United Kingdom
South Hams District

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40 travelers at this place:

  • Day10

    Rest Day #1

    May 13, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Today's Route - Nowhere
    Distance - Nuthin'
    Beers Earned - None but we've plenty in the beer bank

    Ahhh, a rest day ... a lazy start, a big breakfast, plenty of coffee and no real plans for the day (other than the necessity of doing laundry). The soles of our tootsies are enjoying being out of boots and on the couch after yesterday's exposure to very hard surfaces.

    Today's lazy day is timely as we are now carrying our first injury. Ms Office-Body smashed her bare foot into an immovable object last night and has possibly broken her pinky toe. It may just be a nasty sprain ... swelling and bruising can be ambiguous. Regardless, the ouch factor is quite high.

    We did venture out during the afternoon via bus to Plymouth for a late lunch, with the injured toe buddy-strapped to its neighbour in a pair of very comfortable shoes. A slow shuffle around the Barbican area, a nice meal, a couple of pics and then straight back to the couch.

    Hoping for a toe recovery miracle overnight before trying to squish it into a hiking boot tomorrow morning. We did bring the hiking poles with us for when the going gets tough for Ms Office-Body on the really steep sections in the later part of the walk ... they might be brought into service sooner than expected as a walking stick.
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  • Day9

    Walking - Day 4

    May 12, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Today's Route - Scorriton to Ivybridge
    Distance - 22.9km
    Beers Earned - 6.9 hard earned
    Weather - only 13 degrees but tshirt and sunscreen

    This section of the route is described as the most testing with navigation skills required. Navigation was definitely challenging and our buzzy GPS had a field day but the most testing aspect was two-fold. Firstly, over half the walk was on hard surfaces which is always tough on the feet but perhaps more so after spending the 3 previous days in boots. At least having lots to look at and amazing views is a distraction, which was the second part of the problem. For most of the distance the scenery was same, same, same and it became quite boring.

    The first part of today's walk was lovely as we left Scorriton for a slow and steady climb back onto the moors. There wasn't a trail, just a target location somewhere out of sight on the other side of the climb. Buzz, buzz, buzz kept us heading roughly in the right direction. Mr Fit-Body still had plenty of energy to power up the long incline but Ms Office-Body was lagging further and further behind, taking quite a few opportunities to pause and admire the view (also known as having a rest).

    Once we reached the top we passed by Huntingdon Warren, where rabbits were farmed from the mid 13th century until the 1950s, and crossed open country until we reached the River Avon. This is not the same River Avon of Shakespeare fame ... apparently there are quite a few Avons in the UK.

    No wading required to cross the Avon, there's a conveniently placed clapper bridge (19th century) which makes getting to the other side very easy. There was another steady climb on the other side of the river, with lots of scenery admiration on the way, before reaching the Zeal Tor Tramway. The tramway was built in the mid 1800s with wooden rails for horse-drawn trucks to carry peat to the naphtha works.

    It was at this point that the walk slowly deteriorated to a trudge. There is a second tramway which was built in the early 1900s for the clay workings, which seem to be right next to the peat diggings of the previous century. The Redlake Tramway track bed is now part of the Two Moors Way for 10km through the barren and lonely moorland. The surface is flat but hard packed and unforgiving on tired feet. Walking off the track bed is an option in some areas but in others there's a high probability of landing in a knee-deep bog. It was one foot in front of the other until we eventually reached softer ground.

    The soft surface was short lived before we hit another 2km of hard surface into town. Our sore feet took us as far as the first pub to redeem one of our earned beers before our B&B host picked us up.

    Thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day.
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  • Day8

    Walking - Day 3

    May 11, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Today's Route - Widecombe in the Moor to Scorriton
    Distance - 15km
    Beers Earned - 4.2
    Weather - gorgeous

    A comparatively short walk in glorious sunshine for most of the day. It was pretty damn chilly when the sun went behind a cloud and the wind sprung up but out of wind was borderline tshirt-worthy.

    The early part of the day was on a trail following a small river ... so pretty with the dappled sunlight through the trees and the sound of the water running beside us.

