Tag Archives: Devon

Another Bench by the Sea

Jude, I promise you there is a beach down there when the tide is out. The problem is you would need to swim, paddle board or arrive by boat. Or, you could roly-poly, because unless you ‘re one of the hundreds of sheep that live on the side of the hill below the coast path, I don’t think you could walk down to it.

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This bench is on the South West Coast Path, England’s longest waymarked footpath, 630 miles around the peninsula from Minehead in Somerset, via Cornwall and Devon to Poole in Dorset. It goes without saying that is it one of the best walks in the world. Pick yourself a stretch when you visit the UK.
Jude’s Bench Challenge for May is ‘At the Beach’ and you still have time to join in.

Strolling Route 2

I set off to Dart’s Farm today for a stroll around their fields with the dogs, they have a farm walk, a bird hide and fishing lakes as well as the shopping experience they are well known for. It was a beautiful afternoon and I decided that I wanted to walk a bit further than Dart’s could offer, so I crossed over and took a path that joins the Exe Trail, which runs up the river Exe to Exeter and back down the other side. It’s part of National Cycle Network route 2 that will eventually run all the way from Kent to Cornwall.


The section that runs alongside the Exe is around 16 miles and must surely be one of the loveliest. Just below Topsham on the picture, you can see Darts Farm, where I began,


it’s the  modern building in the distant background to the right. The white house boat must belong to someone, I hope they rescue it before it rots away, I know I’d like to.

The bridge above has one of the newest sections, with great views over Bowling Green marsh.


I’m striding along now, parallel to the railway line that I travelled on the day before, taking two of my grandchildren to the beach at Exmouth. The old bridge spans an area with an inlet that probably floods at times.


it’s certainly soggy today.
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I’m heading towards Exton now and the views of the river are gorgeous.But the railway line and a fence are in the way. Never mind, the path  turns inland through the little village of very expensive houses, and out the other side.

The river gets wider and Exmouth is in the distance, my favourite estuary. I pass by the Royal Marines commando training centre,

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but there are no fit men to watch today!
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Instead I pass a group of young people in fatigues yomping along. They may be cadets, definitely not marines, they were having too much fun.

It’s a really warm day and while I don’t mind walking in full sun, the dogs are getting elderly so we sit, so  they can rest and nibble on the cleavers, and then retrace our steps. We didn’t quite reach Lympstone.


The tide was lower as I headed back inland, there were fewer cyclists and walkers going by, and the only sounds were birdsong. I had a lovely walk, around five miles and flat apart from going through Exton.
I hope you enjoyed it, and Jo too, as I’m posting for her Monday Walk.

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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

Day Five of Five, the Black and White Challenge

Day five and my last entry. Another little find from my visit to Greenway last year. This pipe holder was on the wall and belonged to Agatha Christie’s husband, Max Mallowan. If you’re a Christie fan, Greenway is well worth the trip to Devon, she used several places on the estate as settings for her novels.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my monochrome images and you can still join in!

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!

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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