A New Discovery in North Cornwall – Porthcothan Bay :)

Cornwall – the most beautiful place in the world – especially North Cornwall 🙂
A new campsite found (to which we will return), and meeting with old friends.
This was a very special part of our trip 🙂

It’s been a few years since our last trip to Cornwall, but, considering it’s my favourite place in the world, it won’t be our last!

This trip in particular was a bit special. Not only was it wonderful to be out and about in the van again, but we were meeting up with friends who we hadn’t seen for nearly a year. AND we got to watch England beat Germany in the Euros together. What more could you want??

We discovered a site (Old MacDonalds Farm) that not only gave a wonderful first impression, but managed to build on that as our stay progressed – if we hadn’t had other bookings (due to worrying about being able to get in anywhere if we didn’t!) we would have stayed longer without a doubt.

We had 5 nights here and crammed a far bit in – here’s a summary:-

Looking out at the Petting Zoo (and the Alpacas) from the bar

Day 1 – Arrived (via a typical Cornish lane – meeting a tractor coming the other way!) We drove down (we were tired) to the Bay (it is walkable, but probably about 3/4 mile and quite a trek back up the hill!) There is a bus though 🙂

The beach is beautiful. The tide was out and we just walked out to the surf’s edge, exploring all the little caves and coves along the way.

We also noticed that all the beaches in this area have ‘litter picking’ stations, which is a wonderful idea. If we had been staying longer Calv would most definitely have got involved 🙂

Day 2 – It rained all night and didn’t stop all day, so we pulled on our wet gear and walking boots and headed out to get some fuel for the little car at St Merryn. Calv said the shop was amazing! So any camping needs should be filled here 🙂 We then took the road opposite the garage (and past the chippie) down towards Harlyn Bay and Trevone Head.

Initially we kept going straight on taking us past the golf course and driving range, before turning round and taking a left down towards the 2 holiday parks. There are 2 national trust car parks down here to take in the views or visit the bays. At the end of the road is the Trevone lighthouse – but the road goes no further!

We came back to the 1st car park and walked, in the rain, down to the delightfully named Booby’s Bay, which links up to Constantine Bay. I scrambled down to the beach via some rocks only to walk around the corner and find some wooden steps! Beautiful golden sands and patrolled by lifeguards, this was a lovely find.

Then we got a call from our friends to say they were waiting for us at our van! So we headed back and had a lovely afternoon catching up before they carried on to their holiday home in Padstow (normally rented out – #seaviewpadstow).

Day 3 – We headed slightly south to Bedruthen Steps, from where we walked to Mawgan Porth and back, a total of 5 miles. We didn’t know we were going to walk quite so far, and on leaving Mawgan Porth we decided to try to avoid the diversion on the cliff path (they’re putting in steps) by walking up the hill on the road (next to the Pitch and Putt). We thought this had worked, but the path ended up taking us back down to the beach anyway!! Massive fail…

An evening at #seaviewpadstow (our friend’s holiday cottage in Padstow) finished off the day. A taxi back to the campsite cost just £15 (although the taxi driver was pretty miserable!!)

Day 4 – Steve and Denise bought our little car back and then we took them back to Padstow, via Padstow Farm Shop (very disappointing) and Tesco’s. They later joined us at the campsite to watch THE match of the Euros so far (England v Germany in case you’re wondering) in the bar. The evening rounded off with a buffet meal outside the van and a few games of boules.

Day 5 – Our last day on site. We had a lovely sunny day so lathered on the suncream and took the kayak down to the bay. Great fun, especially surfing the waves back into the beach and even though Calv then tipped me out into the shallows – bless him….

Our last hurrah was to go back to Padstow for a wander before collecting Marie and Steve to come to pick up their car from the night before. They had all been on a Boat Safari during the day – seeing lots of dolphins 🙂

This part of the country is simply amazing – beautiful beaches, country lanes and stunning landscapes. A new view around every corner (and a tractor of course!)

