Almost there! One day to go until we complete the circumference of mainland Britain. Today we will continue along the north Devon coastline and into Somerset.
Photo of the day
White Lady in the Valley of Rocks near Lynton.
We made our first stop of the day at Westward Ho! Beach, still looking a little sleepy. 😉 The unusual village name came from the local author Charles Kingsley’s book Westward Ho!
We don’t normally photograph pebbles, but these were lovely pebbles…. if you can call pebbles ‘lovely’?!
Overlooking the River Toridge at Appledore. We briefly parked up on the Churchfields Slipway, but there was a parking attendant lurking around, so we moved on…
Fishing boats moored at Bideford.
The medieval Bideford Long Bridge reflecting in the calm River Torridge. The stone bridge is one of the longest of its age in the country.
More reflections, this time on the River Caen at Velator Quay near Braunton Burrows.
Skirting around the flat fields and marshlands of Braunton Great Fields. The area is Britian’s first Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO.
Jarno busy with a little more sand-graffiti at Saunton Sands.
There were plenty of surfers taking the day off from work….
…and as we left and drove around the headland to Croyde Bay we had a magnificent aerial view of all the surfers at Saunton Sands.
Around the headland Croyde Bay and views to Baggy Point. A lovely crisp and fresh November morning.
Yet more surfers in Croyde Bay, looking back from Baggy Point.
Looking through some house gates at Baggy Point, this was their driveway and view – pretty cool!
After several country lane diversions which lead us on a long journey inland, we finally ended up back at the coast on the north side of Baggy Point at Woolacombe. The beautiful wide open sands of Woolacombe Beach in Morte Bay. The beach is considered one of the best in the world, often winning prizes.
Then looking north from Woolacombe Beach, past Barricane Beach and Grunta Beach to Morte Point.
The unusual double conical design of Ilfracombe’s Landmark Theatre, also know by locals as Madonna’s Bra ; -)!
Ilfracombe was full of surprises, including Damien Hirst’s Verity bronze sculpture on the harbour front.
To be honest the picture doesn’t do justice to how huge and impressive the Verity statue really was. We loved that a small town had embraced art like this.
The more expected and traditional view of Ilfracombe Harbour.
Some dodgy looking character caught in Watermouth Castle’s stocks.
Yachts below the castle in Watermouth Harbour.
Coombe Martin Beach nestled in a narrow valley. Random fact of the day – the village holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest street party!
As we continued our journey east, we drove slightly inland stopping in the tiny village of Parracombe. Winding our way through some of the smallest village lanes on our road-trip we finally found St Petrock’s Church up a muddy dirt track.
The calm and quaint church originally dated back 13th century. In the late 19th century the poet John Ruskin helped save the church from demolition with a £10 donation.
As we arrived in Lynton we first made a little detour through the Valley of Rocks. Glorious views west from the Valley of Rocks past the White Lady towards Wringcliff Bay and Woody Bay….
…. and north across the Bristol Channel from the South West Coast Path.
The West Lyn River gushing through Glen Lyn Gorge. In 1890 Lynton & Lynmouth were one of the first places in the country to be powered by hydro-electric power (from the East Lyn River).
The local thatched-roofed pub built down Lynmouth’s steep hillside.
Foreland Point across from Lynmouth’s seafront.
Looking down on Foreland Point as we drove up Countisbury Hill.
Views south across the rolling green Exmoor National Park from the National Trust’s Foreland Point.
Crossing from Devon into Somerset, we took another detour from the main road. We winded down through the picturesque Porlock Manor Estate Toll Road overlooking Porlock Weir and Hurlstone Point.
Another thatched-roofed pub as we reached Porlock.
Horner Water tumbling through woodland to Bossington Beach.
Tall chimneyed cottages lining the narrow lane from Bossington to Allerford on the Holnicote Estate.
The warm glow of the late afternoon sun illuminated the All Saints’ Church in the tiny village of Selworthy.
Wow, this is how we imagined Somerset… and we were bang on. Selworthy’s cream thatched cottages on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate.
Selworthy Green, and so so quiet, again we were the only visitors as we wandered around.
If you say Minehead to us, we think of Butlins (for the non-Brits – a holiday camp), but the view at dusk from the harbour couldn’t be more different…
The sculpture on Minehead’s seafront by Sarah Ward, marking the end (or start!) of the 630-mile South West Coast Path.
The view across Blue Anchor Bay back to Minehead.
After passing Dunster Castle, we made our final stop of the day at Watchet, where we found the harbour car-park surround by interesting street-art murals. We then continued our journey via the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage (which was closed) to Bridgwater for the night. Just one day to go until we complete our 49-day British Coastal Road Trip!!!
