Cornwall/ Devon – Summer 2014; Part 6

Friday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at The Plume of Feathers pub “campsite” in Princetown, on Dartmoor. Rain stopped play somewhat today- that along with some absolutely moronic drivers on the road – one of which literally seemed intent on forcing us off the road!!

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We had a fantastic meal last night and slept like logs in our castle location (no spooky shenanigans to report!) Our first stop today was to a street in Okehamptom, to look for Keith’s mum’s old house. She grew up in Okehampton and lived here until she moved to London for teacher training, and Keefy has memories of coming to visit his grandparents here in Okehampton.

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After a trip down memory lane, we carried on into the depths of Dartmoor. We took the road to Chagford, a very pretty but small Devonshire town, however seeing as we managed to visit on market day we struggled to negotiate Bluebell through the crowds and the nutty IMPATIENT local drivers- one of which was in such a hurry they couldn’t wait behind us as we waited in a passing place to allow an oncoming driver to pass us on the single track road, so decided to overtake us and nearly ended up in a head on collision right next to us.

Another driver decided as we were exiting the town (and contemplating at how a scooter may be a worthy addition to our gear!) that they’d had enough of us driving cautiously seeing as there were market goers everywhere and decided to overtake us at an alarming speed and once beside us tried to barge us off the road (I’m honestly not making this up!!) Thank god I noticed him in the wing mirror and managed to swerve up on the pavement to avoid a chunk being taken out of our van (god knows what else) but even more of a miracle was that there were no pedestrians on that stretch as my reflex swerve failed to notice pre swerve and I don’t think they would have faired well.

The whole experience shook me up beyond belief and frankly ruined my day , I couldn’t stop shaking and felt physically sick at the thought of what could have been. Keith took over driving duties from therein and after a strong cuppa and cake overlooking the fast disappearing view in a nearby layby we were ready to hot the road again.

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^^ just noticed Jazz hiding under the van in this one! ^^

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Next stop was Postbridge, to see the medieval Clapper Bridge. The weather by this point had well and truly turned but we still enjoyed half an hour wondering around and a trip to the visitor centre.

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By this point unfortunately my mood had reached a new low, so we decided to take refuge at the nearby a Plume of Feathers pub in Princetown. We’d read this was a pub stop where you could park overnight in return for a meal but on enquiring they wanted to charge £6.95 pp pn regardless of us eating in there or not. As the weather was crappy we relented, but decided not to eat- we would have been happy paying £14 had it been a proper campsite, but we were told to park on the carpark. There was however an Elsan point which proved useful and some showers which looked like they’d not been cleaned in a month. We’d have been happier parking on their carpark for free and then spending £50 on a nosh up meal there. Their loss though…

We did however try a pint of Dartmoor brewery’s Jail Ale, named after the Jail that is in town… It was a great pint and definitely made me feel a bit better!

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Saturday
The new day dawned dry thank goodness, and as such my mood was much better. Today was sadly time to go home, but in an effort to avoid getting stuck in traffic, and seeing as the weather was looking good, we decided to try another day on Dartmoor before setting off for the M5 around 4pm.

First stop was to be “Wistman’s Wood” – a weird yet wonderful landscape full of myth and legend. It’s about 1.5 miles walk each way from the small parking area opposite Two Bridges hotel. The trees in this wood are dwarf trees and give the impression of old men bent over as you get closer.

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The views on the walk were lovely down the valley.

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Next stop was to find one of the stone Tors that are so iconic of Dartmoor. We headed towards Coombestone Tor, and was really happy with how Bluebell coped with the dramatic road up. This was a great collection of rocks, and we enjoyed climbed up onto them and posing for silly pictures!

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The good thing about this particular Tor is that you can get there easily in the car/van, so no long walk to get there! 🙂

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It was a good place for a spot of lunch and a cuppa, and I’m fairly sure you could have a very quiet night wild camping up there too.
Next stop was the pretty village of Widdecombe on the Moor- a very picturesque Dartmoor village (and pleased to report ample parking too!)

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Last stop, but by no means least, was the incredible viewpoint at the top of the road out of Widdecombe on the Moor (The B3387 between Haytor and Bovey Tracy)

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We hadn’t intended on going here, but stumbled across it by accident- the view was tremendous as you can see from the pic above, and it was a hive of activity with lots of people climbing the 500 metres or so up to the two Stone Tors away from the road.

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The heather is a gorgeous colour at this time of year and I spent ages trying to picture the lilac and yellow.

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It really was a perfect way to finish our holiday- we’ve had a great time exploring the West Country. Our holiday highlights were Clovelly, Treen/Pothcurno, and Lydford. We left our viewpoint at 4pm and had a marvellous journey back, arriving into our lovely Norfolkshire village at 10:30 on the dot.

