The gloomy U.K winter weather cold and wet, makes you want to just curl up in a ball and stay indoor. As the temperature plummeting down to single digit, it’s so frustrating to organise an outdoor activity. But this time I’m embracing the winter months. A random getway was planned in a rush with my good friend Ching. Yes a road trip to North Devon.
The previous night southern U.K. was hit by storm Imogen, but when we woke up the following day the weather started to clear up. We set off just after the morning rush hour traffic, heading towards south. I’m glad as soon as we hit the motorway, the sun started to come out. We even needed sunglasses as the sun was shining so bright. A beautiful day, perfect timing for a road trip.
Our intial itinerary was to head towards Heddon Valley, but because of the heavy rain from the previous night, most the local road was closed and lots of road diversions. So we changed our plan, instead we drove towards Barnstaple City Centre.
Barnstaple is considered the main town of North Devon. It has a diversed mix of architectural design. As evidence of the landmarks such as the Pannier’s Market, it used to be the major market since Saxton times. Strolled along the quayside and we come across to Queen Anne’s Walk, it was built in 1708 as a former Mercantile Exchange. As we continued walking towards the high street, there we found a courtyard where an ancient building of St. Anne’s Chapel was erected.
Just before sunsets in, we drove towards Milton Damerel to find our hotel. We stayed in Woodford Bridge Country Club for couple of nights. A very remote place set in the beautiful landscaped countryside, greenfields and a stream. With free parking for guests. A good place to stay but the only downside, they charge additional fee for the pool and wifi.
On that evening we drove towards Bideford to find a restaurant. A pretty quaint town full of history. Bideford is the historic port town on the North Devon, along the estuary of River Torridge. There’s a legend about a man named John Strange who was born in the 16th century. When he was a little boy he fell down the hill without any injury acquired. Then another incident when someone launched an arrow on his forehead. Luckily didn’t penetrate his skull it only left a scar. Later in his life he became a ship owner, merchant and mayor of the town. He passed away in 1646, while helping with the Outbreak of a flaque.
Another legend in 1682, The Bideford witch trial last hanging punishment in England. To the three women named Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles and Susannah Edwards,after being accused of witchcraft.
The following day we headed towards Clovelly for a day out. Clovelly is a pretty small harbour village in Torridge district of Devon. The village was believed to be a settlement area before Saxton times. The most greenest village in U.K., that it can only be accessed through its beautifully laid predestrian cobblesstone street and some deliveries they used sledges pulled by human or donkeys. The village is run by The Clovelly State Co. Ltd. For the management of restoration and maintenance of the village listed buildings . Getting into the village requires a small ticket fee through the Visitors Centre, that includes a free parking. After getting through the visitors centre, a short walk through a steeped cobbled streets there are small buildings noticeably on the left. A donkey barn, a silk shop and a pottery shop. We ended up visiting the cute donkeys, then walked around the pottery shop. Which offered paint your own pot, a cool stress buster activity. I would say a good activity for kids and adults too. And the best thing you can take it home for souvenir.
Then continue walking through the steeped cobbled street to the village with the beautiful seaside view. Walk passed the historic Fisherman’s Cottage, the New Inn pub and hotel and there’s a chapel too. After wandering around and if you reached the lower part of the village. Go to the harbour bar, they serve the best and freshly catch fish. Fish and chips anyone?
After lunch why not explore more and go for a long walk. The place offers a coastal path to enjoy the stunning coastal scenery. Walk along the seaside and you’ll discover a waterfalls, a few meters away from the Lifeboat Station.
Shortly after our wandering we decided to go for a quick drive to Bude. Finding a parking space wasn’t hard, there are only few tourists around. Bude is a seaside town on the border of Devon and Cornwall. Famous for it’s beaches, the Sumnerleaze and Crooklets. It was too cold for a beach stroll so we walked by the Bude canal. We were supposed to visit the castle, when drizzles started. Instead we decided to go to a café, but unfortunately most of the café were closed by 4pm. Luckily a friendly local directed us to a local bar just around the corner. Not a usual place for cappuccino but good enough for a hot drink in a cold rainy afternoon.
The following day, it’s time to drive back home. After checking out, my friend Ching kept nagging about cream tea. So along the way we stopped at Tiverton. Tiverton or Twyverton meaning “the town on two fords. Tiverton enjoys the view of two beautiful river, the well known River Exe and River Lowman. As soon as we parked the car securely, were able to find delicious scones. We walked around and found a small shopping area and found a café, but unfortunately they have run out of cream tea’s. But the lady on the counter directed us to a musuem and they serves tea an scones the whole day. We didn’t waste no time, we headed towards the Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life. We soon found the musuem sign, and we walked through a courtyard with a small café. And yes they are open and serving cream tea. We were lucky to get the last table, beause most of the table were reserved. The creamy and rich clotted cream maybe so calorific but who cares we are on holiday. We enjoyed every bite of the scones. What a way to end a beautiful getaway.
Before driving off and hitting the motorway, we saw a signpost for castle so we went for a quick visit. Bickleigh Castle is a fortified manor house situated on the banks of River Exe. The castle was built in the 11th century and since then more parts were added in different period. Not until the 20th century were the final restoration was done, the only remaining original part of the castle is the Norman chapel and the gatehouse. Now a days the castle offers a B&B accommodation, conferences,seminars, and wedding venues.
Have you been to North Devon? Whatever the weather you can still enjoy the stunning sceneries and walking trails. Surely a perfect holiday getaway.