It has to be Devon 🙂
This time last year, our motorhome had taken us on five holidays. So far this year, for various reasons we’d only managed one, until last week that is.
We’d had our eyes on Damage Barton campsite since last year, and finally got round to booking it for seven nights, commencing Sunday 18th August.
The weather has been good in the UK this summer, so it was fingers crossed it would stay good for the week we’d booked too.
This was going to be the first holiday without Jasper, and I hadn’t felt the slightest excitement I’d had on previous trips, even waking on the Sunday morning to a beautiful sunny day, still didn’t get me into the holiday mood that I was lacking.
Driving south down the M5, the sight of an overturned caravan, with all it’s contents scattered across the three lanes of the northbound carriageway, dragged my spirits even lower. This holiday really had to be special to lift me.
Leaving the M5 near Tiverton, we headed towards Barnstable, calling at a quaint olde worlde pub called The Mill Inn. An old collie lay on the floor by the door, another, not quite as old, wandered leisurely around. A drink and a rather scrumptious meal later, I was at last starting to feel like I was on holiday.
We pulled off the extremely narrow lane onto the site around 4.30pm, booked ourselves in and were given directions to our pitch….
Certainly not as busy as it’s namesake LOL.
Damage Barton campsite is part of a working farm, beautifully located, not far from The South West Coast Path. This coast path, a total of 630 miles along some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain, starts at Minehead, Somerset, skirts the coast of Somerset, N. Devon, Cornwall, S. Devon and into Dorset, ending near Poole Harbour.
Our holiday plans had been to walk into the nearby village of Mortehoe, a stone built village listed in the Doomsday book, then pick up the coastal path into the town of Woolacombe, but the drive down the narrow lane to the site, had scuppered that idea, we’d have been total fools for the two of us to try it, let alone with two dogs in tow.
After making enquiries at the reception as to any alternative route to Mortehoe, we emerged with maps and directions 🙂 ……… ‘take the farm track towards the farm, at the right hand bend go through the gate on your left, follow the footpath which continues through two fields, and a neighbouring campsite, you’ll find yourself in Mortehoe.’
Monday morning, we set off, expecting a twenty minute walk into the village.
Ha! lesson number one, don’t get engrossed in conversation with fellow walkers and their dogs, one of which was celebrating its birthday that day (the dog that is).
At the bottom of the steep farm track, they took a right and continued on to Lee Bay.
‘I think we’ve missed our left turn through the gate’, T suddenly announced, looking back up the hill we’d just walked down.
The farmer, sat on his tractor in the farmyard confirmed this. ‘Mortehoe? to the top of the hill and through the gate, but if you want a longer more scenic route, you can continue this way, you’ll eventually meet the South West Coast path’.
We weren’t in any rush, so we decided the scenic route sounded the better option, besides, I didn’t fancy climbing back up that hill.
Once through the farmyard the footpath split again, luckily it was well signed. The track on the right is another path to Lee Bay, we carried on to the left, both agreeing Lee Bay would be another day.
Following the signs to Mortehoe, we went through another field, and into Kinevor Valley, eventually meeting up with the SouthWest Coast path at Bull Point.
This part of the coast path certainly lives up to it’s description of rugged beauty.
Leaving Bull Point, we headed towards Rockham Bay.
This bay has steep steps down to the sands below. Plenty of folk were down there enjoying the amazing weather, but we decided to carry on along the coast path (just visible on the left of the photo).
Just at the top, where the path goes out of sight it splits, right continued along the coast, left went into Mortehoe.
We eventually made it into the village after two hours of cliff top walking, instead of twenty minutes through fields. What a great choice we made not turning back, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world 🙂
And what did we find in the village? …….The Ship Aground Inn, a lovely little pub, selling real ale.
The story of the anchor in the photo above.
A couple of pints and an ice cream later, we set off back to our campsite, the short route 😉
Tuesday, waking to sun and blue skies, and craving more of this beautiful coastline, we did the twenty minute walk into Mortehoe, re-tracing our steps to re-join the Coast Path.
By the time we got there, the sky had clouded over and there was rain in the air, undeterred, we carried on.
