature Reserve and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and along with the rest of the Exe estuary, a Wetland of International Importance. Last weekend I took advantage of a few dry hours and took my camera for a walk.

In winter Dartmoor ponies are kept on the Warren to help maintain the grassland, I’ve seen some in the past but not on this visit sadly. The wetlands are teeming with wildlife, mostly elusive except to the ears.

I walked on past and got a glimpse of the beach.

dw7

dw8Before striding on eastwards towards the golf course and a view across the estuary to Exmouth.

dw9So, I’m on the crest of the dunes surrounded by beauty

dw10Maybe this will help explain where I was

scan0001

The wide area at the top is the sand spit right opposite Exmouth, but I pretty much stayed on the red path.

There are thousand of wildfowl and wading birds, I saw Oyster catchers, Wigeon, Brent Geese, and others that I don’t know the names of. The visitor centre had recorded far more that week than I was able to see because the tide was low, even though I walked around the curve of the sand spit to the bird hide.

The wind was getting up and the light was changing, so I headed back before the rain came in. So walking west, the beach was on my left. The big old terrace houses at Exmouth were clearly visible behind me

dw17and my path back to the car park

dw18

Looking inwards I could see the grassland again.

The Warren got its name because centuries ago, probably back to the middle ages, rabbits were raised there on a commercial scale, for both food and skin.

dw21

This is part of the holiday makers area, with amusements, cafes, a pub and several caravan parks nearby.The tide was right in, but there is sand under there! The bright beach huts are a fairly recent addition. In the 1970’s there were hundreds of traditional beach huts down here behind the beach.

dw22

I can’t remember them though, I was an east of the Exe girl and still am, you know how much I love Exmouth!

I hope you enjoyed my walk. It’s either one day late or six days early for Jo’s Monday Walk  but I’m never on time!

Everyone’s Journey is Different

Last week I took a four hour train journey home to Devon, longer and more complicated than it should have been because of railway work. I crossed platforms and hopped from train to train, and I couldn’t help wondering about other peoples journeys, where were they all going on a cold Sunday in January? Few people talk to strangers on trains (I talk to anyone as you know!), but one man, also travelling alone, suddenly laughed out loud so I smiled as our eyes met. He was doing a crossword and got an answer he’d been struggling with. The clue was ‘What islander has nothing behind him?’. The answer that he was amused by?’A Manx cat’. We laughed together, it was a nice encounter. The final leg of the trip was beautiful, but few people seemed to look out of the windows at the countryside as I do. One of the things about being a certain age is that to many people you become invisible, often annoying, but if you like to observe others as most writers do, it can be very useful. A lady opposite me was knitting, a bright pink little girls cardigan, and kept counting stitches, and to my right a young man watched a film on his laptop. Giggly teenage girls tried to paint each others fingernails but the movement of the train was making it difficult for them, and soft snores emanated from more than one passenger. Am I the only person who enjoys the beauty of the countryside? I did take out one techy toy, my phone, because I wanted to capture some of that beauty that we take for granted. Please forgive the image quality, fading light, reflections from the windows and a moving train don’t make for the best photos!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And I was inspired to try a poem,

Train Landscape

Swiftly the southern line takes me

‘longside pastures and heading west

where pannies flood but folds of dry

give shelter to the Sunday flocks

Winter furrows retreat to hill crest

no conifer plantations lurk here

just naked deciduous petticoats

seeded by natures wise hand

A nonchalant deer raises its head

and a much used murmuration flies

on a thousand dark starling wings

sweet balm to my home going eyes

through Dorset and on to green Devon

I ride the train through my heartland

Hive Beach Stroll

Friday was the most perfect winter day here and I had an extra day off, so it couldn’t be wasted! My friend and I set off heading east with a vague idea of perhaps Lyme Regis or Charmouth. Leaving the A30 at Honiton and taking the A35, a winding, up hill and down dale road passing through little villages, Wilmington, Kilmington and Raymonds Hill. Enjoying the view, high and wide, of east Devon and west Dorset, Golden Cap, a hill and cliff which is the highest on the south coast of England, waiting for me to climb one day.

Something took on us past the Charmouth and Lyme turning, towards Burton Bradstock, ten miles further and passing through we stopped instead at Hive beach which has a National Trust car park and access to the South West Coast Path. Hive is a noisy beach, not human noise but nature’s noise, as the waves crash onto the shore and then rush back down the steeply shelved shingle.

Shingle beach
Shingle beach

There were quote a few people walking off the seasons excesses on the beach so we thought we would check out the view from the cliff path.

Looking back onto Hive beach
Looking back onto Hive beach

We climbed quite high and Lyme Bay opened up.
Lyme Bay

A gap along the path
A gap along the path

At the highest point we looked north towards Bridport.

Countryside around Bridport
Countryside around Bridport

In the distance stands Colmer Hill, somewhere else I’d like to visit.

Colmer Hill
Colmer Hill

Then we circled around common land on the side of the hill.

The flat top hill is Golden Cap
The flat top hill is Golden Cap

And retraced our steps.

Lyme bay view
Lyme bay view

We had already sampled the Hive Beach Café’s coffee, so we set off to find tea and cake, tomorrow I’ll show you where!

We only had time for a short walk because the daylight was fading fast, but the area deserves some serious hiking, there is so much to see in West Dorset.

Lazy Poets Christmas Haiku

Merry Christmas everyone! I’m hoping for some sunshine today, like in this photo from Christmas 2012.  I hope you all have a good time and thank you for your lovely comments, support, kindness and inspiration yet again this year.

Later on, after a delicious Christmas lunch I’m off for a walk beside the sea – a tradition to blow away the cobwebs, maybe at Exmouth, maybe Sidmouth! Catch you soon xx

exmouth

Fresh, bright and breezy

As blue as Christmas can be

Exmouth beside the sea