We Stayed:Old MacDonalds Farm, Pothcothan

Next Stop: – Peter Tavy, nr Tavistock (Harford Bridge Camping)

Walk Lynmouth to Watersmeet (just like Julia Bradbury did)

Perhaps a little more challenging than you would have thought from the ‘Best of British Walks’ on the telly… But what a wonderful walk. You do need a fair degree of fitness to tackle the 2nd part, but you could turn back after visiting the tearooms to avoid the steep bit!

A couple of days following our extended walk down into Lynmouth we felt ready to tackle the walk that we had seen Julia Bradbury complete on ‘Great British Walks’ – they showed the easiest bits of course!

We drove down to Lynmouth, parking in the car park by the river. This is where the walk starts and we lost no time having breakfast or anything this time! We headed straight to the back of the car park to cross the river by the small footbridge. The river is so pretty here it’s difficult to imagine that this is the new course forged as a result of the flood in the 1950’s.

The walk starts nice and gently, meandering along the riverside, through the trees with a choice after about 1/2 mile of continuing along the river or heading directly through the woods. We chose the riverside as we knew there were a few areas of interest to see.

This part of the walk is easy and very pretty. We found the site of the Lynrock mineral water factory right alongside the river. They also made ginger beer here right up until 1939. The Atlee brothers who owned the factory lived at Myrtleberry which you pass a little further upriver. Read all about it here.

After a couple of miles you reach Watersmeet House which is now a rather lovely tearoom. Unfortunately we visited shortly after businesses had been allowed to re-open and the Cream Tea available was not freshly made, which was rather disappointing. We shall just have to return in happier times 🙂 (Sounds like a perfect excuse to me!)

After our little break and a quick chat with a fellow camper from our campsite we headed off for the more difficult part of the walk (at this point we didn’t know just how hard it was!) But first we took the detour further upriver (and it was UP) to find the waterfalls. Which we initially walked straight past, only realising our mistake when we got to the road… (Incidentally, if you were to be staying at the same campsite we did – Lynmouth Holiday Retreat – you can see a sign on the road for The Beggars Roost (which is at the entrance to the site), so we think you could probably walk back from here if you wanted to).

Heading back downhill we spotted a small set of steps down to the river which led to a viewpoint to see the waterfall. Remember it had been a very hot, dry summer thus far, and as such the waterfall wasn’t flowing very strongly…. We think it is probably far better in the spring or autumn.

We got back on the correct path (behind the house), which starts climbing almost immediately. And keeps on climbing forever (well, it felt like it anyway – I did consider turning around and going back the easy way at 1 point….). Then, just when you think you’re at the top you turn a corner and, oh look, it’s still going up. Didn’t tell us about THAT did you Julia??!! No, I think you mentioned that there were a ‘couple’ of steep sections after the house. Hmmm…

Having said that once we finally reached the top the views were stunning, and then we had the pleasure of finding a rather nice pub, The Blue Ball Inn at Countisbury, for a well earned 2nd pitstop 🙂

Suitably refreshed we set off for the final section of the walk along the South West Coast Path. Accessed via the churchyard we visited the tiny church of Countisbury, which was rather charming, before picking up the path along the cliff.

Whilst we were glad to finally be heading downhill, it was quite steep in places of this narrow path on the edge of the cliff… Once again though, stunning views 🙂 culminating in a welcome return to Lynmouth to give a final total of 7 miles hiked.

And of course a quick drink in The Ancient Mariner topped the day off nicely!

We would highly recommend this walk even if it’s just to the tearooms and back to Lynmouth. We will almost definitely return and do it again!

Next time read all about our adventures (and walks…) in Symonds Yat!

Related Posts:

Walking in Lynmouth and Lynton

Travelling to Lynmouth? Don’t do what we did!

