Day 290 Bideford Bay

Thursday 19 May 2016

Appledore to Clovelly

18 miles

Pillowery Park Guest House, Burscott

Porridge with drinking chocolate powder mixed in it made for a good breakfast as I packed my tent away. It was 9 am when I set off down into Appledore and around Northam Burrows. I had intended to camp again tonight but closer investigation revealed the only campsite within any decent range had closed last year. Fortunately it wasn’t hard to find a reasonably priced B&B with space for me. 

looking at Westward Ho! across the low-lying Northam Burrows
the spit at the end of Northam Burrows, facing Braunton Burrows across the Rivers Taw and Torridge estuary
This spit of low-lying land seems to be stuck onto the end of the cliff that leads up to Bideford. It is protected by a pebble ridge that is made from rocks ripped from the Hartland cliffs and moved here by long-shore drift. 

Appledore from Northam Burrows
The burrows sticks out into the Rivers Taw and Torridge estuary. Opposite me, at Braunton Burrows, the Royal Marines were playing with their landing craft again. 

the pebble ridge, the estuary and Braunton Burrows (a RM landing craft on the water)
As I walked along the wide, sandy beach to Westward Ho! on a grey school day I was amazed how busy it was. I saw a kite buggy, two land yachts, kites, loads of kids having surfing lessons and yet more kids rock pooling. 

Westward Ho!
I stopped in Westward Ho! (such a brilliant place name) for a second breakfast: coffee and a bacon and egg bap. I needed the energy for the next section as it was quite tough; up and down the cliffs. 

the cliffs from Westward Ho!
It was a fairly grey day but I could make out Lundy Island and it seemed to be in the middle of Bideford Bay, albeit 19 miles offshore. I could also see both ends of Bideford Bay: Baggy Point to the East and Hartland Point to the West. It was low tide and the rock striations at the base of the cliffs were similar to those on the other side of the Bristol Channel. 

looking East to Baggy Point…
…looking West to Hartland Point
It started raining at midday but it was too warm, and too much effort required up the hills, to wear a waterproof so I just got wet. It wasn’t long before I was back in the trees that cover the cliffs. The woods on the Devon cliffs are so old and beautiful, and I have been lucky to see them when they have been carpeted with bluebells. 

More big cliffs and rock striations at the base
I reached Buck’s Mills, a tiny settlement in a cleft in the cliff. The houses were crammed in and there was an old artist’s retreat, a cabin, sat right next to the water. 

Buck’s Mills
Three miles out from Clovelly I found myself on The Hobby Drive. I marvelled at the fact that this cobbled road, built 200 years ago, had survived all this time partway down a cliff in the woods. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of the quaintness that is Clovelly. 

walking along The Hobby Drive
I had never heard of Clovelly but it seemed like lots of foreigners have as I passed many on my way down the narrow, very steep, cobbled street into the village. 

a view of Clovelly from The Hobby Drive
What a place, locked in the 1800s. It was built by a rich family in the 1700s and has retained its olde-worlde charm that drew in the tourists 200 years ago. I particularly liked all the homemade sledges that are still used to transport stuff into and out of the village, sometimes pulled by hand and sometimes by donkeys. 

Clovelly’s narrow, cobbled main street (note the sledge on the left)
It was a bit too much of a tourist Mecca for me but I still walked to the bottom for a half of Clovelly Cobbler in the Red Lion pub. I also bought the most over-priced crab sandwich ever. 

Clovelly harbour and the Red Lion Hotel, down a steep, switch-back, cobbled street
the view around Bideford Bay from Clovelly
It had been a long day and I had to walk all the way up the steep cliff side, through Wrinkleberry (another brilliant name) and across the field to my B&B at Burscott. The rain had slackened off, until 5 minutes before I reached my destination. I arrived soaked. Fortunately I didn’t have to go out again as the rain and fog came in for the night. I was glad I wasn’t camping. 

beautiful scenery, even on a wet day

6 thoughts on “Day 290 Bideford Bay

  1. Val K May 22, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Well it had to be said lovely Clovelly, how pretty it all looked really picture post card. Second
    breakfasts, Baggy Point and Wrinkleberry sounds like something from a fairytale!! Val x


    • Lucy May 24, 2016 / 6:34 pm

      Exactly. I think my life is a bit of a fairytale at the moment. So many wonderful places!


  2. Chris F May 23, 2016 / 4:28 am

    Straight from a scene from Poldark Clovelly is just beautiful………onwards Juice. 18 miles is good total for a day especially over such demanding terrain and in such pants weather..


  3. Chris F May 23, 2016 / 4:30 am

    Well Done Juice. Straight out of a scene from Poldark. 18 miles is a good total given the challenging terrain and pants weather….on on.


  4. Steve Chadwick May 23, 2016 / 9:42 am

    That is where I grew up………or at least spent my teenage years! Lovely part of the world. I have been following your posts avidly and it is a truly vicarious adventure. I am exhausted!


    • Lucy May 24, 2016 / 6:31 pm

      Hey Chadders. I hope all is well with you? As you can tell, I’m struggling with retirement! Can’t believe just how beautiful it is down here (and how many foreigners know that).


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