It’s just three days to go before we complete our entire coastal road trip! Today we are finishing off north Cornwall, driving alongside its famous golden sandy beaches, before we re-enter Devon as we drive towards Bideford.
Photo of the day
The sun setting as we headed down to Hartland Quay.
Long shadows in the early morning sun. We made our first stop of the day looping back from Newquay to the National Trust’s Holywell Beach.
Walking past the sand dunes towards Carter’s Rocks (AKA Gull Rocks) off Penhale Point.
Shells and their shadows scattered across Holywell Beach.
The Gannel Estuary at Crantock Beach, beside Rushy Green.
So it was a morning full of beaches… next stop the famous Fistral Beach, a surfers paradise, but none out this morning – yet.
Views back across Newquay Bay from the cliffs above the curiously named Lusty Glaze Beach (The Times Beach of the Year 2017)…
…and the view north towards Bedruthan Steps and beyond to Trevose Head.
The wide open sands of Watergate Bay, as we headed along the scenic B3276 coastal road.
A small plane flying overhead into nearby Newquay Airport.
The River Menalhyl streaming down Mawgan Porth Beach.
Peering over the Carnewas cliffs at Bedruthan.
Dramatic views north past Pendarves Island, Queen Bess Rock, Diggory’s Island and Park Head. In the distance you can just about make-out Trevose Head Lighthouse.
Another beautiful empty beach west of Padstow at Treyarnon Bay.
The South West Coastal Path along Chair Cove, behind some rather expensive looking houses at Constantine Bay. Some locals walking a dog stopped to talk to us, and asked if we were bankers!?… it seemed many locals were!
We seemed to be the only people on Cornwall’s beaches this morning not walking a dog 😉
A little alley in Padstow, AKA ‘Padstein’ after its famous local celebrity chef – Rick Stein.
Small fishing boats lining the quay. Quiet at this time of year, but heaving with tourists in the summer.
The coastal village of Rock, beyond the sandbank in the River Camel. We will drive past Rock as we continue northeast, but as we had been last year, we won’t stop this time.
Looping all the way around the River Camel, we made a brief stop to watch the surfers on Polzeath’s Beach.
Driving past The Rumps we stopped at the cosy Port Quin inlet, taken care of by the National Trust.
Driving to Port Isaac we realised we were going to end up driving right through the tiny village. We had remembered the lanes were really narrow from our trip here last year, so re-routed to park at the top of the village and walk down.
The TV series Doc Martin is filmed in Port Isaac. To be honest we have never watched Doc Martin so weren’t as excited as some visitors….
Choppy waters at the mouth of Port Isaac looking towards Varley Head.
Port Isaac Bay, with views northeast to Treknow.
Catching another glimpse of Port Isaac Bay over the fields near St Teath.
Wow, what a perfect day to visit. Tintagel Castle is normally packed with tourists, today it was just us and a few seagulls. So if you want to avoid the crowds come on a Monday afternoon in November 😉
The remains of the 13th century castle perched on the jagged slate cliffs.
The castle had been built here by Earl Richard of Cornwall, believing it to be the birthplace of King Arthur.
Boscastle had been devastated by the flooding of the River Valency in 2002, but has since been lovingly restored.
Fishing cottages down the cobbled Valency Row in Boscastle.
Widemouth Beach, popular with surfers, with Dizzard Point in the distance.
The clouds were parting like a zip to reveal the blue sky above Widemouth Bay.
At last!…. beach huts again on Summerleaze Beach at Bude, we had been missing beach huts on this stretch of coast.
The entrance to the Bude Canal. Started in the 1820s with the idea to link the English and Bristol Channels… however it didn’t get very far with the arrival of the railway later in the 19th century.
Leaving Bude and heading along the Hartland Cornwall Heritage Coast towards Morwenstow, the view was dominated by the satellite dishes at GCHQ Bude.
Before leaving Cornwall we stopped at Morwenstow, Cornwall’s northernmost point. We had intended to walk to the Hawker’s Hut along the cliffs. But a very muddy field was slowing our progress, we weren’t exactly sure we were on the right track, and light was fading fast. So we made do with the Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist across the fields.
On the way to Bideford, we made our final stop of the day at Hartland Quay. As we drove down the coastal track the sunset reflected beautifully off the car bonnet. Originally we had planned to also stop further along the coast at Clovelly, but it seems it was probably closed, and it would have been dark by then anyway. Oh well, we will leave Clovelly for another trip!
On day forty-four, after visiting Plymouth, we are heading into Cornwall. So join us on our journey along the beautiful southwest coast…
Photo of the day
A hungry seagull (aren’t they always?) at Polperro.
Fishing boats being prepared for the day at Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour.
Smeaton’s Tower and the Royal Citadel along Plymouth Hoe.
