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A stay at a National Trust Coastguard Cottage 3.  11-18th Sept 2010. Generally poor photos, scanned from negatives! Helen's commentary is included Helens page

SATURDAY 11th Sept Day 1      

Left home at 10.00; lots of hold-ups on the way, but we listened to the semi-finals of the 40-40 cricket and the weather was beautiful so we didn't mind. We arrived at 4.30 having stopped a couple of times for the loo and once for lunch. An attractive small cottage; very humid but with a dehumidifier and very well appointed. Enough hot water for baths after we found the immersion switch. We managed to stow most of our stuff away and are now wondering what we have forgotten. We had shepherd’s pie for supper in front of Strictly Come Dancing.

Sitting Room




Front Door of Number3

Path to the beach

SUNDAY 12th Sept Day 2      
We went down to Peppercombe beach after breakfast.   We passed a ‘Boulton and Paul’ prefabricated bungalow like the one we stayed in at Coombe Corner with a flower meadow for a garden.   The path was lined with ferns – the hounds tongues were particularly splendid.   Some of the trees were propped up across the path and quite a hazard to the inattentive or anyone taller than a small child.   On the beach the tide was on the turn and the waves were pounding in and we took some photos also close-ups of the stones which were fascinating in detail.   The light will be better on the bay in the evening – there are some red brown cliffs which could be interesting.   Someone had made a driftwood bothy on the beach and we talked to an old lady (Peter’s description, she was younger than us) who had walked down from Horns Cross.

The beach

Driftwood hide

North Devon Coast

Path to the beach

The beach

Across the bay


Natural Sculpture

Path to the beach


Pj in the sitting room

The Cottges

After lunch we drove to Clovelly which now has an enormous car park and a visitor centre built across the entrance to the ‘theme park’ village.   There was an entry fee, but the village itself, though full of tourist attractions, still has a lot of charm.   Old donkeys were available for snaps and strokes;  people who were puffed out from the climb up the cobbled street were glad to pause and pet them.   There was a Landover for the people who could not climb back up the steep road (£1), but we thought a bit of exercise would be good.   We went on to Westward Ho which has an enormous bay and as the tide was out there were acres of sand.    After coming home, we went down to Peppercombe to bay again, the light was better, but there were no clouds and the light on the cliffs was flat. Had sheps for dinner.

Donkeys in Clovelly


A steep street

Souvenir Photo?

Main street plus H

A Cottage Garden

Ice Creams

The Jetty

The house is below this path!

Decorated door surround

Bottom of the main street

Stables for the donkeys


The Craft Workshops

A steep narrow street

A family on holiday


The Red Lion


A bit of a struggle

Sea Front houses

Kids making waterworks

Gull and catfish

Jetty end and a Beacon

A Queue?


Long view of the harbour

Lobster Pots

In the sun

Sledges for towing luggage etc


Derby and Joan

Snout Butterfly in our cottage

MONDAY 13th Sept Day 3      
Porridge still not perfect, H in charge this time.  A robin is very keen to have a share, we put a small piece of brazil nut on the window sill. Left for Oakhampton at 9.30 calling in first at the Asda outside Bideford to buy some coffee, The Independent, robin food and broccoli.   On to Oakhampton to the ‘information’ centre to find out about standing stones and buy a map.   Had an early lunch at a café – a full English breakfast and a watery vegetable lasagne - then went on to find the stones.

Westward Ho! Bathing Safety Flag


 Stone Art

Follow me?

Big Sky

A detail


RNLI Life Guards


My pool

Peppercombe Beach

   We made for Merrivale and walked across the moor towards some stones that looked like a gorilla or the Sphinx, but were called Vixen Tor.   However when we got there the farmer had put up barbed wire fence and notices to say that it was private land – no entry.   We took some pictures of the stones and one of a fox moth caterpillar whose food plant is calluna vulgaris, but it was dark and threatening to rain so we moved on.   We found the Post Bridge information centre where we were given very good instructions to find the Bowerman’s Nose.   We found it and took lots of images around it including more fox moth caterpillars.  The sun came out for a short time!!!