Until next time
Lx

Cornwall/ Devon – Summer 2014; Part 5

Wednesday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at Brit Stop #008, which is a marvellous farm shop full of delights (well less full than before we arrived, seeing as we’ve shopped til we dropped here!) It’s got a fab view, over the pig fields and across to Bodmin Moor, and is the perfect setting for us to enjoy our sausage and mash (courtesy of the farm shop produce!) and chill after a pretty big day of cycling!

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We weren’t sure what we’d get up to today seeing as the weather forecast looked a bit dodgy, and we had considered buying tickets for Eden Project to occupy us during the rain. We held our patience though, saving ourselves nearly £50 on tickets to the project, and were rewarded with a dry day enabling us to nip up to Bodmin and cycle some of the Camel train. We managed 15 miles on the disused railway, and enjoyed every second. There perhaps isn’t so much to see town wise as on the Tarka trail but the trail itself was prettier, hugging the River Camel the whole way. Lovely!

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Thursday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at another fantastic Brit Stop location, #010 and this time a pub (oh no…!!) – but look at our view!!

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We have had a very active day today, once again being very lucky with the weather (thank you weather Gods!) and therefore have worked up rather a large appetite for dinner tonight, which is a good job seeing as we’re eating at the pub later and the menu looks amazing!

We started our day by visiting the spectacular NT Lydford Gorge. Now I was under no doubts that this would be staggeringly beautiful, given how the name of the river that passes through these parts is named after me… The River Lyd 🙂 It cost the pricely sum of £7 pp to get in, but we were promised the largest waterfall in the South West, The Devils Cauldron, over 3 miles of well kept paths to enjoy and amazing gorge scenery. Despite our reservations at paying nearly £15 to visit a natural beauty, (I’m talking about the river and not me here… Haha!!) we absolutely LOVED the visit and would recommend to anyone passing through- I’d even go as far as saying I’d make a special visit to come here. You can see by the pics below- it was great. The paths were excellent, hand rails at all the steep sections, info boards, etc- and we both felt it was money well spent.

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After a brill visit we were left itching for even more excercise so drove the short distance to a carpark on the outskirts of Okehampton, unloaded the bikes, loaded Jazz into his basket and set off along the Granite Trail. Another cracker of an off-road disused railway trail, we cycled over two viaducts and even down across a Dam! All with the spectacular backdrop of Darmoor. Absolutely great fun!

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We’re on the home stretch now sadly, with only one full day and night left on Dartmoor before making the journey back to Norfolk after a days exploring on Saturday.

Until next time
Lx

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Cornwall/ Devon – Summer 2014; Part 3

Wednesday
Bluebell the Motorhome is parked up along with several other motorhomes in the village carpark in Tintagel. For £3 we’re allowed to park overnight here, within walking distance (50m!) to the nearest pub, half a mile to the English Heritage castle site and across the road from the National Trust Post Office site.

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you can see Bluebell tucked up on the left

On leaving Barnstaple we visited the most beautiful Heritage Village of http://www.clovelly.co.uk
We paid £6.75 each and headed down through the visitors centre and down to the village. Words can’t describe how pretty the village is so here are my pics so you can see for yourself.

IMG_3579.JPGthe Main Street lined with pretty houses

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looking down over the Harbour

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more pretty houses

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the harbour and the hill we’d just walked down

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the hotel on the harbour

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a very picturesque refreshment stop!
After a good couple of hours, we marched back up the hill to the car park: Clovelly is totally traffic free, the locals have to use sledges to transport their gear up and down the hill- once upon a time it was donkeys!
On the way back up, Keith was able to hold and have his picture taken with his favourite animal- A Little Owl

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Next we headed towards Tintagel. We hoped to stop at Boscastle, but it was heaving and we couldn’t even get in the carpark to check for spaces (although I’m fairly sure it was chocka block) so we carried on and found a space in the car park at Tintagel much more easily.

Once we’d got our ticket we walked down the hill to visit the impressive site where it’s believed King Arthur lived. It was a beautiful day to visit and although it was VERY steep (something which freaks me out a little!) we had a great visit

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After a tiring days exploring we naturally found the pub, and tried a few local pints of cider/ale, wobbled back to the van and chilled out for the rest of the evening!

Thursday
Thursday we parked up at Brit Stop #003, a pub near Redruth. We didn’t have the best day to be honest, everywhere we visited we had trouble either parking or exploring due to restrictions made by the council. First stop, Port Issac, saw us turned away from the main car park as we were over 2.5 tons (daytime parking). We then struggled to get back out due to ignorant drivers and got stuck whilst driving up a 1 in 4 single track hill road with hairpin due to an impatient 4×4 who wouldn’t wait and let us pass him. Next stop was Polzeath to relive some of Keith’s old childhood memories of hols down here with his parents. We managed to get parked easily, despite the very heavy no overnight parking signs, but then couldn’t take Jazz our dog on the beach. We left him in the van reluctantly, because we’d already paid for parking (clever that!) but nevertheless we enjoyed a (dog less) walk along the shore

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We carried onto Padstow, hoping to have a fish and chip lunch, but seeing as we got turned away from the park and ride, then got stuck in the middle of Padstow with tourists ten a breast walking in the middle of the road with no awareness of us and the other cars driving down the road, we were frankly relieved, if not slightly hacked off once we got safely out of the town. We rang over 10 campsites trying to find a local one with a last minute cancellations to no avail, so ended up carrying on to Redruth, to a very welcoming Brit Stop pub, where we drank away our troubles of the day!