Smeaton’s Tower was originally built as the lighthouse at Eddystone Rock off Rame Head (we will visit later today). It was then moved to Plymouth Hoe as a memorial to John Smeaton, its engineer.
We were really impressed by Plymouth’s Royal William Yard. Originally built for the Royal Navy but now redeveloped with shops, restaurants, offices and a harbour. Very nicely done.
Sculptures on the lawn in front of the New Cooperage.
A recipe for Ships Biscuit curiously carved into a stone at the entrance to the Royal William Yard.
On the ferry heading from Devonport to Tor Point. Travelling west to Cornwall on the ferry was free (you only pay sailing east). We like a bargain! 😉
More watery roads along the Cornish coast.
Bright green fields above St John, looking down towards Whitsand Bay.
Although we entered Cornwall by ferry at Tor Point, there was also a passenger ferry landing at Cremyll.
Looking back across the River Tamar to the Royal William Yard.
The clock at Cremyll’s ferry landing.
The grand Mount Edgcumbe House overlooking Cremyll and the River Tamar.
Driving through Kingsand to Cawsand we got stuck behind a delivery truck. With no way to pass, you just have to be patient. We used the opportunity to nosey in the windows of the cute coastal cottages.
Cawsand Beach and Bay. Just out of the picture there was a couple preparing for a morning swim around the bay. Rather them than us.
Painted tiles decorating the waiting shelter of the seasonal Cawsand Ferry.
The clouds started to clear as we arrived at Rame Head, so we had a little hike up to St Michael’s Chapel on the headland.
There were amazing panoramic views along the coast, looking as far east as the Great Mew Stone in Wembury Bay.
Looking back down the headland to the National Coastwatch Institution buliding by the car park.
Whitsand Bay and Tregantle Fort above the cliffs to the northwest.
There were plenty of Dartmoor ponies precariously grazing around the headland cliffs.
Choppy waters at the foot of the cliffs.
We then continued along the coastal road past Treninnow Cliff and Freathy.
Rame Head silhouetted against the bright sunlight across Whitsand Bay.
The 1865 Tregantle Fort along Military Road. Still open and working. As we drove past we could see training in progress.
Looking down the wrinkly coast to Portwrinkle 😉
Portwrinkle Beach with Rame Head still visible in the distance.
Small boats neatly stored on end by the water’s edge at Portwrinkle.
Driving through a patchwork of fields along the B3247 to Downderry.
All along this coastal journey we’ve passed so many abandoned farm houses and barns… so they haven’t all been converted yet!
Amazingly Rame Head and St Michael’s Chapel were still visible in the distance from Seaton Beach.
We stopped at bustling East Looe for our first Cornish pasty. As we looked across the East Looe River to West Looe, the seagulls were keeping a beady eye on us (or rather our pasties).
Looking down the breakwater to the calm sea in Looe Bay.
The breakwater walls were full of wooden wedges. Very curious. Maybe to help hold the wall together?
A telescope by the sandy East Looe Beach.
Our next stop was at Polperro. The village was admittedly very quaint, but felt very surreal, like a ghost town. Most of the shops and cafes were closed and there was hardly anyone around, unlike our previous stop at Looe. Clearly a tourist village now, which is a real shame as out-of-season there seemed to be no locals to keep the place alive, so it somehow lacked soul. We also had to pay the highest parking charge of our entire British coastal road trip here too! Maybe that’s why it was so quiet. We only stayed 45 minutes but had to pay £4.50 to park, which was the minimum charge (3 hours).
At least the seagulls seemed happy with the range of seafood.
The locally famous ‘House on the Props’, precariously hanging over the stream.
Winding our way through more narrow country lanes we passed the small hamlet of Lansallos, and Saint Ildierna Church.
The lanes got narrower and narrower as we passed Lantivet. Grass growing down the middle of the road is never a comforting sight. Fortunately it was so quiet, so we didn’t have to make any difficult reversing-all-the-way-back-down-the-country-lane manoeuvers!
Passing the secluded National Trust Lantic Bay.
Gribbin Head in the distance from the headland at Polruan.
From Polruan we looked across to Fowey and its Parish Church.
We then took the Bodinnich Ferry crossing over the River Fowey. Taking the ferry saved us a 15 mile detour (and a precious 35 minutes of daylight) inland via Lostwithiel.
Looking back to Bodinnich Landing as we crossed to Fowey.
We squeezed our way through Fowey’s narrow streets (fortunately one way).
Picturesque Charlestown, our final stop of the day before heading to St Austell for the night.
Square rigger tall ships reflecting in the small Georgian harbour. The attractive harbour was originally built for coal imports and copper exports. More recently the harbour has been used for period film and TV productions.