Friday, July 29, 2011

east devon way

An evening walk along part of the east devon way; the dirt lane seen in the above photos which meanders across the heathlands around Newton Poppleford and Ayelsbeare. At around 8 in the evening the place is deserted and quiet, apart from the singing of birds. Nice easy levelish walking with good views of the sea, Woodbury common and the hills around Sidmouth.

Despite it seeming to rain plenty lately the ground is very dry here and all the small streams are without water and the rivers down to a trickle. Spring was unusually dry, with it not really raining for about three months and what rain we have had doesn't seem to sink in. It's been very good weather for apple trees apparently with a bumper crop ripening two months early.

On the way back with it getting dark now, or dimsy as it's known, (maybe as in ' it's getting dim see') we encounter a large hare sitting on the path ahead. He moves off into the field and down the hill only to appear again a hundred yards on, sitting on the path again. Once more he jumps through a gap in the hedge and I see him taking large, easy bouncing strides down the hill. Again and for a final time he appears sitting on the path ahead and then moves off. Hares are a rare sight around here, or most places for that matter and you can go many years without meeting one or even never see them at all, so a special encounter indeed.

The evening darkens further and we make our way back along the scented lanes down past the wheat fields to Newton Pop for the bus.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salcombe Regis

Across the cliffs from Dunscombe and Lincombe and we finally descend the steep path into Salcombe, to take a look around the churchyard. Salcombe must be one of the smallest and prettiest villages around here, a collection of maybe not even a dozen houses and a few small farms, no shops or pubs and just the one lonely phone box. If you like a nice quiet beach, there is a good mile walk down the combe to Salcombe beach, accessed by a hundred or so steps. The walk back to the top of the hill from the beach can best be described as knackering.

The complicated history of Salcombe Church is best explained by W.G.Hoskins in his book: Devon, published in 1954.

"The village is situated in a warm and fertile combe facing S., about a mile back from the sea. The church (St. Peter) was originally a 12th century building with a N. aisle. About 1300 the chancel was lengthened, a S. aisle added, and the arches of the N. arcade remodeled, leaving the Norman pillars. About 1430 the aisles were widened, and given new windows, and the W. tower added."

The church also went through extensive renovation in about 1850. The landscape is remeniscent of the painting 'Our English Coasts' by William Holman Hunt, which was actually painted in Kent. We leave the village by climbing the small but steep hill to the west, pausing for a rest on the war memorial situated at the top of the hill. Even a parish as small as this one has its own stone memorial to the local men killed fighting in the two world wars, no village seems exempt from this.