We did manage a little dog walk around the local area and stumbled (literally!) across an interesting site just down the road, Gwennap Pit, an interesting open air amphitheatre that was originally formed by mining in the area.

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It’s now used (and has been since 1700s) as an open air preaching area and is owned by the Methodist Church. Very interesting place to visit!

On our walk back we also passed an old mining chimney, a stark reminder about the history of tin mining in this area.

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Friday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked overlooking the sea, on the cliffs in the community carpark at Treen.

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We came this way as we are off to the Minack theatre tonight to see Keefy’s brother lead in Monty Pythons’ Spamalot. We also were in desperate need of facilities, and were hoping to get on Treen Farm camspite, which is a short walk away from the theatre. Sadly, by the time we arrived at 09:30, there were already over 50 early birds who had got on the list before us- this campsite offers a no booking policy, so you have to just turn up and hope for the best, hence the early start! In an amazing act of generosity, despite us not getting a pitch, the owners of the campsite allowed us to fill/empty water and loo and pointed us in the direction of the community carpark where we were allowed to park up for £3.50 overnight and £2 all day. The views from here were better than the campsite to be honest, and substantially cheaper, however we spent a lot of money in the campsite shop/farm shop on local ales, ciders, sausages, and even marshmallows!

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We were meeting some of Keith’s old friends at the local pub for what turned into a liquid lunch

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– this Cornish Tribute Ale is lovely!
By mid afternoon we thought it would be wise to check out the coastal path down to Porthcurno and the Minack ready for our trek down that night.

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Porthcurno beach in this weather rivals Greece

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managed a dip or 4 in the sea- it was a bit nippy, unlike Greece!

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Keith’s brother and sister in law and some of the cast

That evening we watched the show at the Minack and it was fab. Definitely recommend a visit. I’ve never been before but Keefy has played in various show bands here before.

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Keith’s brother Neil, playing King Arthur in Spamalot

Saturday
The weather was great but forecasted to change on Sunday, so we decided to stay another night at Treen carpark. We enjoyed a walk to Logan’s Rock, then a massive chill in the sun and a BBQ! Perfect

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the view to the Minack on the left and Portcurno bay from Logan’s Rock

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The Minack on zoom from Logan’s Rock.The chain of people you can see is the next theatre company passing their set down from the carpark to the stage

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IMG_3742.JPGLogan’s Rock
We finished off our Saturday with a mahoosive chill in the sun, then a BBQ- steak and sausages accompanied by a bottle of Pape. Perfect

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We then tucked into the marshmallows for the first time EVER- we’ve clearly missed out. It was amazing!

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As the sun went down the stars came out and what a sky it was- we sat and saw loads of shooting stars. Absolutely cracking day.
Sunday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up right beside the seaside, at Praa Sands.

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We’ve managed to find another place that welcomes motorhomes by allowing us to stay overnight for £5. We’ve paid £8 and this gives us 24hrs parking.

Cornwall is slightly confusing with its attitudes towards motorhomes, and dogs for that matter. Some carparks seem to be happy allowing us to stay whereas others a mile or so down the road have several ‘campers and motorhomes prohibited” signs per carpark. Some beaches allow dogs, others don’t. Lands End, you pay £6 to get in but then you can take your dog into every shop there. It’s all very confusing, but we’ve been lucky and only had one day of anti motorhome/anti dog stress (so far!)

We nipped up to Lands End today, as Keefy’s been wanting to get a matching sticker to go next to our J O’G one from last year. I have to admit, the £6 parking charge seemed steep initially, but on thinking about it, I suppose it’s not too bad- if we had 4 passengers it’d be a cheap to visit. Also, once the £6 is paid, there is no extra admission charge, although there are plenty of outlets for you spend extra money once inside, including an official picture next to the sign (an extra tenner!)

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We stopped off at the Famous First and Last Inn on our way out, intrigued to check out the camping area we knew about. We could have stayed over for £10 with no services, not even a water tap, in their back field, but frankly we thought that it was a rip off considering our location the previous two nights for less than half of that. If they’d said free for diners, £10 otherwisewe’d have stayed and eaten/drank. We did enjoy a quick drink there though before carrying on to Praa sands.

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Sorry for the lengthy blog this time- a mixture of relaxing offline and lack of signal has results in no updates this week, however you are now up to date 🙂

Our plan for the next week is to Brit Stop along the south coast, hope the weather gets better though as today isn’t great!
Until next time
Lx