Thursday, 30 April 2015

Simply Devonly

A cup of tea overlooking Lynmouth harbour
I'm in Devon! To be precise, Mr Robot and I are in Lynmouth. I first came here a couple of years ago on a photoshoot with work, and we've finally been able to come for fun.

Lynmouth is a lovely little seaside town with a tragic history: there are the usual stories of smugglers, Wordsworth and Coleridge ponked through, and in Victorian times the area became a popular holiday destination. Then in 1952 came the flood. It literally swept houses away. We're staying at Rock House, now alone on the seafront as the buildings beside it were destroyed by the weight of rubble and water that raced down the valley.

Today we walked upriver to the pretty National Trust property, Watersmeet. On the way we passed through what had been the village of Middleton. One house remains. The rest were swept towards the sea. You get the feeling that the area has never completely recovered. The site of one cottage is now a memorial garden.
ruined stone steps at Watersmeet memorial garden

The walk to Watersmeet wasn't long, but we frequently stopped to take photos so it took a good couple of hours. Watersmeet itself isn't one of those places you go around, it's more a stopping point at the heart of a web of country walks, with a cafe and a shop, but nothing to see inside. It was lovely sitting outside, sharing a cheese scone with the friendly birds.
the National Trust-owned fishing lodge at Watersmeet, Devon

Birds!
Little bird stealing crumbs

After that we slogged up a steep hill to Countisbury - the longest half-mile of my life; no other walkers bothered with that bit of the route. I swear it was like Sam and Frodo slogging up Mount Doom. All the way up I was telling myself 'Buns of steel! Buns of steel!' which rapidly became 'Keep going, there's a pub at the top.' Wordsworth may be one of my least favourite poets, but the old bore deserves kudos for being serious about his hillwalking!

Anyway, it was all very hobbity, and we are having a great time.

19 comments :

  1. It always helps to have a destination at the end of a hike (a pub is as good as any). Devon does make me think of holiday postcards (and Romantic poets) though I somehow never read about the heartbreaking flood.

    It looks beautiful-you chose a lovely time of year to visit.

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    1. The flood only affected a handful of tiny villages, so it's not well known outside the area. The valleys here are really steep - a 1-in-4 gradient, so when rain pours downhill, I guess the waters rise rapidly.

      The pub opposite has a cottage where Shelley allegedly spent his honeymoon - I'm a bit confused by that as he eloped to Scotland with Harriet, and you'd think they'd name Mary if it had been her.

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    2. Devon, how lovely, I have fond memories of childhood holidays there. I always need a destination if I'm walking, I'm not one for walking aimlessly and I loathe going uphill!

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  2. Haha, this was hilarious to read! Buns of steel! I shall remember that next time I go running, it makes exercise seem so much more...well, fun. Looks like a lovely excursion.

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    1. I came home half a stone heavier! I'km so annoyed and have no idea how it happened. Buns of LARD!

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  3. Ooh, that looks lovely, despite the sad history. Love those mossy stone steps.
    I'm quite partial to a bit of Wordsworth! xxx

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    1. Our head of department at university was a massive Wordsworth nut. I think it put very single lit graduate off him for life. I don't mind Coleridge so much.

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  4. Hope the pub was worth the climb. It looks such a lovely place.

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    1. It was a very good pub, and the trip downhill was much more enjoyable.

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  5. It looks lovely and you definitely earned a pint or two after that climb.

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    1. Ha, just the one pint - I didn't fancy either of us falling off the hill path when there was so little phone connection there, as we'd have been a good hour from getting help in some places.

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  6. I was aware of those floods, but only because James Herbert based The Secret of Crickly Hall in part on those floods (though he retrofitted them to 1943 rather than '52) glad you had a nice time

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    1. Ah, I was not aware of that - I shall add it to my reading list.

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    2. It's ok, not one of my favourite Herbert books and is a fairly standard haunted house tale. Interestingly when the BBC adapted it they shifted the locale to Yorkshire for some reason.

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  7. Devon.. a dreamy place.
    I've liked it's presentation in "Edwardian farm", they really showed some lovely features.. And I am a sap when it comes to all things green.
    Say: do they still grow daphodills thefe????

    Huge hug
    Give my best to Mr. Robot
    Marija

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    1. They do grow daffodils there! Lynmouth is the seaside town beside the river's mouth, and Lynton is the town up the cliff, and there's a little Victorian cliff railway to get people between the two, with daffodils growing up the side. Whoever planted them must have been very brave, and had a good sense of balance. Devon has two coasts, one south (where Edwardian Farm was filmed) and one north, facing Wales and the Atlantic, and we were on the wilder Atlantic coast.

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  8. Oh that looks so gorgeous! I'm glad you're having a fab time. I haven't been to that part of Devon. x

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    1. It's gorgeous. Very wild, but really lovely. We could see Wales from the coast, and I wondered if you'd made it to the beach yet!

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  9. What a well deserved break! Love that photo of the cheeky robin after your coffee (or maybe the vape!) Keep going, there's a pub at the bottom was our motto when we went to the Lake District, nothing gets you through the pain barrier faster than the promise of a pint of real ale! xxx

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