Winter Wonderland at Hidden Valley……

So excited to see the snow still here this morning, a little more had fallen, sometime during the night as all our footprints from yesterday evening had gone.

At first Poppydog just peered out the door at the whiteness, but once she realised that we were venturing out, she was off!! Scampering about like a pendulum at the end of the lead, so once we got to the unused field on site, I gave her ‘freedombird’ and she was away!

We watched the sun come over the hill, into the valley, Poppydog chased scents across the fresh snow (my ignorance but I didn’t think there would be any?) and the odd hapless small bird who happened to make their presence known until my toes and fingers said enough was enough!

On our return to the caravan, I realised the water container had partially frozen, preventing the pump from supplying us with water, as indeed had the nearby standpipe – shock horror! Anyone who knows me, knows I need my tea and that need can make me quite creative, so a kettle full of boiling water, fetched from the dishwashing area, poured over the standpipe soon had us back in business (and I am already prepared for tomorrow with a full kettle of fresh water on standby!).

I have decided that we shall stay put during this cold snap, as there is no point in adding to the traffic, if we don’t need to, also many of the lanes we have been travelling along to reach our walks are well off the beaten track and likely to be icy. Instead we took the opportunity to go for a long walk through the neighbouring woods (which we dismissed last week as being way too muddy) and enjoyed our very own Winter Wonderland.

On the way we captured this pretty lilac coloured heather, snuggling in the snow.

The moss growing on this tree stump, glistening in the sun.

And a lone random icicle just hanging from a branch.

And now we are back in the warm again, just as it starts to snow – I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Two thoughts of the day:

How nice to not be under any pressure to do or go anywhere in this weather!

If it snows enough, do you think the dirt on my car will just slide off with it?

Hunter’s Inn – well actually he wasn’t!……

Another chilly day as promised, but apart from the odd little flurry (well flutter really) of snow, a beautiful sun shiny day.

After a couple of easy days, we thought we would tackle a longer walk today and so we set of for the NT car park at Hunter’s Inn in Heddon Valley.

Basking in the sunshine, the Hunter’s Inn looked very welcoming, but closed! Not that we were intending to go in, just curious- anyhow we had a wonderful walk, here we took the soft option of a wide track, wending it’s way slowly up the side of the valley along the side of the hill all the way down to Woody Bay (which incidentally is suitable for mobility scooters). The track works its way through woodland at first.

Once above the woodland, you get a fabulous first view of Heddon Mouth and back over the surrounding hills.

On our way up the hillside we were accompanied by a cheeky robin, it felt like we were in Bambi! To say our guide was driving Poppydog wild is putting it mildly, until the savvy little robin dropped behind us and brought up the rear!

Up on the top, the views were just beautiful, looking across to Wales, watching the cloud shadows and little snow flurries move across the sea – breathtaking!

Up above Woody Bay the view along the coast towards Lynmouth afforded the first glimpse of our next Lighthouse and a rock arch down in the greens blue sea.

Look at this structurally beautiful gnarly (no silent g as it is more descriptive) oak.

When we got back down to the Hunter’s Inn, we followed the river Heddon down to Heddon Mouth. The tide was fully in so I’m not sure what the beach is like – but not a bother, we have had a fantastic long walk and barely seen another soul.

Two thoughts of the day:

We are still very warm and cozy inside, in spite of the extreme conditions outside.

I was toying with the idea of ‘chasing the snow’ – hey no need!!!!

Combe Martin – who?….

Well they forecast cold and guess what? We got cold – when Poppydog and I set out for our morning jog- sorry I meant stroll, her water bowl was frozen, so I emptied it out and put fresh water in and by the time we got back it had frozen over again! So we were mighty glad to get back inside and get cozy again!

Still we had a lazy day yesterday, so after some superhuman strength to go and get a shower in the chilly shower block (the showers themselves are nice and hot, fortunately) we set out to visit Combe Martin.

