Countisbury and Porlock and not a glimpse of the lighthouse!….

Another grey day dawned, but again it stayed dry until about 4.30, just as we were getting back in the car for home – so all good by us! Our aim today was to visit or at least see the Lynmouth Lighthouse and unfortunately on this matter we completely failed! We parked up above Countisbury with spectacular views over Exmoor and set off for the lighthouse.

We passed the pretty little parish church of Countisbury and soon had amazing views of both Lynton and Lynmouth.

Over Butter Hill onto the Foreland and up to Foreland Point and this was as near as we got to the lighthouse, about 100 feet vertically up above the lighthouse!

Could we see it from any angle? No not a chance, we even wandered a mile or so along the coastal path towards Porlock to see if we could peer around the corner at it – again not a chance. You can see the access road just disappearing around to the lighthouse in the bottom right hand corner of this photo, but it was a long way around and down – so you will have to take my word for it!

I reckon that is Hurlestone Point in the distance, so perhaps you can see it from there?

Our next stop was to be Porlock, though we had an enforced stop, whilst some sheep were relocated to pastures new and I did take a quick viewing stop before we went down into Porlock, to catch the bay from above and was joined by a couple of Exmoor ponies, who were not in the least impressed by the view!

Porlock is very similar to Lynmouth, with its narrow Main Street, populated with individual shops and tea rooms, prominent church, with a very unusual spire.

We wandered down to get a glimpse of the sea, but here again we came unstuck as the route we had chosen took us across a large expanse of marshland before eventually meeting the stony beach and we didn’t have the time, or indeed particularly the inclination to venture that far!

A good old walk, if a somewhat frustrating day – you see you can’t tell everything by looking at Mr OS, sometimes a friendly nod in the right direction is required!

Two thoughts of the day:

Perhaps this blog will provide a friendly nod and help you find what you are looking for?

Spotted a nice little chippy in Dulverton when we popped in for some supplies, in a very well stocked Co-op on the way back and it smelt really good so I think that is a date for next week!


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!

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?