A Few Days in Devon February 2011

Sunday February 20th - Trudie, Lloyd and Jaja were scheduled to fly to Portugal yesterday to spend a week with Lloyd's Mum and Gerry.  Lloyd's Dad had a stroke a few days ago so Lloyd had to fly out to Jamaica today to look after him.  Trudie and Jaja elected to stay at home rather than fly to Portugal so that they were on hand if Lloyd needed backup.  Trudie insisted we go away for a few days as planned.  Cousin Dorothy in Devon was willing to accomodate us so off we went to Devon.
We left our drive at 10.20 hours and headed for the M6, Michael driving.  Good clear run to Frankley Services on the M5 where we stopped to change drivers and eat sandwiches from the M&S outlet.
Suzie drove on, again we made good progress to Sedgemoor Services where we changed drivers again, Michael driving the rest of the way to Stoke Gabriel on the river Dart.  At 1550 hours Dorothy was waiting for us and gave us a warm welcome, almost three years since we last mananged to get to see her.
A blessed uneventful journey in the dry.
Michael walked down to the quay and was surprised to see the new sluice open and the Mill Pond empty.

After tea we watched the ice dancing.  For once we agreed with the public and judges.

Monday February 21st - Dorothy's friend Dorothy arrived so I asked to be excused for a while.  I walked down to the quay and then back up the hill to the village and down the main street, down Combe Shute and onto Byter Mill Lane.  I hadn't taken my camera so no pictures today. the ones below were taken on another day.

The road off to the right passes the pub and goes to the Church.
I walked to the end of Byter Mill lane, then up the hill and turned into Broadpath.  

This brought me out at the Stoke Gabriel Hotel, now closed.

Meanwhile Dorothy Sue and Dorothy exchanged news.
After lunch and further conversations, friend Dorothy left and Dorothy took Robin to the doctors with his badly swollen leg.  Robin is Dorothy's new friend/companion who fancies himself as a Colin Firth lookalike, well he does look a bit like him but he's more like Michael Palin.  Dorothy brought Robin back for tea and he stayed until late into the evening.

Tuesday February 22nd - Dorothy had arranged for John to take me for a long walk in the morning.  John called and we set off up Duncannon Lane and across the fields and down to the river.  The tide was high and the steps were in the water so, as we couldn't walk along the shore, we set off on the unpermitted path, which seemed well used, it appears the man with the helicopter has relaxed his regime.  We couldn't get down to the shore below the quay so we had to take the well worn path over the field and down to the quay that way.

This a rhodedendron already in flower on the way down to the quay.
We walked up the hill to the top of the village where John carried on home and I left him to go down the main street, again down Combe Shute and onto Byter Mill Lane.

The highest point in Byter Mill Lane looking back over the Mill Pond.  The dam is covered by the tide and you can'tsee where it is.

This and the next oneare looking the other way, the way I was walking

The lowest point on Byter Mill Lane taken from the bridge on the drive to South Downs House.

The remains of the mill race at Byter Mill

Byter Mill form the east.

I walked to the end of Byter Mill lane passed what was the old forge, and then up the hill but this time I passed Broadpath and carried on along Waddeton Road, passed a 'summer' entrance to Higher Well Farm Holiday Park, caravans, to the crossroads.  

Down Paignton Road passed the the Torbay and South Hams Garden Centre/Tearooms to re-enter Stoke Gabriel


I think the welcome sign looks rather like a grave!  I'm told the village members are not happy with it.

Just beyond the 'grave' is a style into the field.

Looking back and there's the garage that repaired our broken rear wheel bearing a few years ago.

The stile is at the top of the field, the tree is over the tall post on the first stile.

The view over the village and Mill Pond from the second stile, then down the path,

past Silvia the Batlady's house,

eventually joining Broadpath and Stoke Hill.  This is looking back up Stoke Hill to the old entrance to the Stoke Gabriel Hotel.  I'm now on another Paington Road.

This is the back of Dorothy's house seen from Paington Road. The tiny window is our en suite bathroom.

The top end of New Lane starting back down School Hill and home.

Melanie arrived, Dorothy's daughter, and we spent a pleasant morning, lunch and afternoon with her.

Later in the afternoon, when Melanie had gone home, I went for another walk, this time down to the quay again.

Walking down to the quay I saw boats on the horizon, I'm convinced that the boat park is new?


Tide's out now and water is pouring through the sluice gate.




The other side of the dam, the Mill Pond

The clock says 4.05 pm.  Time to go home for tea.

Wednesday February 23rd - Up a bit later today but Suzie came for a walk just before lunch.  Dorothy gave her Dudley to exercise while she made lunch.  Dorothy nipped to Sainsbury's for provisions and prepared lunch while we were walking.

