Friday, 6 April 2012

A short break in North Devon

Conygar Tower, Dunster

Ever since our last trip to North Devon in 2010 we have been wanting to return, we love exploring this area so back in late February we decided we'd book up for Easter for a return trip.  We were really hoping for good weather as temperatures in March had broken records so we were hopeful that it might last but it was not to be... the forecast was for sunshine on Monday and heavy rain or snow the rest of the week *sigh*.  Never mind, we're not easily put off by bad weather (just as well).  We booked a cedar lodge in a little village called Berrynarbor which is next to Coombe Martin and about 3 miles east of Ilfracombe.

Yarn Market, Dunster

On the way we stopped off in the village of Dunster to complete the Wherigo, then we walked up the hill to Conygar Tower.  We managed to miss the direct path near the information centre and ended up taking the long winding path up the hill, really enjoyed the walk in the sunshine to find the cache , where we learnt that in medieval times the area used to be a warren where rabbits were bred for food and the name Conygar is taken from two medieval words - Coney meaning rabbit and Garth meaning garden.

We took the scenic route to  Ilfracombe along the coast road and up the 1 in 4 gradient Porlock Hill complete with hairpin bends which we always love driving up.

Exmoor Pony

Our intention was to do the Parramble series but due to bad weather we were only able to do numbers 1 - 41 then 86 - 132 on separate days.

Parramble 1-41

We took our yellow lab with us on the first day and everything was going really well until we came to a field with a bull in it.  Managed to get through unscathed, luckily he was more interested in the young heifers he was sharing the field with.  Then soon after we came to a field of cows.......

Oh great!

They came running straight up to the gate so feeling fairly brave I decided we ought to just go for it and just shoo them away if they came too close.  Ha shooing them away worked to start with but very quickly they built up speed downhill and came running towards us, we hid in the hawthorn hedge but they managed to get round the back of it so there was only one thing for it and that was jump over the barbed wire fence.  Mark passed our yellow lab over to me and I ran down the edge of the adjoining field - I ran because there was yet more cows in the field I was now in but they were over the other side and I wanted to get to the edge before they saw me.  Mark stayed in the field and he said that as soon as I'd gone with the dog they had lost interest and wandered off!!!!  It was very scary and I was really glad to get away from them and dread to think what might've happened if I hadn't jumped over the fence!!  Anyway once we were away from the cows we were able to continue the very pleasant walk.  That was the only part of the walk that was a problem the rest was fine in beautiful countryside with lovely views.

Bleak on the moor
Parramble 86 - 132

On the second day we decided to leave both dogs back at the accommodation with our son who was staying behind to 'revise'.   It was a freezing cold start to the day and after about a mile it started to snow, once we were out onto the moor at Challacombe it started to snow quite heavily and we were beginning to regret having started the walk, we were hoping it wasn't going to settle and we pressed on with the walk.  With only about 3 miles to go the snow turned to heavy rain and was bitterly cold but we eventually got to the end of the walk and we were really glad to be back at the car.

View of the Island : The 239 Steps

Whilst looking for a cache we could do after tea one evening The 239 Steps caught our eye as it was only a short distance from our accommodation.  Before setting off we checked the tide times on t'internet to make sure we'd be able to reach it as at high tide the cache becomes inaccessible.

Found it!
  The climb onto the island was quite slippery but a great view from the top.  

Exploring the rock pools

Spent ages after exploring the beach and the rock pools.  A really enjoyable cache and we'd recommend it to anyone staying in the area to give it a go.

We were hoping to complete the Parramble series on Thursday but when we got up the weather was awful so we decided to pack up and head home a day early.  We really enjoyed the walks but were a little disappointed that we weren't able to complete the series but we're hoping to be back soon to finish it off -

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