South Devon Seaside

This week the weather has been rain and fog the whole time we were in Cornwall, which was typical because we were there for an extra day this time. I was hoping to get all of my washing done and put away, give old Daisy good clean right the way through and get caught up on all my work. Instead I spent the whole time wiping muddy paw prints off of everything. Every time the dogs were walked just added to another set of wet things that had to be dried. It did give me a taste of what will come in the winter and, oh boy, I will definitely have to get myself some waterproof trousers by then.

St Blaise church, Haccombe, Devon, UK
St Blaise church, Haccombe, Devon, UK

It was with great relief to be setting of into the sunshine for a few days. We decided to go to Shaldon, Devon. The reason for this was that when we were in Teignmouth last we could she Shaldon across the water and Nik thought he might be able to get so fantastic pictures from there. As good a reason as any for how we pick where we’re going. Also the weather report was good for the area and we were starting to get desperate for dry clothes and I’m not ready to start visiting the laundrette just yet, there will be enough time for that in the winter.

So we arrived at our site to a lovely warm, dry and vaguely sunny afternoon. First thing I did was to get out the washing line and left Nik to make the drinks. There was only one other occupant in our field and they also had dogs, so of course whilst both sets of dogs get used to each other there was a bit of barking from both camps. In the end we decided that our two had too much energy and took them for a walk.

Opposite our site entrance is a public footpath nicely sign posted for us, so this is where we decided to walk. The walk started with quite a steep climb up through some cattle fields, so we had to keep the dogs on leads until we got to the top. The view from the top was stunning as ever. Looking down to Haccombe House there is a nice winding approach, giving the seen a romantic feel to it. The path then took us through a nice little woodland and came out beside the house and St. Blaise of Haccombe Church, which is the most unusual colour. We assume this is because it was built using the beautiful red clay from the area. Very pretty. The circular route took us back to our site along the track. It was a lovely little walk to while away the afternoon and occupy two energetic little pooches.

Thursday

The weather report said it was going to rain and it did look as though this would be the case when we woke up in the morning, so we decided to make good use of the day and let Nik get some photo editing out of the way. Obviously the dogs still had to be walked so we started our day by taking the dogs out.

Just behind our field was a bridle path, which we wanted to explore, and hoped would give us a good hours walk. So we set off full of hope but not expecting too much. The path itself was ok for a little walk; nothing special as both sides the hedges grow very tall. We didn’t mind on this occasion as we were only out walking for the dogs. We walked through a little woodland and came out beside a road. We had the choice to walk down the road, which we could see met a busier road, turn around, which would have made the walk a bit too short, or walk up the road and see what we could see. Obviously we took the last option and happily the road very shortly turned into another bridle path. The path meandered up hill through fields. We had the most stunning views through valleys, of rolling hills and sometimes we could see the

River Teign. I know I say the views from the top of a hill are stunning often, but really, if you take the time to climb a hill the views from the top are rarely disappointing. When our bridle path turned back into a small lane we had travelled further than we had intended, as always, and we didn’t want to spoil our walk by going back. So we continued on in the hope of finding a road, lane, bridle path that would cut back towards our site. Eventually we found another bridle path that was most definitely heading the right direction so we followed it to it’s end. This is where our beautiful walk turned a little sour.

Rolling hills of rural devon countryside, Netherton, Devon, UK
Rolling hills of rural devon countryside, Netherton, Devon, UK

We ended up on a very busy and rather narrow road. We’d been walking for just over two hours by now and weren’t keen to turn back. So out came google.maps (thank goodness for technology), as much as we didn’t want to we could see that the best route back to our site was along a lane which we could reach only by walking along this road. So despite the traffic we started off along the road. Not only is it narrow, but also there is plenty of evidence scattered along the road of bad driving, well that and our own experience with people scaring the living daylights out of both of us. After ten minutes, which felt like an hour, we found and old, hidden, fenced and disused bridle path heading our way. After a little discussion (which lasted all of 30 seconds), we decided that we would prefer to face an angry farmer because we had trespassed on his land, than another car on that road.

This was the start of yet another adventure. The fence at this end of the path had been flattened down so we only had to walk over it; the path however was strewn with old tree limbs and stinging nettles. Dogs on lead, we walked along this path dodging stingers, climbing over dead trees and trying not to fall into holes. About half way down the track the farmer had put up a nice new fence with barbed wire running along the top, so there was no getting over it. Leaving us with no other option but to climb the bank of our path and enter a crop field. The crops had been cut and bailed so we were concerned we’d damage them. Most of the outside of this field was well fenced, but as we’d entered it Nik spotted a couple of deer running off into the distance and so we came to the conclusion that if they could get out so could we, we just had to find their hole in the fence.

Ha-ha! This wasn’t a small field and the smell of deer was all around the edge, which was where we were walking, or rather being dragged, by two very excited dogs who where desperately trying to follow the smell of deer at top speed. When we did eventually find the exit we had walked about half way around the outside of this field. Now we had to climb through bramble bushes and up and then down a muddy bank, trying not to let go of excited dogs and tying not to collect any injuries along the way. We were now back in the bottom half of the bridle path, with two very excited dogs trying to drag us under and over branches and through patches of well grown stinging nettles. This part of the path must have been an animal run as the dogs were in sniffer heaven. I’d never have guessed little Ella could pull so hard. By the time we came to the end of the path Nik and I had collect a few horse fly bites, stinging nettle rashes and barked shins. Still! No broken bones, ha-ha. We ended up in a very over grown field, which unfortunately led to someone’s garden. So like naughty school children Nik and I crept through the garden and out down the lane, back to the safety of a normal footpath that we knew was only two minutes away from our field.