Even on a dull day, the coastline still looked stunning. Looking north to Bull Point where we joined the Coast Path yesterday, the lighthouse is just about visible on the cliffs where the horizon meets the Ocean.
The clouds and drizzle vanished almost as fast as they arrived, and again we were enjoying glorious weather as we headed south towards Morte Point.
A bit of a drop down there 😮
Looking at the map, I think it is Whiting Cove.
Taking a breather, and a water break for the dogs.
Just to my left down on the rocks we could hear, what I thought was someone groaning in distress. I had visions of calling the sea rescue, until T walked to the cliff edge, and looking over declared it was a group of bull seals 😳
Looking back to Morte Point, Woolacombe Bay opens out to the left.
Woolacombe Bay, according to the Wiki link above, it is three miles long.
Leaving the Coast Path again, we followed the signpost into Mortehoe. Past the church and into the village, it came out on the road at the side of the pub, in the earlier photo above 🙂
A case of deja vu with Monday, we returned to the campsite.
Wednesday, was going to be an easy day as both dogs appeared shattered. The plan was to catch the bus into Woolacombe and spend the day on the beach. First though we needed to adjust the awning, as it was stopping the habitation door into the motorhome from opening fully, this in turn had caused T to trip and fall out off the door, catching his fingers in the handle as he fell. I’m convinced his index finger is dislocated, but as the swelling is gradually going down, he’s passed on any treatment.
Anyway, the awning adjustment took longer than anticipated and we missed the two hourly bus service. So we ended up staying on site.
Thursday a glorious hot sunny day we decided to attempt our failed Wednesday plan and go into Woolacombe by bus, so we joined the rest of the waiting passengers at the campsite entrance.
Fifteen minutes of stop start down the winding road, I was glad to get off the bus for some fresh air.
OMG!! the town was heaving. I can imagine out of season Woolacombe is a beautiful place, but this certainly wasn’t my idea of fun.
We made our way down onto the beach 😮 What is it about folk that makes them plonk their chairs down and put up their windbreaks as soon as they hit the sand. Three miles of glorious flat sand and literally thousands of folk are congregated in a mass at the entrance.
Picking our way through the throngs of folk, we headed out to the deserted area, where just a few like minded folk were walking their dogs, and a few surfers were trying to catch the waves.
Ignoring the rabble we’d walked through, this was total heaven. Sandals off, we spent two hours walking ankle deep in the Atlantic Ocean, does life get any better?
We caught the bus back into Mortehoe, finishing the day off with a visit to the Ship Aground Inn for our usual, before walking back to the site through the field of sheep.
This sheep just wandered over and nuzzled me, it even went up to Sal and sniffed her. I spent about five minutes tickling it ears 🙂
Friday was a bit dull and overcast, but after looking at the map, we planned a short walk to Hilly Mouth, near Lee bay. Rather apt for our surname, my intention was to find a signpost and take a pic of T pointing to his mouth open mouth. No such luck 😦
In the meantime, it had started to rain quite heavy and I was being eaten alive by flying ants. Stopping just long enough to put my waterproofs on, we made a hasty retreat back into Kinevor Valley, by which time the heavens had opened.
What a total nightmare, I was nice and dry in my Goretex, but T and the dogs were soaked.
Cindy suddenly decided she wasn’t going any further, and stood shivering on the path so I picked her up and edged my way down the steep and now quite slippery path, eventually catching up with T and Little Sal who were waiting for me under some trees.
Now this is something I never ever thought I’d witness. Cindy was really shivering by now, so T took his treasured white t-shirt off from under his rugby shirt and wrapped it round her and carried her well over a mile back to the motorhome.
I promised him I wouldn’t post this pic, but it just has to be done 😉
By 4pm the sun was trying to break through again, but we decided Hilly Mouth was off limits for the day.
Saturday, our last day 😦
We both agreed we wanted to visit Morte Point again before went returned home, so walking into Mortehoe and along the track at the side of the pub, we plonked ourselves on a bench and sat looking out over Woolacombe bay.
I could have stayed there until the sun went down absorbing the atmosphere, but T thought two hours was long enough, and he wanted a last pint in ‘our local’
Walking back to the site for the last time, we both agreed it had been a wonderful holiday in a beautiful part of Britain, and somewhere we would definitely be visiting again.