Last rays at sunset
sailboat lazes in the glow
while tide turns again
Last rays at sunset
sailboat lazes in the glow
while tide turns again
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.
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,
but there are no fit men to watch today!
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.
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.
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.
Before striding on eastwards towards the golf course and a view across the estuary to Exmouth.
So, I’m on the crest of the dunes surrounded by beauty
Maybe this will help explain where I was
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
and my path back to the car park
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.
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.
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 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.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my monochrome images and you can still join in!
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!
And I was inspired to try a poem,
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
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.
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!
Check out lots of interesting walks with Jo here, http://restlessjo.wordpress.com/jos-monday-walk/