I visited Combe Martin, many years ago as a child and remember it quite fondly, however allowing for the fact that that was in the middle of the summer holidays and this us midwinter, time has not been kind. The village sprawls along the main road and can by no stretch of the imagination be described as pretty! Nearly everything was closed and in many cases, by the looks of things, more permanently than seasonally. The only exception being the freshly painted pub/B&B the Pack of Cards.

I remember being fascinated by the place and counting the 52 windows, 13 chimneys and 4 doors – but oh how disappointing, quite a few of the windows have been filled in and chimneys are missing – I didn’t bother popping in to see if the internal decor made up for this! So we pressed on to the beach instead.

This indeed was as calm and sheltered as I remembered, no surfing to be had here, but it all looked just a little drab and unloved- maybe the summer sunshine lifts the place? The beach is a mixture of fine sand and small stones, though I did manage to find a small hoard of sea glass whilst playing with Poppydog, so all was not lost!

Well all I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t pay to park the car!

Two thoughts of the day:

How sad to see places so run down, yet judging by all the camp / caravan parks in the area it must be heaving in the summer months!

Why are current day housing estates allowed to be built, such that they will not wear well with time, just look neglected and ugly very quickly?

From Hele to Watermouth Warren…….

Frosty again this morning, but sun glorious sun, so the day can be forgiven for not warming up much! We parked up above Hele which is really just an extension of Ilfracombe, with great views back over Hele and on to the terrain that is today’s walk and I must say not looking overly level!

And indeed it wasn’t level in the slightest – I for one would be quite happy just to wander along the top looking down and don’t always feel the same need as the coastal path to follow every up and down and roundabout that every headland offers!

The footpath was very muddy and slippery in places and very soon I was carrying an extra couple of kilos on each boot of good old Devonshire mud! Still all good for the exercise I guess and good for the soul we’re these breathtaking views.

We meandered up and down, passing the pretty little cove of Widmouth with its private beach (can you have a private beach in this country?).

Until around the corner was our destination Watermouth and the Warren across the bay.

The beach at Watermouth didn’t look very appealing, appearing to be more of a harbour really.

So we wandered around onto the Warren to look at the strange round lookout hut at the end.

On the return journey we had a look at Watermouth Castle which is now a family attraction, though not open until Easter, not very impressive as far as castles are concerned, I’m sure we will find better!

The bus stop outside was quite tempting, but no, the sun is still shining and I’m sure we have got enough in us to make it back – shame that yet again I forgot to pack an apple!

Funnily enough the walk back was just as far, but with the sun on our faces and the cold wind behind us, Hele Bay was soon in sight.

Two thoughts of the day:

Am day dreaming about the flatness of Norfolk but in reality that is a few years down the line yet!

I feel an easy day coming on!

Down in Fuchsia Valley sits the pretty village of Lee…..

Sharp frost again this morning but a beautifully bright and clear sunny day was enjoyed. The temperature remained cold and in sheltered spots the frost lingered all day but it was very pleasant walking, especially with the sun on your face.

We set off for the small coastal village of Lee, which is nestled in Fuchsia Valley (would be lovely to see it in bloom) with a pretty Church and a few thatched cottages leading down to the sea.

The small cove is mostly slate and rocky outcrops, though as you will see, when we returned at low tide some sandy areas were exposed,

We headed up (and it was a very big up!) the coastal path, which follows a lane most of the way up the hill, until you pass The Blue Mushroom (sorry no idea)!

The path then continues along the top through grassland with gorse clusters and the most spectacular, long distance views back to Bull Point and beyond in one direction.

And looking towards Little Hangman Hill and Greater Hangman Cairn, beyond Ilfracombe, in the other

We used Shag Point as our halfway marker and sat for a while in the beautiful sunshine just looking at all that sea!

Before wending our way back down to Lee and enjoying a bit of Poppydog time on the now exposed sand before the sun crept out of the valley.

We also explored through the gaps in the exposed rocks, from which there are some carved out steps up the rock face to the top of the village – but we weren’t tempted!

We returned home, happy, tired yet refreshed!

Two thoughts of the day:

A sharp decline is harder on the body than the corresponding incline – why is that?

Lee would be a lovely place to stay and get away from it all out of season, but probably a tad chaotic otherwise!