    More fantastic views as we slowly made our way up to higher ground again but no boggy bits to tackle as the trail followed Dr Blackall's Drive overlooking the Dart Gorge. The good doctor was lord of a local manor (Spitchwick) in the 19th century when it was fashionable to have a carriage drive. He created his very long drive along the contours of the hill so he and his family could enjoy the magnificant views over the Dart River and valley.

    A steep descent from the drive (definitely not the way the carriage would have gone) took us down to follow the Dart River to New Bridge. New does not mean new ... the bridge was built in the 15th century ... but it would have been new at the time.

    Only a short stroll from there into Scorriton to arrive at the pub to claim our beers earned. There was some debate about whether we'd earned pints or half pints ... the app does not advise what size beer is used in the calculations. We've decided we'll just have whatever beer takes our fancy.
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  • Day11

    Walking - Day 5

    May 14, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 14 °C

    Today's Route - Ivybridge to Wembury
    Distance - 24.9km
    Beers Earned - 7.1
    Weather - sunny and windy

    We're back on the hoof feeling refreshed after a rest day. The moors are behind us, our bags are full of clean clothes and we're ready to tackle the next part of the walk. With the injured toe firmly buddy-strapped, fortified by painkillers and supported by hiking poles, we set off to earn some beer.

    Destination: The coast

    Today's route can be summarised in one word ... bucolic

    Green meadows, the sound of farmers literally making hay while the sun shines and lots of cows looking very contented. We skirted villages, meandered down narrow paths, crossed through crop fields, avoided the field with the bulls in it, climbed stiles and basked in the sunshine.

    The ups and downs tested the toe and our stockpile of painkillers is significantly lower than when we started this morning but we made it to our destination without further incident.
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  • Day12

    Walking - Day 6

    May 15, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today's Route - Wembury to Bigbury-on-Sea
    Distance - approximately 20km (close enough)
    Beers Earned - Some
    Weather - sunny and windy

    Today we joined the South West Coast Path, England's longest waymarked trail. It stretches for 630 miles (1,000+ km) from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset. We're tackling a measly 52 miles in our next 4 walking days.

    There were 2 rivers to cross on today's route, the first was only a short distance into the walk and the ferry operates seasonally. Lucky for us, it's ferry season but there's no timetable. It operates for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the afternoon so you just arrive at the nominated point and get the attention of the chap in his little boat (aka the ferry). This was easy enough ... there was a board which we dropped to reveal a big white circle. He came to get us when he saw it. All we had to do was close the board again so it was ready for the next person to use.

    The second river was a little trickier ... it's a tidal estuary. If you arrive one hour either side of low tide you can wade across, apparently it's only knee deep but whos knees did they use as the measure ???? Some of us have knees which are closer to the ground than other people !!!

    We didn't have to worry about anyone's knees when we arrived at high tide. Our options were to walk to the nearest bridge (14km, on roads) or arrange a cab to meet us there and drive us around to the other side. No prizes for guessing which option we took but this is why our stats show a distance of approximately 20km. We paused the GPS when we got in the cab and re-started it again when we arrived, with dry knees, on the other side. We should have stopped it completely as our GPS has a dead straight "as the crow flies" line from point A to point B by cab so we've roughly calculated the crow distance and are not claiming it as 'walk distance'. Pity, it would have added a couple of beers to the overall tally.

    Enough about the rivers, we're here for the walk ... and oh my, what a walk. Mile after mile of magnificence. Most of the walk was quiet and isolated but there were a couple of sections with carparks close enough to allow day walkers and their dogs to enjoy the area. Generally we met the dogs on the trail many minutes before the owners came into sight.

    We passed a couple of ruins of signal stations built in the late 1790s to watch for approaching enemy fleets from France. Signal officers would alert neighbouring stations by hoisting semaphore flags up a pole. Assuming the weather was good enough to see the flags, a message would eventually arrive in London faster than by horseback messenger. The flags also warned merchant ships at sea where the French privateers were lurking.

    There were a couple to toe-testing strenuous climbs but wow, the panoramic views were a reward for the effort.

    Another reward was a huge bathtub in our B&B ... leg muscles + soaking in warm water = hiking heaven on earth.
    Ahhhh !!!!!!
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  • Day13

    Walking - Day 7

    May 16, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Today's Route - Bigbury-on-Sea to Salcombe
    Distance - 23.3km
    Beers Earned - 7.2
    Weather - sunny, hazy and very windy

    Similar to yesterday, today's walk started with a river crossing. It was only a short stroll from Bigbury-on-Sea before our steps were halted by the River Avon, the same non-Shakespearean Avon that we encountered when walking across the moor last week. On the moor we crossed it via a clapper bridge but here at the mouth of the river we need a ferry.