Bridge on Exmoor

Vixen Tor

 Exmore Ponies

Bell Heather and Gorse


Bowerman’s Nose.

A turtle?


Fox Moth Caterpillar

Speckled  Wood

Natural arrangement

Red Cliffs at Peppercombe


Having had a successful snap, we set off home and arrived at 5.30.The roads are excellent with little traffic, though we did have to wait a bit behind a cement lorry and use passing places on one car roads…  The driver (H) will sleep well tonight.

TUESDAY 14th Sept Day 4      

Porridge good, method now perfected just need to be able to do it again.  Misty rain this morning; the robin has not eaten his special mealworm mixture, even though Bill Oddie recommended it.   The plan is to go to Barnstable and check out the Pannier Market.   Birds wake up later here, a robin, great tit and nuthatch have endorsed the seed mix.   The nuthatch is the dominant bird.   They are feeding only 6 ft. away from the window.

Went to Barnstable found out where Sainsbury’s was from the information centre.   Looked around the Pannier Market, did not find it enthralling.

The Pannier Market

A foreign student tour Barnstable

Royal & Fortescue Hotel

Filled up at Sainsbury’s and went on to Woolacombe which was shrouded in mist or low cloud.   Visibility was about 50 yards at best.   Decided to go on to Ilfracombe where it was a bit brighter.   Had lunch in the theatre cafe – toasted paninis with salad followed by coffee.   Unusual building with flowerpot towers, quantities of guesthouses and hotels must supply a regular audience.   OAPs everywhere having a great day out despite the weather…   Some wonderful rocks and wild seas would have been excellent for photography if the light had been better.   H took a few snaps with the S710 . Went back cross country along a very hairy road via Lee – not even a white road in quality– to Moreton Hoe.  Almost everything had shut down because of the weather.   We walked as far as a view of the sea from the cliffs, but decided that it was too wet to go further.     Supper was garlic sausage in mulligatawny with mash and broccoli.

Bandstand and Gardens

Theatre Cafe

The Pavilion Theatre

WEDNESDAY 15th Sept Day5      

A grey day, but not raining.    We set off and found that the weather outside our valley was light and bright. Pootled round the lanes to Hartland Point to see the lighthouse.   Parked and walked the coastal path for about a mile, then were assaulted by some gusts of wind that rattled the "packamacs" like machine gun fire.   It required some effort to stay upright.   It started to spit with rain so we came back to the car and drove round to Hartland Quay where we had lunch.   The beer was ‘Proper Job’ from St. Austel though we were still in Devon (just), there was Thatcher’s cider on tap, but I was driving…   We had a chicken Kiev and a vegetable pasty - the food has yet to inspire us.   Bought some nougat for Ann and a crow hand puppet for John and the girls.   Peter bought some peanut brittle which has already vanished…

Hartland Point

An Ancient Wreck

Abseiling down

Hartland Quay

Watching the waves

Vertical Strata

Went on to a garden at Elmscott, Docton Mill – built round a restored water mill.   The herbaceous borders were good, but the planting was not original.   Maybe the designers of the garden are no longer around.   However, the gunnera was exceptionally well grown as were some heleniums growing in damp soil.   We saw a comma and a dragonfly and took some pictures.   The sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ was covered in flower and insects of all sorts.   Came home and after a drink, went round the cliff path to the red rock cliffs and climbed down to Peppercombe beach.   There was a rope to help with the descent, but it was easier to go from tussock to tussock.   We walked back over the pebbles taking pictures as we went.   Had a Thatcher’s Old Rascal with supper.


The Loos

The Mill Leet

The Tea Room


THURSDAY 16th Sept Day 5      

A squirrel was eating the birds’ food when I opened the curtains; he stood his ground and finished all the best bits.

