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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stairway to Devon
Finally found a spare hour while watching PANORAMA TRUE BRITS, to write-up the geo-highlights of the holiday week.

Spent a week in Dartmouth in late August in a house overlooking the harbour and the lower ferry. We had good weather most of the time, despite a string of depressions. Some highlights:

  • There was a lot of traffic, as expected, heading to the SW, and ended diverting over the Newbury bypass and past Stonehenge in a queue. It was a wet day, and splashed our way through Totnes, and made it to our house above Bayard’s Cove overlooking the RIA that makes up the lower stretches of the River Dart.
  • Lunch thanks to RIVERFORD ORGANICS, BURT’S CRISPS and ROOKBEARE ice cream. Click the HOW potato on the Burt’s website to see how they are made (and check the pack to see who fried them: mine were fried by Mike)
  • Crabbing in Dartmouth harbour: apparently they love smoked bacon.
  • Arrival on the high tide one morning of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENDEAVOUR, which left on the next high tide, on its tour of the British and Irish isles.
  • Along Slapton Sands, to the memorial, and then along to Torcross and past Beesands and towards Hallsands. Hallsands is a village that was lost to the sea on the 26th of January in 2017. A good quote from James Fairweather (1912), who produced the following description: “The hamlet of Hallsands itself looks as if it properly belonged to the sea, and has only been borrowed from it for a time.” – it used to have 37 cottages and 128 residents. I visited in 1984 when you could approach the cottages much more closely. It is more difficult now.

This excellent image by Noel Jenkins shows some of the few remaining remnants of Hallsands.

  • The Eden Project. Arrived just after it opened for the day (don't forget to gift-aid your entry fee for a free year's membership with free entry), and into the rainforest biome with the rain pouring outside, then emerged from Mediterranean biome to clearer skies, and wandered round outside. Back for very nice fish and chips!
  • Salcombe in the sun, followed by a few hours at Bigbury on Sea, and wandered across to the art deco splendour of Burgh Island. A pint of ‘Spring Tide’ in the Pilchard Inn, was the closest I was going to get to a drink on the island: the tariff is eye-watering. Back via Modbury: plastic-bag free town.
  • Report on Spotlight SW on the economic impact of the RipCurl Boardmasters competition in Newquay, and the local areas of Goodrington Sands and Watergate Bay, which are being used as an example of rebranding by many doing the new Edexcel A level.
  • A wander along the seafront at Torquay, where they have the HIFLYER balloon. Rock-pooling and ice creams, and back via the tat of Paignton.

  • Blackpool Sands in the evening, with the Venus Cafe obviously doing very well !

Dartmouth is well served online. The “Discover Dartmouth” website is very useful. The Dart Harbour website is excellent as well. Provided the map of the Dart estuary below....

We missed out on the Farmer’s Market, but Devon has a website and campaign to support local food and drink called Love the Flavour.

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