    Finding the ferry point was easy but attracting the attention of the ferryman, aka a local guy with a tiny boat, wasn't as simple as the last crossing. The instructions in the trail guide stated "wave and yell" ... so we waved and yelled at nobody in particular ... and someone on the other side eventually waved and yelled something back ... and then we looked blankly at each other and wondered what to do next.

    Many minutes later we spotted someone in a little boat about 60m downstream, waving and possibly yelling. So we waved back, no yelling, and trudged in that direction. There were a couple of other walkers also heading towards the boat from the opposite direction ... safety in numbers, if this guy wasn't the ferryman it would be 4 against 1 to commandeer his vessel. Lucky for him, we didn't need to overpower him and force him to take us across the river ... 5 adults and a dog named Biggles safely crossed the Avon. Money changed hands.

    The first part of the walk was a gently undulating cliff top walk against a 25-30km head wind. Luckily the wind was coming across the water so if it was going to blow us off our feet we'd land further inland rather than being blown off the cliff. Other than the wind, it was a straight-forward stroll to our lunch stop at Outer Hope.

    Leaving Hope Cove the trail took us away from civilisation and the gradients became increasingly severe. The afternoon was a visual feast of high cliffs soaring over mostly inaccessible coves. Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of zigs and an equal number of zags ... it was a very tiring section.

    We arrived in Salcombe and found our B&B, which was at the top of yet another steep hill. Shower, dinner, sleep ... it's a rest day tomorrow.
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  • Day14

    Rest Day #2

    May 17, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Today's Route - Limited to local wandering
    Distance - A very low number
    Beers Earned - Perhaps Beers Consumed would be a more relevant stat
    Weather - cloudy and drizzling

    Salcombe is an interesting town ... full of penthouses, holiday homes and hotels. A rich guy built himself a large holiday house here in the mid 1700s, other well-heeled folk followed his lead and large houses were gradually built at all the best viewpoints on the cliffs and shore. Facilities for visitors were much improved by the removal of the noisy, smelly shipyards in the late 1800s and the town slowly evolved into an exclusive holiday resort. The streets are littered with wealthy retirees driving, and very badly parking, incredibly expensive luxury cars. We were tempted to buy some yatching attire to distract from our lack of plummy upper-class accent.

    Other than being a sophisticated pleasure ground for all the Lord Snooty-Bottoms and their friends, Salcombe is nice place for a rest day. We ambled around, learned about the history of the area and poked our noses into a few places before the drizzle set in. We were forced to seek shelter in the pub with the picture window across the estuary. Such a hardship.
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  • Day16

    Walking - Day 9

    May 19, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Today's Route - Beesands to Dartmouth
    Distance - 22.3km
    Beers Earned - 6.2
    Weather - leaky clouds

    It's our last day on the coast path and we were disappointed that there wasn't a ferry crossing this morning. It just didn't feel right ... it was like starting a day without coffee ... or having scones without clotted cream.

    Instead we were presented with a steep up and a sharp down across the headland to reach Torcross, on the edge of Slapton Ley. The Ley is the largest freshwater lake in the south-west and is separated from the sea by a narrow strip of beach and a road. Our walk covered 2.5 totally flat kilometres of the nearly 6km long beach.

    The beach, known as Slapton Sands, is very apparently similar to Utah Beach in Normandy and was used as a practice ground for U.S. troops prior to the WWII Normandy landings. One particular 'rehearsal' exercise (Operation Tiger) resulted in huge loss of life (servicemen, not civilians), partly due to the order to use live ammunition to harden the troops against the sights and sounds of battle.

    There's a recovered DD Sherman 'swimming tank' in Torcross as a tribute to the lost lives. During Operation Tiger the tank disembarked from the landing craft without it's aquatic features properly installed and promptly sank in 65 feet of water. It was found and recovered 40 years later.