A weekend in Symonds Yat

Walking in Exmoor – Lynmouth, Lynton, West Lyn

A ride on the Lynmouth/Lynton cliff railway has been on my bucket list since way before I knew what a bucket list was! Recent appearances on travel programmes re-ignited my interest, plus a walk on Julia Bradbury’s Great British Walks ignited Calv’s interest too – so was the 1st stop on our UK mini road trip decided 🙂

After a slightly stressful run-in to Lynmouth (don’t take the A39 – read why here), we settled down for a few days of walking.

We arrived the day after a big storm and the weather was still a bit dull, but the following day was much better, and we set off, pretty early for us, at about 9.30am.  The main reason for this is we were looking for somewhere to treat Calv to a big English Breakfast on his birthday 🙂

We found the footpath out of the site and set off down the lanes and across the fields to head down the hill.  Some wonderful views greeted us even at this early part of the walk.

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Once we hit the path we weren’t sure which way to go, so we headed left as this seemed the most logical direction. We were wrong as this took us back up the hill and around a gorge back downhill, before heading back up to meet the road skirting Lynton – meaning a walk along the road (some of it on the road) steeply downhill into Lynmouth. It wasn’t a problem, at least we saw more of the countryside!!

Arriving in Lynmouth we headed down towards the main area where there is a good selection of tourist shops, bars, cafes and pubs 🙂 We were here at the end of July so everything was open with social distancing protocols and masks in use.

At the far end of parade of shops we found The Ancient Mariner, just the right degree of quirkiness and a simply wonderful breakfast. We liked it so much we returned a couple more times during our trip 🙂

Revived by our breakfast we set off in search of the cliff railway that I had spent so many years wanting to visit. We first found the seafront and the Rhenish Tower (originally built in 1860 to store salt water for indoor baths, it had to be rebuilt after being destroyed in the disastrous flood of 1952). The historic cliff railway cannot be missed (both literally and figuratively), carving it’s way at a seemingly impossible gradient up the hill as it does! And it is still completely water powered.

At £3 each way for an adult (£2 per child, £1 per dog) it was well worth the total cost of £12 (we came back down later on in the day). A childhood dream finally realised!! I can’t wait to go back and do it again. And again. And again 🙂

At the top we took a walk around Lynton which is a bigger town than Lynmouth with more choice of shops and eateries. Perhaps not quite as charming though.

Completely by chance we looked at a info board in front of the town hall (and cinema. Apparently Lynton is the smallest town in England to have it’s own cinema) and decided to follow the walk up Hollerday Hill to find the old Hollerday House. There really was no evidence left of the house when you got there, the most complete area left was where the tennis court had been, although there is a really good information board.

Once you have walked up (and I mean up) as far as the house it is definitely worth walking the extra 5/10 minutes to the summit of the hill and the site of the old Iron Age Fort. It was VERY windy on the summit, but what a wonderful view we had – to the east the bay in front of Lynmouth, to the west ‘Valley of the Rocks’ and to the North the Welsh coast. We really wanted to visit The Valley of the Rocks, but simply ran out of time. Yet another reason to return 🙂

Once back down in Lynmouth we popped in for a drink in the Ancient Mariner before visiting the Glen Lyn Gorge . This perhaps feels a little expensive at £6 per adult, but it is privately owned and they have provided plenty of pathways up to the waterfalls, together with the loan of a mobility scooter that can get the less abled up to see these. The little museum is brilliant. Once the families left we had the place to ourselves (in these Covid times we waited for them to leave) and we were in there a fair while!

You learn a fair bit about the flood of 1952, which devastated the town, here. The other place is the Flood Memorial Hall which is near The Ancient Mariner. It’s free to visit but was unfortunately closed when we were in town (due to Covid no doubt).

So now we had to get back to the campsite. We knew we had to go uphill, but asked the guy in the Gorge what was the best way. The answer is to go to the right on leaving the gorge, and very soon there is a pathway up through the houses (we missed it at first, but I really don’t know how!!) You start off following the Two Moors Way (Devon’s coast to coast walk).

