Our journey around North Devon

Thanks for joining us!

After a brief forray down to South Devon (6th – 24th Nov 17) to get the Motorhome fixed, we have arrived in North Devon – join us as we explore it’s beaches, you will not be disappointed, we have been blown away by their sheer beauty.  Bear in mind that this part of our journey mostly took place during February and March of 2018 and the weather was pretty awful – a lot of rain and quite a bit of snow!

If you would like to catch up with where we are now –  Freedombird Travels

If you would like to read our Cornish adventures – Freedombird in Cornwall

If you would like to see all the beaches we have visited so far – click the link below Freedombird UK Beach Guide



Ilfracombe wears it’s Victorian influence so well…

Similar day to yesterday, mostly sunny and dry but with some heavy showers and quite a chilly wind. I didn’t fancy going far, so we ventured into Ilfracombe and what a lovely Victorian town it is. Now I had previously written the town off, judged on the main High St, as being a bit run down, but as we explored the seafront and harbour, I believe that to have been unfair.

The sea is largely separated from the town by a series of hills and gardens running down the slopes to the town. These hills provide excellent views both out to sea and of the town.

Firstly we went to gave a look at the Tunnels beaches, unfortunately though they are closed until Easter, however we had a sneaky look from up above.

These were opened in Victorian times, with access created through the hillside, by tunnel to two beaches and sea pools, one for the ladies and one for the gentleman! How fab? Access is now £2.50 for an adult for the day.

Further along the front is the main beach, not massive but very attractive, Poppydog loved it, charging in, out, over and around!

The sand or really very fine shingle is grey, reflecting its main component being slate. We also found a nice little selection of sea glass on this beach,

The twin domes of the Theatre offer an interesting dimension to the background, seen as we start to climb Capstone Hill.

Up on the top of Capstone Hill, passing Windy Corner (and it was!) on the way up, is a beautiful statue in memory of a young Russian girl ‘Kate’ who sadly lost her footing and life on nearby Hillsborough Hill in 2000.

From here we wandered down the other side of the hill, to get our first glimpse of the oldest working ‘lighthouse’ in the UK, the Lantern.

The little chapel of St Nicholas (patron saint of sailors) dates back to 1321 and through the chapels varied history (as a church, family home and periods of near dereliction) it has always shone a light to guide boats into Ilfracombe’s harbour.

This is a very pretty part of town, with little boutiques, cafes, galleries and pubs looking out on to the sandy inner harbour and the old lifeboat station (now an Aquarium) in one corner and the new one in the opposite one!

And there just beyond the inner harbour is ‘Verity’ – I have seen signs all over the place to Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’, with no idea (forgive my ignorance!) to what they referred to – well now I do!

I fine figure of a woman she may be, dare I say it though, I think the statue on Capstone is more beautiful, meaningful yet somehow carefree?

From the harbour we went up to take a closer look at St Nicholas’ church which unfortunately for us is currently closed for refurbishment.

Oh yes and look it is raining in Wales,

Two thoughts of the day:

Don’t judge a town on first appearances!

We have had a really good day, learnt a lot and have a lot of respect for the Victorians – they gave us ‘holidays’ after all!

Barricane beach in the rain…..

I know this isn’t a very popular thing to say, but come back snow all is forgiven! It has rained all day without any let up – still rather than let it dictate our day we visited Barricane beach, which was in my list of things to do, if we had time.

The beach is actually only separated from Woolacombe Sands by a rocky outcrop and at low tide, as it was today, it is possible to walk round for a short while. We used the concrete steps, set in the rock face at the back of the beach and were delighted to have the beach completely to ourselves.

We had a good wander around, taking in the waterfall at the back of the beach and the countless rock pools.

Oh to live in one of those houses, immediately above the beach, on days such as today, I could throw a ball out of the window onto the beach and let Poppydog exercise herself!

