Sublime

A change is as good as a rest? Yes, indeed (if you look carefully at pic above it’s a young man and a dog).

We didn’t go terribly far – just across the county from southeast to north which took an hour and a half driving time.

What a difference. From our soft, gentle on-the-estuary vibe to the wilder north coast. Even though we’re a 10-minute drive from the Atlantic coast here, this place still feels … gentler.

I’d never been to north Devon in the 12 years I’ve lived in the Southwest. While I love where I live, I’d only recommend a few days here to a tourist. It’s lovely. The air is great (apparently when you don’t live here it helps you get to sleep). There are some villages/towns to explore. The food tends to be decent.

North Devon… Now, that’s a place to visit if you’re in England and want to go to the seaside. Far easier to reach (and somewhat less busy this time of year) than Cornwall, which is tourist and second home land.

We stayed in a cottage (forgot to take a pic) in a slightly inland village called Georgeham on the side of a valley (see pic above). It’s up the hill from Croyde on the coast and an easy drive to some other coastal villages (Woolacombe – pic 1 below), a town (Braunton) and beaches (Putsborough and Saunton Sands [pic 2]).

 

You can walk the Coastal Path. You can surf if you like (loads of places to camp, rent gear, etc). You can eat very nice food. You can sit in your garden, watch the sheep in the field below and the ‘weather’ move very quickly inland. The lanes smell of various flowers, animals, sea air and honeysuckle.

This was the first proper holiday (bar a couple of trips to London over the past year) since 2019. I am truly glad I chose for us to stay in this country (perhaps you saw the mad pictures of airports – as of a few days ago there were people who were still stuck in Europe waiting to get back to the UK).

So. We walked up over Baggy Point west from Putsborough. A good, hard walk, with amazing views. 3-4 miles I guess. Loads of sheep, gorse, etc. Had lunch in Croyde (really nice place called Blue Groove if you ever end up in Croyde. Walked back to Putsborough on lanes (which took a half hour vs the 2 hours outbound).

Walked on Woolacombe beach and in the dunes (see pic – that’s son and dog yonder). Quite a climb up to road where there’s a lovely café overlooking beach (Porthole – see pic). Dog had to pull me the last few metres to road (much easier climbing when you’re on 4 paws).

Interesting jelly fish (Moon jelly fish) on beach for all to avoid. But apparently their sting isn’t that bad.

Wonderful walk on Coastal Path from Croyde to Saunton Sands beach (pic is of tidal pools from path).

I fell over into nettles at the end of walk, stung wrist and cheek and turned ankle (nothing too bad and things much better today – have osteopathy on Wednesday anyway so he can fix me). Ate at truly glorious restaurant on stilts over beach. Highly highly recommend (Beachside Grill) which is a dog magnet. Joe the lab was over the moon.

Then walked back to Croyde, got ice cream, and did what we did most late afternoons: sat in garden reading, watching weather, birds and sheep (and a couple of llamas).

Evening meals were local dog-welcoming gastro pubs or picked up from mostly quite good local food vans (a lot of different sorts of curry).

Oh, and stopped at bee centre on way home. Tour (great info on bee attracting plants), cream tea (now want more), bought a couple of wonderful smelling beeswax & honey candles, and jar of Devon wildflower honey.

Seriously great away time. I want to do it again, now. (Well, maybe in the autumn.)

One issue (beyond sprained ankle): on way there and back, but only on motorway (ie, going 70 MPH), unbalanced tyre dash light came on. Will call place I bought car from. AA came out first time and sorted things (which meant we got to cottage a couple of hours after planned). On way back, happened 10 miles from home, so just drove home and then reset system. Anyone have this happen? Car was fine on short drives on lanes … Maybe it doesn’t enjoy going really fast …

  • Tom says:

    It sounds delightful!

    This Memorial Day (3-day weekend in the US) I just went out to the building’s pool with kindle on my iPad and a jug of unsweetened iced tea. With the price of gas and the wackiness of travelling I thought it best.

    No sure what an “unbalanced tyre” light would mean- is it that one is low pressure? You may have a leak? I don’t have those things on my old car and the only thing I am aware of being unbalanced is the owner. AAA can’t fix that..

    • cinnamon says:

      It was very nice indeed, thank you. Sigh, yes, gas prices, food prices, on and on. Car is going in on Friday to have system checked. Older cars are much simpler…

  • March says:

    Oh my GOODNESS this sounds lovely! What a delightful vacation! Super low stress, easy travel (okay except for the car issue), not too far away but different enough… you’re getting me thinking about where I could go that is relatively near and easy to get to, but different enough to be a treat. (won’t have a coast, though, lol)

    • cinnamon says:

      I was surprised by how different it felt — and by how much of a difference that made. The whole thing felt like a ‘proper’ holiday even though we hadn’t left the county, and (bar the issue with the car) the travel was fairly minor. And really the beaches were incredible.

  • alityke says:

    Non touristy UK hols can be the best & most relaxing breaks!
    I haven’t done Devon or Cornwall for over 40 years. Heading Southwest means visiting friends in Dorset or family in South & South West Wales. Both are significantly balmier than Yorkshire!

    • cinnamon says:

      That’s a long while, but having said that I’ve not been north of Birmingham in decades and I’ve never been to Yorkshire (just southern Scotland).

  • Dina C. says:

    What a wonderful, refreshing trip that sounds like, Cinnamon! Great photos, too. Love all those views of the shore, the fields, nature…can almost smell the clean air and feel the breeze. So glad for you! Sorry about the tumble you took. Hope you’ll feel better quickly.

  • Kathleen says:

    Your holiday sounds sublime indeed, my kind of holiday too. I enjoyed your photos and description of the area. Gorse is a plant? Other than your ankle mishap and car trouble, I hope you returned home refreshed. Do you have a particular fragrance as a scent memory of this holiday and place?

    • cinnamon says:

      Gorse is something that grows here on commons and headlands — yellow flowers and prickly. After the first day or so I stopped wearing perfume and just paid attention to the air smells — salt, various flowers I couldn’t identify, the roses planted on the walls of the cottage, honeysuckle, animal smells (cows, sheep, silages). There were also beach roses, but I didn’t get to smell them.