It is very steep, right from the start. And it doesn’t really get any better for a good long way…. Once off of the tarmacked path and into the trees you zig zag for what seems like miles (and not helped by people coming the other way telling you you’ve still got a long way to go!) before hitting the flattish path near the top. Here to get back to the campsite (Lynmouth and Lynton Holiday Retreat), you need to turn right. Then you will find the gate into the field waymarked for West Lyn. Good luck 🙂

This was a really long day and I’m sure you can imagine our legs were really tired, having walked over 11 miles – half of it up really steep hills. So we didn’t do much more that evening (not even a quick drink in The Beggars Roost...)

With tired legs the next day was spent visiting Ilfracombe. It’s so memorable that I forgot I’d been before….

In my next post I’ll tell you about our walk to Watersmeet and back to Lynmouth (the same walk that Julia Bradbury did on the telly).

We stayed: Lynmouth Holiday Retreat

Related Posts: Travelling to Lynmouth? Don’t do what we did!

Lynmouth to Watersmeet walk

Our Next Stop: Greenacres Campsite, for Symonds Yat

Walking and Kayaking at Symonds Yat

Travelling to Lynmouth and Lynton? Don’t do what we did…..

Vital advice on how to get to Lynmouth/Lynton in a motorhome or with a caravan. Put it this way – you need to drive much further than you would think (when just looking at a map). You need to take the A361/A399 rather than the obvious looking A39…. Trust me, and read on!

First thing to tell you is that that picture isn’t us!!  It’s a library photo trying to show you the problems on Porlock Hill.

On Monday, after a very hectic week or so, we set off on our mini UK roadtrip – first stop Lynton and Lynmouth.

We took a cursory look at the map, saw an A road (the A39) and decided that was probably the best route; set up the sat nav (an Aguri set up for our outfit, which we then proceeded to ignore as we thought she was being stupid – we are humbled and will never ignore here again!!)

We simply had no idea about the A39 (also known as the Atlantic Highway) you see.  So this is how we ended up, accidently, tackling Porlock Hill.  If you haven’t heard about Porlock Hill can I respectfully suggest that you have a little read about it here….

When we got to the hill (remember, we had no idea about it), the first we knew about any issues was the notice at the junction of the hill itself and the alternative route of the toll road.

Bottom of Porlock Hill

Note, the sign says that caravans are ‘advised’ to take the toll road.  Let me spell this out, in case you’re in any doubt, DO NOT TAKE YOUR CARAVAN OR YOUR MOTORHOME UP THIS HILL!!  I was going to say ‘especially if it’s been raining, or there’s dew or any sign of damp’ – however, this suggests that it’s okay for you to tackle the hill – which it’s not…. So I won’t say that!

The hill is 1in4 (or 25%) – think about that. That means that the road climbs 1 foot for every 4 feet travelled forward.  It also has tight bends and steep drop-offs (luckily I didn’t really see these).

As the road got steeper the front wheels starting losing traction briefly.  At this point I shut up, held tight, gritted my teeth and hoped for the best.  When we got to a sharp left hander about halfway up on the steepest part of the hill, we lost traction again, but this time we coudn’t regain it.

So, we’re stuck in the middle of the road, with the nose poking forward instead of around the bend – we’re going nowhere 😦

But, we had a little advantage in that it was Calv in charge.  We jumped out, unhooked the car, I jumped in and promptly reversed into the bank (not helpful really), Calv rolled down the hill and around me before he could regain traction on the other side of the road.  (If you watch videos of people tackling this corner you can see that they all take it on the other side of the road).

By the time I rounded the bend he was gone, once started he floored it and made it to the top where we pulled into the first available parking area to re-attach the car.

Then came the downhill section into Lynmouth where we stopped and unhooked the car again, as we realised we were going to have to go up again to get to our campsite.  This road up past Lynton to West Lyn was almost as steep – put it this way, in the little car I barely managed to get out of 1st gear – I tried a couple of times, only to have to quickly change back down.

