At the start of October we headed down to Devon for a few days. It’s been a while since we were in that part of the world

Moor and Sea

Written by Haydn Williams

At the start of October we headed down to Devon for a few days. It’s been a while since we were in that part of the world, and I’d forgotten how many steep-sided wooded valleys there are in-between the moorland and coast.

Morning sunshine at Watersmeet.
© Haydn Williams 2022

After an initial foray down from Combe Lodge to Watersmeet, we had a lazy afternoon and then went for an evening wander along the coastal path at Valley of Rocks.

Caesar watching Becs watching a goat.
© Haydn Williams 2022

That theme continued the following day as we took another bimble around Baggy Point and along the beach at Croyde.

One woman and her dog.
© Haydn Williams 2022

Thinking that we should probably take advantage of the fact that Exmoor was on our doorstep, we took the bikes out the next day. A reasonable climb led into an awful trog across a bog for 4 km into a horrific headwind. Fortunately we were electrically-propelled so it wasn’t so bad – it would have been a nightmare on a normal bike though!

eMTB Exmoor – what goes up…
© Haydn Williams 2022
… must come down.
© Haydn Williams 2022

Another day, and another trip to the seaside. This time it was via more very narrow, very steep roads in the van, eventually popping out at Heddon’s Mouth. When we emerged from the valley onto the shoreline I was delighted to find that the river just disappears into a hole at the top of the beach, only to bubble up again out of the floor further down.

Our penultimate day took in a lap of Exmoor’s best tourist sites, including an old pill box at Porlock Weir which looked rather surprised to see us.

© Haydn Williams 2022

Walking back across the harbour, a heron was wandering around in the morning sunshine looking for some breakfast. I have been a bit lax in regards to carrying the proper camera around lately, so had to settle for using my phone.

Heron in the harbour.
© Haydn Williams 2022

From there we drove inland, passing an ancient stone bridge at Tarr Steps (where the unexpected highlight was seeing an Amazon van somehow emerge unscathed from the the boulder field which constituted a ford), and on to Winsford in search of some Exmoor ponies. The search was successful…

On the final day we went back to the beach, primarily because there aren’t any near us, and because Becs loves a beach. A very blustery walk around Morte Point left us a bit rained-upon and not a little windswept, and on the return trip we navigated the tightest road yet to eventually reach Lee.

Grunta Beach, Barricane Beach, and Woolacombe Beach
© Haydn Williams 2022

Another beach bimble ensued, this time along the old smuggler’s path that’s carved through the rocks from Lee beach to neighbouring Sandy Cove. The path is exposed at low tide – excellent timing on our part, though sheer fluke rather than good planning.

And suddenly the week was over, but it was very enjoyable, and nice to do seaside instead of mountains for a change.