Plenty of Sand and Seashells

Crow Point is a beautifully hidden little beach near the village of Braunton. It sits happily opposite Instow; close enough to make you think that you could cross over without any hassle.

I don’t come here often but when I do it’s just lovely! Dogs are more than welcome and it rarely gets busy, which is another reason I love it. You get tranquility and space for free, so nice.

I visited last week when we were blessed with a sunny, warm day and also took a picnic (I’m just obsessed with cute picnics) and I enjoyed picking plenty of seashells while I strolled along the beach. It’s a mind field of cute seashells! Love it.

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THE JOYS OF CYCLING

Cycling is one of those simple pleasures of life. Anyone can do it if they have the patience to learn and it gives you such a great feeling of freedom. You ride along se the breeze goes through your hair.

It’s probably one of my favourite things to do but sadly I don’t get to do it as often as I would like. The British weather this ‘summer’ has not helped the situation either! Those who live around the south west of the UK will understand what I’m saying! It’s been so cloudy and rainy since July; we did have a beautiful week and a half at the beginning of July but that was it. I had made so many days out planned for summer but I haven’t been able to do hardly any cause it’s been raining most days!

Thankfully luck struck us and we’ve had a rain-free day! (The weather forecast is going bad again tomorrow) and we decided to go cycling! Living in the countryside has its perks because you have lovely trails which are accompanied by stunning views. Seeing as I sadly do not own a bike, we had to find somewhere that would rent out to us. Fremington Quay is the place to go!! It’s situated on the Tarka Trail and it’s overlooking the River Taw, giving you pretty picturesque views while you have lunch or enjoy an ice cream!

They have a bike hire there and the price depends on how long you want to hire it for. We hired the bikes for 3 hours so it cost us £17.50 (full price). They were really helpful when it came to helping pick out the correct bike for you; because I’m short I struggled finding the right bike and when I found it (cute vintage bike), the seat had to be out down a tad. Slightly awkward. But the workers were so friendly and helpful so top marks for that!

We cycled along the task trail towards Instow. It was just perfect. Sunny and warm with the occasionally refreshing breeze. It was so easy to just shut your mind off and taking in the scenery while you peddled along the trail and past all the other cyclists. It was very busy today so there were many people enjoying their own cycling experience!

Because I hadn’t cycled in at least a year, it was very easy for me to keep going off the trail and into the grass. And more than once (at least 10) I nearly went into the hedge! This is why cycling is exciting! YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT ITS GOING TO BE LIKE! At least nobody saw my awkward moments!

It took us at least an hour and a half to get to Instow, but we were taking our time so you could definitely get there quicker! Once we got to our destination we had our picnic on the beach, relaxed our legs for half an hour and then wandered back to the trail and set back to Fremington Quay. It became quite cloudy while we had our lunch but they quickly went away when we started cycling again.

Once we got back to the quay we bought ourselves some ice creams and relaxed before heading back home. It was such a nice way to spend the day and if you’re all out of ideas on what to do and want some advice then definitely go cycling! No matter where you are go GET A BIKE AND FEEL THE FREEDOM AND WIND THROUGH YOUR HAIR!

If you’re visiting Devon then go to to Fremington Quay. If you’re not going to cycle then at least take in the gorgeous scenery while enjoying some lunch!

SECRET GARDENS AND SUNNY DAYS

I’ve been visiting quite a few National Trust areas lately, and the latest one was the stunning Arlington Court. This jewel is placed right on the edge of Exmoor and the estate belonged to the Chichester family for over 500 years. Impressive. Quick little history lesson on the Chichesters: Sir Francis Chichester (1901-1972), born in Devon, was an adventurer at heart. He set many records as an aviator and a seaman. He was the first person to complete an all around-the-world solo trip and was welcomed by 250,000 people when he returned to Plymouth after setting the new record of 274 days and 28,500 mile journey. Having achieved such an incredible adventure, he was appointed a Knight Commander of The Order of The British Empire.

The National Trust took over the estate after the last member of the family, Miss Rosalie Caroline Chichester, passed away. Her urn stands overlooking the lake which is said to have been one of her favourite places.

To visit the estate make sure you know the times that everything opens and shuts- everything apart from the ground footpaths closes at five. The prices are slightly annoying, although they vary depending on what you actually want to do. To get entry into the whole property which includes the house, it’ll cost the following- Adult: £11.00, Child: £5.50, Family: £27.50. To get entry into the Carriage museum and gardens (includes the estates footpaths) will be £8.90 for adults and £4.45 for children. I personally thought that the price is reasonable for what you get (I got the cheaper version because I wasn’t overly fussed about going into the manor house). We spent the whole day there, as we were constantly busy.

My parents and I arrived at about half 11 and we were ready to leave at half 6. I wasn’t bored once as I was taking loads of pictures and taking in the amount of history that exists at the estate.

The carriage museum was very impressive as it proudly shows off a collection of over 40 British carriages. I was very taken surprised by how well preserved they all were, while acknowledging the fact that they’re all at least 100 years old. Not going to lie, I really wanted to sit in one. For obvious reasons you weren’t aloud to touch any of the carriages. Although on a few there were little ladders which you could use to climb up and take a peak inside them. This was fun.

To keep children amused, there were various interactive points  to give an insight into the history. My favourite one was General Tom Thumbs carriage. It was amazingly tiny and just perfect.