    After the flatness of Slapton Sands came a rudely steep zig-zag climb followed by, according to the trail guide, 'several fields which may or may not be filled with cows before traversing a vertiginous dip in the earth's surface'. The fields were not cow-filled when we crossed them but wow, vertiginous was an understatement. It was a traverse that any self respecting mountain goat would avoid ... and it stood between us and lunch. In the absence of a winch there was no option but to clench everything for the descent and flex everything for the reciprocal ascent.

    With our tired bodies sustained by a sandwich from the beach cafe at Blackpool Sands our tired feet took us on some gentle clifftop walking towards the Dart River and our destination, Dartmouth. Unfortunately our good luck with the weather didn't hold and we got caught in a heavy rain shower ... twice.

    Arriving wet and bedraggled, our mission in Dartmouth was to find a pub with an open fire for dinner, a pint and boot drying. With lovely medieval streets and a rich history, Dartmouth is a town worth exploring but not in the rain. We'll take some photos tomorrow.
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  • Day17

    Walking - Day 10

    May 20, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Today's Route - Dartmouth to Totnes
    Distance - 14.8km by foot, 6.7km by taxi
    Beers Earned - 4.1 for the part we walked
    Weather - Variable and unpredictable

    It's our last UK walking day and we've chosen a trail that will take us away from the coast and up the valley of the Dart River. Yesterday's rain is history but the forecast is for more heading our way later this afternoon.

    After missing out on a ferry ride yesterday we've made up for it today with 2 crossings of the Dart River. The first was from Dartmouth to Kingswear on a vehicle ferry, where Ms OfficeBody scammed a half price fare from the fellow red-head collecting the money. The ferry was literally a floating pontoon which was pushed/ pulled across the river by a small tug boat.

    There were great views of Dartmouth as we followed the railway line along the opposite side of the river before we crossed the tracks and wandered into the woods ... and then the fields ... and then more woods ... and more fields ... before we arrived at Greenway, which was Agatha Christie's holiday home. The house and land is managed by the National Trust.

    Our second river crossing from Greenway was more in keeping with our previous experiences ... a man in a small boat charging an exorbitant fee for his services. This one was the first we've seen with a rate schedule for dogs as well as humans.

    We landed at Dittisham, an almost-too-quaint-to-be-real village, and decided to push on to Cornworthy for lunch at the pub before the weather closed in. The rural walk to Cornworthy on mostly country lanes was not good for the injured toe. Despite strapping, padding and painkillers it does not like hard surfaces at all.

    We, with grumpy toe, arrived at the pub for lunch to find there was no lunch available. New publicans have re-opened the pub only a couple of days ago but the cooking facilities were still being upgraded and the cupboard was bare. With the sore foot comfortably out of its boot and resting on a cushion, we snacked on rations from our backpacks and washed them down with a pint while we watched the clouds dump their contents outside.

    A quick look at the map confirmed the final few kilometres to Totnes were mostly on lanes and hard surfaces. A quick look at Ms OfficeBody's face confirmed she wasn't very impressed with the idea of squishing her foot back into its boot to subject it to an afternoon of extreme ouch-ness. A quick look outside the window of the pub confirmed there was more rain on the way. A quick look online provided the phone number of the local 'taxi' who would be able to pick us up as soon as he'd finished the school run.

    We were happy to wait and have another pint.
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  • Day18

    Rest Day #3

    May 21, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Have you ever wondered what happened to the hippies after the end of the psychedelic sixties? We have a partial answer ... a lot of them have retired in Totnes. Described as a historical town with a colourful personality, it certainly delivered on both fronts. We had a relaxing post-walk rest day slowly wandering around the town and eating scones (with clotted cream, of course).

    The town dates back to the 10th century and boasts a large number of attractive heritage listed buildings, including Totnes Castle. The castle is described as a excellent example of a classic Norman motte and bailey castle but the stone keep was rebuilt in the early 1300s so we weren't totally convinced that it was a Norman castle. Perhaps "14th century rebuild and refortification of an earlier castle on this site which itself was a rebuild of the original wooden palisade Norman castle on this site" didn't fit on the advertising brochure.

    The high street is lined with eclectic shops with lots of fairtrade sourced and handmade products, organic skincare and vintage clothing. And there were some rather eccentric locals out 'n' about with their yoga mats tucked under their arms. A very laid-back lifestyle can be found in Totnes.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

South Hams District

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