We walked down to the quay and found the tide going out.


The causeway/dam is under the surf


Are the ducks looking at the sinking tender?

The Post Office and The Church House Inn.

Suzie with Dudley on the way up and out of the village from the Post Office

Suzie liked this monkey puzzle tree.

The neglected gardens of The Stoke Gabriel Hotel.

A garden Suzie noticed with the aubretia out

Two lovely horses

Approaching the corner of New Lane

The Vicarage, next door to Dorothy.

Later in the afternoon I felt like walking again so I put my boots on and set off to the Quay once more.  Dorothy and Sue prepared tea.

It was probably low tide now so I walked along the shore and up past the dinghy/canoe racks into the field and on to the permissive path.

This photo is looking down on the sailing club's equipment store in the quarry.

I chose to walk this way then I would be able to identify where the path from the shore started.  I got to the end of the permissive section and made my way down to the shore.  There was a post sticking up and a blue plastic seat without it's support.  I rammed this down over the post marking clearly where the path up to the permissive path started, it has always been difficult for me to identify this crude track.

Duncannon Quay from just round the corner from the steps.

Close up of the tender. I met John, he was walking the opposite way.

In the evening we played our first games of Rummikub, Dorothy's new craze.  Then we watched the football on TV.

Thursday February 24th - I

We walked down to the village store to get some pastry. Then we set off down Combe Shute.  The 'totem pole' is new since our last visit in 2008. 

Now we are in Byter Mill Lane, I think Sue and Dorothy were looking at a garden above Combe Shute but it turned out to be a tent , which looked like a storage area?  


At the highest point on Byter Mill Lane Dorothy and Sue stopped to admire a flower bed, marvelling at the number of different blooms that were out - this garden faces south.  

The wild flowers are on the other side of the road, white violets.

We are at the point that says 'Private'.  Dorothy has been told that it is permissable for Stoke Gabriel residents to walk down this road/track.

It is the drive to South Downs House and is newly tarmaced.  Part way up a cart track leaves the drive and we set off down this being sure it was the right path through the woods that would bring us out at the dam creating the Mill Pond.


It did.  Here Dorothy and Sue set off across the dam and I asked if it was alright if I continued along the shore for a while.

One of the swans on the Mill Pond

The family that had lost three off its group, the lady with the child in the blue anorak.  They had just been reunited.

Looking back while walking along the shore


Looking forward through the trees.

Half way along the shore and this was where I'd come from

and where I'm heading.


Can't resist taking pictures of boats.

I walked along the shore till I reached the southern end of the wood. I couldn't see much of a path but I scrambled up into the wood until I reached the track that I was sure would take me through the woods and back to the dam, which it did.

I watched the football while Sue and Dorothy made the tea.

Another evening playing Rummikub.

Friday February 25th - I left the camera in its case today so no pictures!  Chris and Bill were coming today so I set out early to get a walk in.  this time I went up Duncannon Lane, the road opposite Dorothy's, and walked over the field and through the wood down to the steps that lead on to the shore, river bank.  I had planned to do the permissive path/shore walk in the opposite direction.  The tide was flooding but I guaged that there would be plenty of time to walk round the shore.  I was pleased to find my 'marker' was still in place so after a few anxious moments, it always seems a long way on along the shore before one comes to the point where one has to scramble from the shore. I continued along the permissive path and came down on to the beach beside the Quay.  It was still early so I decided to walk over the dam and along the woods to the private path down on to Byter Mill Lane and from there back along the side of the Mill Pond to Dorothy's.
There was still time before Chris and Bill were due to make Dorothy's door to the oil fuel compound close properly.
Chris and Bill arrived just as I was finishing the job.
We had lunch and then Chris wanted to take Dudley for a walk so we all set off down to the Quay. Chris, Dorothy and Sue are anxious about crossing the dam but as Dorthy and Sue had done it yesterday they were more confident today and Dorothy was excited at th prospect of leading Chris over it.  We turned left and walked through the woods, through the private area and on to Byter Mill Lane, this time continuing east past the Mill and Old Forge onto the Paignton Road.  We turned up Broadpath and back to Dorothy's.  After a rest Chris and Bill left before it got too dark to drive home to Seaton.
Another evening of Rummikub, this time I managed to win one game.

Saturday February 26th - The view through our en suite window:

It was raining hard at the time.  We had breakfast, said our goodbyes and got away around 0955 hours.  We drove through sunshine, rain, dry, sunshine, torrential rain, dry etc. etc. and arrived home in sunshine at 1530 hours. We had a good journey, just a little slow between junctions 6 and 5 on the M5.  Our bungalow was still intact and it was good to get home again even though we had enjoyed our break with Dorothy.