Never have I been so relieved to arrive at a campsite – we certainly won’t be making that mistake again!

However, we’re going to pretend that we did it on purpose (and that we’re not actually idiots) so that we could tell other people about it 1st hand 🙂  (Are you buying that??!)

We’ve now researched the route for if you’re visiting this area, and would recommend the A361 to the A399.

Let me know if you’ve ever made the same mistake (it would be lovely to know that we’re not the only ones!)

Happy travelling everyone!

Related Posts:-

Our Campsite in Lynmouth – Lynmouth Holiday Retreat

Walks & Days out in North Devon

 

 

Coronavirus and Travel Plans – To Go or Not To Go…..?

So here we are at the end of February with a planned date to leave for Europe of 5th March… Our plans? Head down through France to Italy, take in Rome and Venice on our way through Italy to visit Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Belgium.
Hmm – little spanner in the works now called CoronaVirus means our plans are up in the air – what to do?

Do you ever get that feeling that you should be more excited for your upcoming plans than you are?  And then something happens that suggests you were right not to be excited – you’re pshycic – you knew all along that this might happen (or not, as the case may be).  Ever been there?

Well, I suspect that we’re not the only people in this position currently.  Only perhaps we are slightly more fortunate in that we have nothing booked and we can just do what we want, when we want – to a certain degreee anyway.

What am I talking about?  Well our plans for our next trip were well underway – in sofaras we ever plan.  This time the plan was catch a ferry, possibly on 5th March (we haven’t booked it yet), pootle down through France, finally crossing the Millau Viaduct on the way; head into Italy and down Continue reading “Coronavirus and Travel Plans – To Go or Not To Go…..?”

France Roadtrip, May 2016 – It’s brightening up over there…. (errr, no it’s not :( )

Our 1st coastal stop in France. Good for cycling and relaxing 🙂

So I lost a lot of what I wrote yesterday (twice – I’ve only just realised I lost the re-write).

Let’s continue with yesterday (we did a lot more than today for a start).  We went back to the castle in Talmont St Hilaire boys (I wonder if you recognise it?)

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We didn’t go in though as we arrived at 12.30.  Just as it closed for a couple of hours.  Most places close for a couple of hours for lunch – except hairdressers and bakeries we’ve noticed.  That’s going to take a bit of getting used to!

We then decided to visit Les Sables d’Olonne (somewhere else I’ve been before with the boys).  I was a bit disappointed as it was a bit of a dump and it took an age to find the seafront (French signage doesn’t seem to be designed to help you find where you’re wanting to go…)

Here I had a crepe.  After ordering I told Calv that I believed I might have just ordered a pancake with cream.  I was right – I don’t know why I did it; I knew that Chantilly means whipped cream!  It was okay, but I won’t make the same mistake a 2nd time 🙂

We drove back to the van on the coast road (why didn’t we just go that way in the 1st place?!

Once back we decided to get a wash done, so off we set to the laundry, set the wash going and decided to head to the bar for 20 minutes until it was done.  3 1/2 hours, 3 wines/beers and an impromptu dinner in the restaurant later we were just about to head out for a bike ride (trust me it sobered me up!) when I remembered the washing!  Lucky I did or it would probably still be in the machine now!

The bike ride in the evening took us halfway back to Les Sables d’olonne to Chateau d’Olonne (the 1st sandy beach following an amazing rocky coastline) – 9 miles there and back (and no, I didn’t use the motor for most of the time – Debbie & Paul…)

Today (Day 5 – I think it’s Saturday..) has been a lazy day apart from a visit to Lidl (won’t be going back..)

I’ve finished my book (Jamaica Inn) and started a new one (Make Me – Lee Child).  Calv has given 1 side of the van a polish and I’ve done the ironing.  Rock & roll!!

Tomorrow we’re off again, this time to Lege Cap Ferret near Bordeaux and we have high hopes of finally seeing some sun!

I hope everyone’s well and am fairly sure your weather is currently better than ours 🙂

 

 

 

 

May 2016 French Roadtrip – No! The other right….

