BIDEFORD HOLIDAY MARCH 2015
We all arrived at the Durrant House Hotel, Bideford on Monday 23rd March. The weather all week was quite favourable with little or no rain. Food and hospitality at the Durrant House Hotel was an last time excellent.
Walk from the Hotel along the River Tor
Sylvia led our first walk of the week on Tuesday from the Hotel along the banks of the river Tor. The path from the hotel was undulating taking us down to the River where there was an excellent view of the new bridge over the river Tor. We walked on an elevated pathway through the trees on the river bank. The walk then went inland, crossing fields and then back on to the first part of the pathway where we had started our walk. The views over the bay at the end of the walk were spectacular.
After the walk a few members took their cars along to Hartland Harbour. What a beautiful setting, nestled under the cliffs of the North Devon coast is the harbour. No longer a working harbour, this picturesque place is a must to visit on this protected coastline. The towering cliffs with their amazing stretched formations. Once an area of volcanic activity and earthquakes the rocks were pushed up from the earth to form enormous waves of strata. The action of the sea has demolished some of the cliff face leaving plates of dark rock far reaching out to the breaking waves. A few of us had lunch in the traditional Inn and then enjoyed a walk around this breathtaking location. We then went on to Hartland Point Lighthouse. The weather turned very windy and cold. Unfortunately due to coastal erosion it was not possible to take the cliff path to the lighthouse.
Bideford Golf Course walk - Wednesday
Wednesday was dry but very windy and a little chilly, but on the whole not a bad day for March. John Bill took us over a winding path over the golf course which skirted the beach. The walk was flat and the terraine very exposed. We walked amongst the sheep grazing on the course (who needs a groundsman?) on this very rural golf course. On the whole it was dry underfoot with just a slightly boggy end to the walk. Very enjoyable.
An afternoon in Appledore & Westward Ho
We group of us decided to explore the coast next to Bideford. We took a trip a mile along the coast from the golf course to the sleepy little seaside town of Appledore with its quaint white cottages and narrow back streets. These tiny fishermans cottages held a wealth of interesting little businesses, museums, coffee shops and holiday lets. We set ourselves down in a little tea room in one of the back streets. There we indulged in a lunch of home made sandwiches and cakes. After filling our tums we took to our cars again and ended up in the popular holiday town of Westward Ho. Well known for its caravan parks both on the beachside and cliff top. We took the footpath westwards along the old Bideford/Westward Ho railway track. The coastline was very interesting with is "pebble rocks" formed in the ice age by sediment and rounded pebbles - very unusual to see completely round pebbles embedded into hard rock. We walked by an old derelict house which rather resembled "the Bates Motel" in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller - but we never saw the old lady in the rocking chair. It looked as though the old house was ready to fall into the sea. The coastline is absolutely stunning with wide sandy beaches stretching all round the bay.
The Tarka Trail - Thursday
The weather was dry a little cloudy, but generally pretty good and a pleasent temperature. We drove inland from Bideford to a point by the old railway station where another section of the Tarka Trail was waiting for us. We gathered under the bridge for a photo shoot before we set off with Sylvia in the lead. The pathway was created from the old railway line. It was level and wide, lined with trees on either side. Snaking under the pathway a couple of streams cut their way through the lovely north Devonshire countryside, swollen by the recent rains. Positioned along the route were wooden benches with the most amazing carved figures where the weary traveller can take a rest. When we had walked about 2 miles at a point where the track met the main road we turned round and came back. One always notices new things on a reverse walk. The primroses were in full bloom sitting on the verges open to the early sunshine. At the end of the walk we all stopped at the cafe and enjoyed a well earned cuppa.