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Mogs Travels: September 2010

Mogs Travels

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dunster & Cleeve Abbey

Thurs 30th Sept

We had good intentions today, planning a country walk and then a visit to Dunster Castle but somehow the walk got missed! We weren't sure of the directions in the walk book so parked by the castle and set off to explore leaving wellies and walks book in the car. We soon came to the sign pointing to Dunster Water Gardens & Mill. The mill was fascinating , built in 1690 and now renovated and producing flour for local shops. It's very elegant simple technology & although the cogs and drive shafts are now metal it's easy to see how the whole thing was originally constructed from wood. We thoroughly enjoyed it then wandered around the castle grounds and elegant 17 th century stables. The castle itself was closed which was a shame.

We headed into the village which was very quaint but too touristy.

Next stop was Cleeve Abbey where we joined English Heritage although I felt rather guilty that we weren't joining Cadw. Again the Abbey was really interesting. Although only the foundations of the Abbey church remained the domestic quarters were in suprising good state of repair. The wall paintings and the tile refectory floor were outstanding. The gate house was pretty good too

Finally we called in at Watchet where I particularly liked the museum with it's display of Flint tools from the old stone age up to bronze age. We had a walk around the harbour before returning to the caravan & the pheasants.


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Dunkery Beacon & Lynmouth

Tuesday 28th September

A grey mist soon lifted as the sun rose above the surrounding hills this morning. Clear blue skies promised a lovely day so so, after a rather leisurely start we headed off for our second attempt at Dunkery Beacon.

Success! The weather closed in as we walked, however, so that as well as the scenic panorama of the South Wales coast from the top we could also see approaching rain showers. The return to the car was rather hurried but we got back before any rain. There were showers around us but a small bit of blue sky above lit up the fields leading down to the coast and treated us to a lovely rainbow.

We then headed north to the coast road, stopping briefly to take some photos as we approached Lynmouth.

The village itself was very touristy & full of souvenir shops & cafes. The exhibition describing the great flood of 1952 was moving. 34 people were killed and many houses were washed away or damaged. We then took the rather elegant water powered Victorian cliff railway up to Lynton at the top of the cliff. There I found a shop selling inexpensive leather handbags so I bought two! A cream tea completed the afternoon before driving back through the moorland mist to settle down in our cosy caravan.


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Monday, September 27, 2010

Tarr Steps

We set off for a walk this morning to Dunkery Beacon - the highest point on Exmoor. Guess where the low cloud & mist reaches first?! Having admired the hazy view and gathering clouds we headed back downhill to Tarr Steps

This is a real tour magnet,with good reason. The steps are actually a clapper bridge probably built in mediaeval times and made of massive flat stones. They cross the River Barle in a lovely wooded valley. We enjoyed the footpath up one side of the river, across a footbridge then back down the other side. There was a disappointing lack of wildlife but it's not really the best time of year for that. The most interesting creatures were the miriad of pond skaters in the quieter reaches of the river. The surrounding woods were very atmospheric, deep and dark, with moss laden boughs and ferny undergrowth. Twisted trees seemed to grow out of bedrock which appeared to have the texture of bark. We looked for Ents & dryads but saw none!

Back in the real world, we then headed to the shops of Dulverton to load up with fresh local provisions for the next couple of days. It's now 8 o'clock and we're relaxing in the van listening to the raucous calling of pheasants all around.


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New Explorations

A new phase in our travels has started with our purchase of a touring caravan. We've called her Rosie & she is a 2 berth van with a lovely big end bathroom. There will be no more compromises when camping, we now have all mod cons. We toasted her with champagne on our first night in her.

We're currently enjoying our first trip, staying at a campsite in the beautiful Exe Valley on Exmoor. It's so nice to be in the countryside, surrounded by woodland & wildlife although the wildlife is rather noisier than expected. This area seems to be overrun with pheasants, there are hundreds of them on the roads and in the fields. I hadn't realised how vocal they are, calling loudly, particularly in the evening & early morning. We awoke yesterday to the sight of several of them wandering between the vans.

No sign of them today, just a heavy frost. Perhaps they were huddled up somewhere warm. I felt rather sorry for the campers in tents today, who all looked frozen. One couple spent half an hour in their car, warming up with the engine running, before venturing out to cook breakfast muffled up in thick anoraks, gloves & woolly hats! Meanwhile LB & I were warm as toast in our pyjamas enjoying watching the goings on of the campsite. So far haven't done much other than relax, shop & do some repairs to the leaking shower. Proper exploration will start tomorrow. Elvie

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