You should have seen the grins on our faces, we returned to Daisy like conquering heroes, with our bites, bruises, stings, arms that felt like they’d been pulled out of their sockets and of course the all important layer of dirt. So much for a small walk! We never learn.

That evening we were sat in the lounge with the windows and doors open and a wren flew in through the window, stopped on the edge of the drop down bed for a second then flew off through the fly strings out the door without even touching them. It all happened so quickly; if Nik hadn’t been there too I would have thought I’d imagined it.

Friday

Shaldon was our destination for the day. Not a big town so we checked there would be parking before hand and were nicely pleased to see they had a pretty large car park for such a small place. There is a little zoo next to the car park, so maybe this is why. We managed to go in on the wrong road so had to drive through the little town, not the easiest drive.

We started our day by walking down past the nature reserve to the farthest end of the beach so the pooches could have a nice run around and get it out of their system. We followed the beach until we came to part that dogs aren’t allowed on. All along the way there were barrel jellyfish washed up on the beach. They are the biggest either Nik or I have seen washed up on our beaches.

Barrel Jellyfish, Rhizostoma pulmo washed up on the beach, Shaldon, Devon, UK
Barrel Jellyfish, washed up on the beach, Shaldon, Devon, UK

We followed along the coast as much as we could and where possible we walked on the shore. There was almost everything we could have asked for along the route. Beautiful buildings and scenery, boats, fishermen, views of Teignmouth and off in the distance even a few trains to keep Nik happy. A little more sunshine and the tide coming in instead of going out would have made it perfect. We walked as far as we could go beside the waters edge before turning back, this time we walked along the road we had driven in on and went into the town. The main part of the town consists mainly of very nice looking cafes, restaurants and pubs, with a few little shops here and there.

We finished out day with a walk through the nature reserve, which had a lovely look out at the top of the hill with a fantastic view of Teignmouth.

So lets finish with a giggle.

As we were driving through the town looking for the car park I turned and looked into a garden, just for the briefest second, and saw a bird feeder with lots of little birds on it. At the very top of the feeder was a little bird not bigger than a sparrow, all black with a vibrant red breast. So I turned to Nik and told him I’d just seen this beautiful bird. Once I’d described it to him, he admitted that he didn’t have a clue what it was. Once we’d parked we got out the book of British wild birds but couldn’t find it. Nik’s conclusion was that it might have escaped from the local zoo.

So we had our day at Shaldon and as we were walking back through the town Nik stopped to take photos of some very pretty flowers in a garden. At this point I spot my bird feeder and the black bird was still sat on top of it. Why?

Because it was an ornamental part of the feeder.

Beach huts at Goodrington Sands Paignton, Devon, UK
Beach huts at Goodrington Sands Paignton, Devon, UK

Saturday

The sun was out in its full glory so we decided to visit Paignton before going back to Cornwall. We were going to park a Preston Sands, but came in at the wrong end of the one-way system. As we’d just spent our entire journey in a traffic jam we didn’t think we’d turn around so we carried on going towards Paignton. Here we discovered there was a car rally going on at the seafront and so we thought there’d be little parking for our great big vehicle, and kept on going. By now we were starting to think we’d made the wrong decision for the day. Then we saw a sign for Goodrington Sands just along the coast. Luckily for us there is a nice big car park at the leisure centre and it was only one minute away from the beach.

Goodrington Sands Paignton, Devon, UK
Goodrington Sands Paignton, Devon, UK

We started off with a walk through grassed area where there is a bouncy castle, go-kart track, a boating lake and plenty of grass for picnics. We then made our way to the beach. The left hand side of the beach allows dogs and I must say I’ve never seen quite so many dogs on one beach at a time. It was lovely, we let our two free and they had a nice run around with other dogs before going for a paddle. The sand on this side of the beach is the deepest earth red and had a texture like very wet clay. I should imagine, brilliant for sand castle building and was a lovely firm surface for walking.

At the far side of this are the red cliffs that this area is famous for and just in front of them, on a little esplanade are beach huts, lots and lots of them. This of course put the biggest grin on Nik’s face. They look so pretty backed by the red cliffs. Once we’d

Train spotters waiting for a special double header, two steam locomotives together on The Dartmouth Steam Railway, Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon, UK
Train spotters waiting for a special double header, two steam locomotives together on The Dartmouth Steam Railway, Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon, UK

thoroughly explored this side of the beach we walked up onto the esplanade and around to the people only section. The sand here looked much lighter in colour, and far more sand like, ha-ha. There is a water park here, which is next to the train station, and steam trains run along this track during tourist season. Not only that, but the track runs so close to the beach that you can watch the train whilst swimming. Just to send Nik into ‘Nerdy Heaven’, there were lots of beautiful beach huts just in front of the line, which gave him an idea for his perfect picture.

 

Whilst waiting for the right moment we walked to the end of the beach and followed the coast path to Saltern Cove, where we could again let the dogs off the lead. As we walked we noticed there were quite a few train spotters waiting beside the track with their cameras, which was a good indication that a steam train would be along sometime within the hour, so we didn’t hang around too long before slowly making our way back to the beach.

As we walked along the path we noticed that the train spotters had more than

Young girl watching a steam engine go past on the Dartmouth Steam Railway at Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon, UK
Young girl watching a steam engine go past on the Dartmouth Steam Railway at Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon, UK

doubled in number, they were every where, some even brought their step ladders with them. Now we knew that not only was a steam train on it’s way, but this was going to be something special. Just to confirm, as we walked past a couple of the spotters I said, ‘must be something special on it’s way then?’ to which I was told ‘it should be a very special one.’ He wasn’t going to tell me what though, tch. Anyway Nik didn’t care how special as long as it was making steam as it passed him, bless. We had to wait about 20 minutes for it to pull out of the station but it was well worth it to see the look on Nik’s face after he’d taken the picture.

The perfect end to a lovely few days.

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