Travelling from St Malo to French West Coast at Talmont – mainly avoiding the motorway! Was that the best decision? Well yes and no…. Read on for more detail 🙂

It was a long day yesterday. Travelling.  We opted to take the scenic route….  I would say big mistake, BUT, we did see some lovely little towns and villages which, of course, we would never have done from the motorway.  Maybe we should just have got onto the motorway a little earlier though?  Instead of waiting until there was a road closure barring our way, a SatNav that couldn’t deal with that and a Calvin going the ‘other right’ when I said go right….  We stopped at a little town called Rouge (just before Chateaubriant) which had a massive church.  This seems to be a theme – small town/village, big, big church.  Very impressive I have to say.

 

Then we were tootling along a back road and came upon this little cemetery with a small chapel in a village called Maumusson.  Like I said, we wouldn’t have seen these had we taken the motorway.  But we would have got here a lot quicker!

Anyway we made it, finally. Again another lovely site.  Great swimming complex (the sun’s rumoured to be making an appearance tomorrow so we might get the chance to use it as well..)

 

 

Again a lot of Brits here (and a fair few from the Channel Islands – though not as many as were at the last site)

May 2016 – Cycling into Combourg & a wander around old St Malo

A lovely stop not too far from the ferry at St Malo. Lovely site near to an interesting town. Also within striking distance of St Malo, where the Old Town is a must see

We’re staying just down the road from Combourg – the nearest town to La Chapelle aux Filtzmeens.  In keeping with most towns in this area it is mainly medieval in style with so many ancient buildings.  We kept forgetting to look up though, and probably missed loads of it.

We cycled there!  Into a headwind and uphill most of the way (very grateful for the extra power!)  The next challenge was to make the bikes safe – which we managed to do outside the tourist office – unlike any tourist office we might see at home!  If you look carefully at the picture below you can see our bikes chained up under the tree 🙂

Combourg Tourist Office

There’s a beautiful chateau here, but we tried to visit at 12.30pm, just after they’d closed for an hour and a half.  Then whilst staring through the bars that were keeping us out we noticed the long list of things that weren’t allowed in the chateau – including backpacks.  That was us excluded then!

We went off to cycle round the lake and have our packed lunch by it’s shores, before heading back to the site.  11 1/2 miles complete we were done in and needed to sit with a nice cuppa before even thinking about anymore activity!

At this point Calv announced that he was craving fat chips – yes already!  I said he’d have to make do with a curry, and decided to get on with making it ready for later.

Having finally agreed to go to St Malo old town rather than Dinan we set off (we also gave the SatNav another chance, even though we knew the way, to see if it actually does work – it does!)

We parked outside of the old town because the bridge was closed when we got there, and walked in (by which time the bridge was, of course, open).  When leaving we watched it open to let a few yachts into harbour.  So we wandered in and  spend a good couple of hours walking around the ramparts and the old lanes and alleyways.  I’ve got to be honest, the cathedral with no lighting bar a couple of small electric lamps, is quite possibly one of the loveliest I’ve been in, very tranquil.

St Malo cathedral

Another 3 1/2 miles walked and we really are jiggered now, and hungry.  That’s why we ate a whole French stick with (and before) our curry (as well as rice).  Oops….

Successes:-

  • Found the camera charger (which we thought was lost)
  • Found Calv’s wet jacket (I’d put it in the inside pocket of mine for ‘safe’ keeping – we’ve spent the last 2 days thinking it was lost…)
  • 11 1/2 miles cycled
  • Didn’t get lost once all day….
  • Found the right satellite 1st time – so could get English news

Fails:-

  • Leaving my FitBit behind on charge when we went to St Malo – Calv refused to come back for it!

Weather – overcast (I think we saw the sun for about 5 minutes all day), and cold.  Never mind we trek further south tomorrow when we set off for Talmont St Hilaire which is just south of Les Sables d’Olonne.