Tag Archives: England

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

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.

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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!

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

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.

This is what yellow means!

Yellow is an optimistic colour for me.  It means one thing in particular – SPRING, my second favourite time of the year. Here in the northern hemisphere we are just two days from the winter solstice, a day that fills me with joy. While I know that we have several months of cold, wet weather, I am reassured that each day will be longer by a barely perceptible minute and in a month’s time the sun will rise before I walk to work. I know that one day in February I will stop in my tracks, t smile at a primrose smiling back at me, its sunny yellow heart blowing a kiss. Primroses Before long, yellow signs will be everywhere. “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin     

The year’s at the spring,

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hill-side’s dew-pearled;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in his Heaven— All’s right with the world!

Robert Browning

Yellow tulip

Before we know it, the temperature will rise a few degrees and my favourite spring flowers will take on more passionate yellow hues.  The equinox will insist on equality, and I, well I will leave off my gloves, happy that winter has departed.

Oh, to be in England

Now that April’s there

And whoever wakes in England

Sees, some morning, unaware,

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

In England – now!

Robert Browning

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, where Krista throws out a yellow curve ball as a change form the festive colours lots of us are surrounded by. You can join in here,

 https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/yellow/

me, I’ll just wait for spring and its glorious golden yellows!

Converging Stone Rows

Photos are visual spaces where shapes and lines, objects, and people come together, says Ben Huberman at the Daily Post and he asks for photos with the theme of ‘Converge’. I find the bronze age stone rows on Dartmoor fascinating, imagine the people that created these way back in time. My photo shows some of the stone rows that converge at the top of the hill above Scorhill circle heading towards Batworthy and Fernworthy.

converge
If you have photos that converge – and who doesn’t? share them here.

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