I have fallen a little in love with Devon, though in truth, if you walk through any part of the countryside at this time of the year, it’s difficult not to be smitten when everywhere is green and verdant and the hedgerows and verges froth with blossom and wild flowers.
Bill had a big birthday to celebrate this year and as he decided how best to celebrate, he remembered a conversation we had last year on the West Highland Way when another walker enthused over his recent walk along the Devon Coast to Coast Path. The path runs between Wembury Beach on the south coast and Lynmouth on the north, passing across Dartmoor and Exmoor, so we decided to walk part of this and also look around the area where the Wheaton family came from.
Despite the rain, Devon was glorious. We found the farm where Bill’s family farmed nearly two hundred years ago and walked just over a hundred miles through the Devon countryside. We found sculptures on river islands, tree trunks embedded with coins and a giant photo of a family tree hanging in a tree.
I’m glad I walked through the wilds of Dartmoor with its granite tors and boggy ground (I managed to sink my foot below the top of my boot in a wet muddy patch) though rather like The Fens, I don’t feel the need to walk any part again. In contrast, Exmoor (above) seemed less harsh than Dartmoor with easy to walk wide open ridges and steep sided combes covered in trees.
My favourite part of the walk was the middle section where we could stand on a hill and look across the patchwork of fields and woodland. We walked alongside rivers and down lanes banked with wild flowers that led to tiny villages with thatched cottages so different in design to our steeply pitched Essex thatch.
With the exception of our diversion into Widecombe, which was a big mistake, the joy of this walk was the quietness and feeling that we were miles and miles away from everyone and everything for so much of the day. No traffic noise or planes flying above. No phone signal or public transport.
Having visited the area where Bill’s Great Great Grandmother was born, I think that when I reach the grand old age of 60 we should visit the place that my Great Great Grandmother was born. It seems only fair don’t you think? Especially since she was born in South Australia.
If you’re interested in walking The Devon Coast to Coast Path (Two Moors Way), go for it.