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In a separate dark room they hold their greatest piece in the carriage collection. An aristocratic royal carriage. Because the carriage still belongs to the royal family there were rules against pictures being taken in the room, so sadly I was not allowed to capture the stunning gold plated carriage, however, there are pictures on the National Trust website. I would’ve liked to get inside of that carriage.

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After the museum we went to the tea room, which offered a variety of cold food and lovely cream teas. There’s a peacock wandering around the grounds so keep an eye out for it!

The estate covers over 20 miles of footpaths that can be explored. It took me at least an hour and a half to do the walk around the estate. The paths are very relaxed and fairly easy to  do, although there are a few steepish hills which will give you leg aches.

We left the gardens for last, because although it’s not big the gardens are colourful and very pretty as it has a water feature and a cute glasshouse. My dad struck up a conversation with one of the workers and while they were chatting about the estate, life and politics, I was taking advantage of the scorching sun (hottest day of the year) and pretty much started sunbathing on the grass. No dignity left. Also I saved a couple of bees from dying of heat exhaustion so that was my good deed of the day!

Walking through the gardens was really peaceful, and was pleasantly surprised when I found a small doorway, leading to another garden (this second garden was more vegetable based). It was like The Secret Garden movie! Loved it.

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I have been considering perhaps becoming a member of the National Trust family by purchasing the annual membership. The price varies depending on whether you want an individual membership (£64.80 a year or £5.40 a month), a joint one (£108 annually or £9.00 monthly), or a family one (£114.60 annually, or £9.55 monthly). Now, I originally thought that this meant that it would be a specific place that you could get the membership with, for example, only with Arlington Court, however, after asking the staff about this they assured me that this will give you free entry to over 500 places, alongside free parking at the majority of the car parks, a handbook of things to do when you visit these places, a National Trust magazine subscription and regular newsletters about news and events. I think having the membership is a plus and considering the entry price at most parks are at least £8.00, I think that if you’re a fan of visiting national trust places, it’ll be better in the long term to get this membership.

Arlington Court, National Trust information: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court-and-the-national-trust-carriage-museum

Westward Ho!

The picturesque coastal village of Westward Ho! is my Devonian home. The village is named after Charles Kingley’s 1855 novel, Westward Ho!, which was set in Bideford (town nearby). The book was a bestseller, which encouraged entrepreneurs to start developing tourism in the area. I permanently moved from Venezuela to Devon in 2011 and this coastal town has been more than welcoming!

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This coastal village is very popular due to its 2 mile long beach, known as Golden Bay. In summer, or whenever the sun pops out from behind the clouds, people swarm to Westward Ho! to enjoy its sands and surf. It’s a place that the whole family can enjoy as there’s something for everyone!! My favourite store in the village is So Sweet, there’s so many sweets to choose from and to top it off, the store plays disney songs non-stop!

Apart from sun bathing and building sand castles on the beach (as it’s a 2 mile long stretch of sand, you won’t really struggle finding a spot to get comfortable on!) there’s plenty of rock pools to explore, a golf club, crazy golf and Go Karts!

If walking is more your thing then you can follow a cliffside path which takes you down to Cornborough. This walk is relatively easy and you get plenty of lovely views. As you walk towards the coastal path, you’ll come across an abandoned house (you can’t really miss it, rather creepy looking! If you’ve ever seen the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller,  Psycho, you’ll see the resemblance that this house has with the one in the film!).

When it comes to food, there are plenty of places to eat – The Pier House is one of the more popular restaurants to go to in the village as it serves an all round menu along with stunning views, and Moran’s, which is a Thai food restaurant. There are also fish and chips takeaway, pizza parlour, and little cafes.

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  1. Follow is the link for more information: http://www.westwardhodevon.com

Up and down from Lynton to Lynmouth

Hey guys! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter! I had originally planned to go to Trelissick National Trust to enjoy an Easter egg hunt (check out the post: https://youandmediscovering.wordpress.com/category/cornwall/), but I decided to come back home to Devon to enjoy the day with my family.

We drove up to the Exmoor National Park where we visited the adorable twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth. The history here dates back hundreds of years which shows the transformation of the villages from a farming community to a tourist hotspot. Both these villages are connected by a charming cliff rail, which stands itself out as the main attraction.

Lynton is at the top, showing off its charming architectures, impressive views and a handful of spots to eat (My favourite place is the Cracker Barrel as it offers its award winning pasties and a wide selection of appetising foods, and to try somewhere different we went into The Glasshouse, which offers sandwiches, jacket potatoes, fish, paninis, etc – it was very nice, welcoming, and affordable).

As you hop off the rail you arrive at Lynmouth, where you’re welcomed by the sound of waves tumbling over all the pebbles, and the sound of people chattering. Follow the streets and you’re spoilt for choice with the amount of cafes and pubs. If you don’t find anything you like at Lynton then you most definitely will in Lynmouth.

For all those art lovers there’s quite a few art galleries to wander in to (if I had the money then I most certainly would’ve walked out of there with a painting or two). Like in any place, there are the quirky shops – there was a little shop selling Christmas decorations! IN APRIL.

There are cute public footpaths and trails to follow; my favourite leads you through woodlands, and towards a hidden little cafe. If you want to try it then just walk down the streets, across the bridge and follow the stream. Take your dog (if you have one) and take a stroll. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

If you’re in Devon then take a wander to Lynton and Lynmouth; you’ll probably fall in love.

For information on Lynton & Lynmouth follow the link: http://www.visitlyntonandlynmouth.com

PS. I will be doing a separate post on the woodland trail so keep an eye out for it!