We had a look at the Lynton and Barnstable Railway at Woody Bay station.  It is a 600 mm gauge line.   The engine was called ‘Sid’ and was made in Munich.   Everything on the site was wonderfully well conserved and the macaroons and coffee were good too.  They would like to extend the line, but bridges would be needed and the cost is prohibitive.


Fixing the Coupling

Two foot gauge railway

Signal Box

H snaps a cat

We went to Linton to have a look at Exmoor.   The Information centre was in the Town Hall which was an amazingly ornate structure.  The loos were excellent.   There must have been a ‘rococo’ architect in the Victorian times many of the buildings had turrets and excrescences.   We parked and had lunch in a caff – still nothing to compliment.   Had a look at Lynmouth, but did not spot the way to the Valley of Stones

Went on to find the Valley of the Stones, much trouble between the driver and the navigator and difficulties with turning round, but in the end we found it…  Climbed up the rocks and took some pictures, a Speckled Wood butterfly dodged the cameras as did a Wall; had a cream tea, first for H for 10 years, won’t be repeated!   We went up to the moors and found a few minutes of light amongst the overcast cloud.   Peter spotted a minute windbent hawthorn tree which featured in  our photos.

Cliff Railway

Feral Goats


Pure Exmoor Ponies keep the scrub down

Goat Trails

Castle Rock


Devil's Cheesewring

White Lady

Castle Rock

Rugged Jack

Valley of the rocks

Getting a low level shot

Came home via Dr. Smart’s garden at Marwood Hill.   It has changed a lot since our last visit about 30 years ago, it is now a garden of trees and shrubs but still good and we took some pictures.      I don’t remember the lakes which were created in 1969, but they must have been there.   I remember a stream with astilbes and primulas which is now very much larger with coarser plantings.   Some very interesting Rodgersias with very dark red leaves.   Major plantings of hydrangeas, a dark red purple one ‘Rotshwantz’ and a blue mophead with pale blue and cream colouring.   Many eucalypts too some 30ft tall;  rather too many trees too close together and more young ones planted between – maybe they plan some culling.   Came home past Barnstable in the rush hour, very slow. Had toast for supper, we are running out of food…

Marwood Church

Circle of seats

Red Admiral


FRIDAY 17th Sept Day 6      
Went to Rosemoor, PJ not navigating but driving; amazing how fast 40 seems in the passenger seat…   Rosemoor has expanded considerably since the RHS took it over.   A restaurant, lecture hall, library, shop, plant sales area and gallery plus a tent for weddings have been built with adequate parking.   Everything very well made and designed.    More land has been taken in over the road and the landscaping is impressive.   We saw volunteers working in the garden which explains the very high standard of maintenance.    The hot garden was full of pokers, rudbeckias, cannas and eupatoriums.   The latter had a hornet on it which P was keen to snap, but as one cannot step on the soil, it was impossible.   It shot off to another clump of flowers like a fighter aircraft.   We took lots of pictures including small tortoisehells and red admiral butterflies.   We had lunch at the restaurant – very enjoyable meals; duck casserole and aubergine bake with red cabbage and vegetables. 

toast for

Lady Ann's House


Turtle Flower

We went over to the original Rosemoor garden around Lady Anne Palmer’s (now Berry) house which has been divided into holiday flats.   We recognised the Mediterranean garden, but not much else.   There were some arisaemas in fruit and a magnificent walnut tree.   We bought a heucherella ‘sweet tea’ and butterfly and day-flying moth charts.  

 Called in at Sainsbury’s on the way home to get some deli bits.

SATURDAY 18th Sept Day 7      

Packed up and left the cottage at 9.30 arrived home at 3.00 having had an indifferent lunch at Gordano service station.  

 The cats were pleased to see us and celebrated with a double tuna with shrimp jelly.   We will have a curry delivered.