We lasted a good hour or so, by which time we were both soaked, my rain jacket doesn’t appear to be that rainproof any more and both wellies are definitely letting in water!!

Fortunately I have a new raincoat but it does look like I am on a wellie hunt – again!!! Roll on spring – it us time!

Two thoughts of the day:

I’m sure it has pretty much rained everyday since Christmas.

The van resembles a Chinese laundry (whatever one of them looks like!) and Poppydog is positively steaming, but we are warm and now dry, so we shall just have to turn the TV up to hear it over the rain!

From Hele to Watermouth Warren…….

Frosty again this morning, but sun glorious sun, so the day can be forgiven for not warming up much! We parked up above Hele which is really just an extension of Ilfracombe, with great views back over Hele and on to the terrain that is today’s walk and I must say not looking overly level!

And indeed it wasn’t level in the slightest – I for one would be quite happy just to wander along the top looking down and don’t always feel the same need as the coastal path to follow every up and down and roundabout that every headland offers!

The footpath was very muddy and slippery in places and very soon I was carrying an extra couple of kilos on each boot of good old Devonshire mud! Still all good for the exercise I guess and good for the soul we’re these breathtaking views.

We meandered up and down, passing the pretty little cove of Widmouth with its private beach (can you have a private beach in this country?).

Until around the corner was our destination Watermouth and the Warren across the bay.

The beach at Watermouth didn’t look very appealing, appearing to be more of a harbour really.

So we wandered around onto the Warren to look at the strange round lookout hut at the end.

On the return journey we had a look at Watermouth Castle which is now a family attraction, though not open until Easter, not very impressive as far as castles are concerned, I’m sure we will find better!

The bus stop outside was quite tempting, but no, the sun is still shining and I’m sure we have got enough in us to make it back – shame that yet again I forgot to pack an apple!

Funnily enough the walk back was just as far, but with the sun on our faces and the cold wind behind us, Hele Bay was soon in sight.

Two thoughts of the day:

Am day dreaming about the flatness of Norfolk but in reality that is a few years down the line yet!

I feel an easy day coming on!

Our first lighthouse – Bull Point…….

Quite a sharp frost, greeted us this morning and it looked as though we were going to have another lovely sunny day, unfortunately not, though not bad it was mostly overcast but dry and wind free.

Today we drove back to Mortehoe and from there walked over hills and down dales to see our first lighthouse (since we decided to make a point if seeing them that is!), Bull Point.

Rebuilt in 1972, as the original built in 1879 was lost to a landfall, to warn ships of the jagged, near vertical, slate rocks lying beneath. The original keepers cottages are now holiday lets and the lighthouse itself is not open to the public.

From there we walked along the path to view Bennett’s Mouth down a deep grassy valley.

Before retracing our steps to the lighthouse and beyond following the coastal path to Rockham Beach, down yet another set of scarily steep steps! At least these steps went all the way down, without the need to abseil down the last bit on a length of rope!

The beach itself was mostly very fine bits of slate, rather than sand (apart from a small bit in the middle at low tide), but perfectly adequate for a game of ‘fetch’ whilst we wandered around psyching ourselves up for all those steps back up! Usually I try and give myself a clear run at steps, so that I can stop to admire the view (ok catch my breath!) part way up, but unluckily for me, as I was on the way up a group of walkers appeared at the top, waiting, so I had to press on! Needless to say, when I got to the top, panting like a goodun they decided that the steps were not for them after all! I managed to make it round the corner out of sight, before collapsing in a heap to recover!!

We continued round the coast for a bit, until a branch of the path took us back up through a valley to Mortehoe, with a pretty little well waiting for us at the top.

Shall we be polite and say an exhilarating round trip!

Two thoughts of the day:

Poppydog got lucky to be ‘off roading’ again today as the footpaths tended to be away from the cliffs and not a fluffy four legged creature was in sight!

I wonder if at some point I will find these 5 or 6 mile jaunts a breeze?