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



Poppydog’s favourite walk – Braunton Burrows…

It certainly has gone cold again – not quite freezing, but that chilly easterly wind more than makes up for that and there is even a little flurry of snow in the air! I thought Poppydog could do with a good bit of ‘off roading’ today, so we headed for Braunton Burrows, which is the one place where I know she can be free.

As the area was military free, instead of sticking to the main route through to the beach, we meandered about through the dunes and it was lovely to just watch Poppydog racing about, never going too far and bobbing up every now and then to check on me!

We did eventually make our way onto the deserted beach, but that came with a stiff breeze, so after a check on the sea state, we soon headed back to the shelter of the dunes.

On the way back, we didn’t exactly get lost, but it took us considerably longer than I planned as we found ourselves in the middle of the Burrows, which is clearly used for driving exercises, with tracks going off in all directions, up and down some very steep dunes! Poppydog was in her element and will definitely sleep well tonight! As indeed will I!

Two thoughts of the day:

I wonder if we will get the snowfall forecast for tonight? Could make moving on tomorrow a bit awkward!

Found some new wellies- let’s see how long they last!

At last a little bit of sunshine…..

We managed a dry walk first thing, but then the rain came and it rained and rained the morning away. However by about two o’ clock, it dried up and a weak sun made enough effort for us to be encouraged to seize the moment and dash off to Woolacombe to make the most of it!

We weren’t alone in grabbing the chance, but as we have found before, most people tend to gravitate around the car park end at Putsborough or to the village end at Woolacombe, so parking along Marine Drive and joining the beach towards the middle is a pretty good strategy!

Poppydog happily ran up and down the beach, chasing a ball (with another one in her mouth!), whilst I ambled along behind.

Two thoughts of the day:

What a funny nation we are, I popped into Tesco’s today (the third time this week!) and the shelves are still nearly all bare! How can the country closing down for three days due to the weather the week before last have such a long lasting impact?

Really fancied having roast chicken for dinner tomorrow, but no fresh poultry available, so roast beef ready meal it is!

On Military Exercise in Braunton Burrows…..

A mostly sunny day but with some pretty heavy showers around just to keep us on our toes! However we were lucky just catching the tail end of one when we arrived at Braunton Burrows and then it very kindly stayed dry for a few hours until we got back to the car! We enjoyed a lovely rainbow across the Burrows.

As there were Military vehicles in the car park and there are signs up warning of Military training activity, I decided (much to her disgust!) that it would be prudent to keep Poppydog on her lead as we wandered through the burrows to Saunton Sands. As it turned out, we only happened upon a group in the middle of the Burrows who appeared to be having a briefing, so I was probably being over cautious. Anyhow once on the beach, which was pretty much deserted as usual, so plenty of room for play.

This time I was ready and had 3 tennis balls to wind Poppydog up with! The theory being that she can only carry one, so I can keep throwing the other two. As you can tell I am desperately trying to find a method that works! Where we are currently is that I throw a ball which she chases, catches and brings back BUT doesn’t let go, so I then throw another ball, which she chases, catches (having just dropped the first ball where the second ball landed) and brings back but doesn’t let go, so I now have a third ball to throw whilst walking along to where the first one has been dropped! So that was a long winded way of saying we are getting nowhere!

Still the sun was shining and it was very pleasant, wandering along the beach, with just the roar of the waves in the background and Poppydog was getting all the exercise she needs!

On the way back, as Poppydog was calmer (bordering on worn out, not forgetting she is a Springer!) and seemed content to more or less stay with me, we ventured into the Burrows.

All seemed to be quiet so I assumed the Military probably packed up by 3 or 4 to get back for their tea! Wrong! We were just coming up to a bend in the track when the sound of gunfire quite close by, took us both by surprise! I quickly put Poppydog back on her lead and continued around the bend with some trepidation. Fortunately a couple of military vehicles came by and waved us on through, anyhow we got a shifty on, shall we say and once around the next bend World War 3 broke out behind us, so we got a shifty on all the way back to the car! I may add that other dog walkers we encountered back in the car park didn’t look in the least bothered, so I assume we were quite safe!!

Two thoughts of the day:

Who is more out of place walking through the sand dunes behind Saunton, me in my bright purple rain jacket or the Military with their faces all camouflaged?

I assume they were pretend guns or ammo at least – must have been, they didn’t sound loud enough!

Westward Ho! to Appledore….

Well after yesterday’s mizzog day, what a lovely surprise to see the sun from mid morning and to enjoy a mild and dry day out. We started in Westward Ho! and followed the lane through Royal North Devon Golf Club – this was a bit of an ordeal as the combination of grazing sheep, small birds fluttering about and the odd flying golf ball had Poppydog swinging on the end of her lead like some demented pendulum. Such that I was tempted a couple of times to just let her go and create merry mayhem, while I wandered off in the opposite direction completely disowning her – what were my chances of getting away with that?

Still after a mile or so we crossed the dunes and pebble ridge onto the beach – which was huge!

It stretched in every direction almost as far as the eye could see and though there were quite a few people (and dogs) around, Poppydog had a good run about, occasionally letting me throw the ball, but mostly just running around in figure of eights with a ball in her mouth!

The sun was mostly shining and without much of a breeze, dare I say it? It was almost warm!

Westward Ho! itself, runs along the back of the beach and is mostly gift shops, surf hire, pubs and cafes, but there was an enormous amount of new building work going on, both holiday type and residential. Still with this lovely long stretch of golden sand – enough to go round even in the summer I guess.

We then had a wander around the neighbouring village of Appledore, a pretty village of painted terraces and narrow little streets.

The village runs along the tidal banks of the river Torridge, opposite Instow, and has a significant boat building history which remains active today. Again at low tide, plenty of exposed beach, though this appeared muddy in places and didn’t look that appealing (we are getting quite choosy!).

It was also very welcoming and the local advertising quite innovative!

Two thoughts of the day:

These little villages must really struggle to function in the height of the summer, the traffic jams must be horrendous!

I wonder if these huge beaches get packed in a nice day, or if you can still find some relative peace at the far ends?

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!

Instow and along the bank of the river Torridge…..

Well we have well and truly thawed out here now and we ended up with quite a sunny afternoon. So after extending our stay here for another couple of weeks (the site at Dulverton that I plan to move to next has postponed their opening date until 16th March!) as we have so much still to see and explore around here, we set off bound for Instow.

The beach here was absolutely packed with sunny Sunday afternoon walkers, lots of dogs and at least two groups playing with a football, so I’m afraid Poppydog was way to wound up to be given any Freedombird!

The beach was not overly attractive, tending to run to mud along the edge of the river so we about turned and set off instead for a walk along the disused railway line, now part of the Tarka Trail, this particular section runs from Barnstaple to Bideford.

The trail took us inland of Instow, but after passing Instow signal box and Station (now a yacht club) followed along the bank of the river Torridge and very soon we left civilisation behind!

As we neared Bideford and the road noise increased, we took that as our sign to turn back and view the pretty villages of Appledore on the left hand side of the Torridge and Instow on the right.

Two thoughts of the day:

As far as signs go – how about this one?

We weren’t wearing any, but we would have!

Oh and by the way, the snow did not make a very good job of cleaning the car!