We set off around 8:30am for the journey to Dartmoor. It’s a lot further than it looks on the map, and whilst only about 10 miles more distant than London, even though we took a motorway-free route after Bristol, it feels more like 200+ miles.
The weather wasn’t at its best with frequent heavy showers - at least the forecasts were accurate for once!
We stopped along the way in Ilchester. Oops! I’d meant to stop in Ilminster, but instead, tempted by a road sign, we ended up in a tiny village. At least it had toilets!
Exeter was the next stop. We were really surprised how big a city it is. The centre has all the usual shops and quite a few older buildings. The Cathedral is pretty impressive but I really object to churches charging admission - especially when as money-grabbing as £7.50pp. They’re constructing a Christmas Market in the grounds - very big and probably worth visiting if nearby.
We arrived in Princetown around 3:30pm. The AirBnB is fine. (Listing Here) They’ve provided beer, biscuits and ground coffee but only a pint of milk. For the first time, because there’s a convenience store about 400 yards away we didn’t bring any. This particular Londis has less stock than Santa’s sleigh the day after Christmas - NO MILK, one loaf of bread and 2 packs of butter. Tesco tomorrow!!
Apart from that, everything good, so far.
Another pretty good day for weather, although a few more showers and clouds around, but nonetheless we decided to venture in to Cornwall. We made a quick photo-stop on the Moors, ½ mile outside Princetown - the scenery around here is breathtaking.
Our first call was in Liskeard, a small inland town which we’d heard of, but, as far as we know, is famous for nothing at all. It’s a nice enough place, nothing especially interesting or charming, although we haven’t come across as hilly a town since Porto. You leave a lot fitter (maybe!) and more breathless than when you arrived.
Looe, on the other hand, is much more well known. It retains all the picturesque charm typical of Cornish fishing ports, but is somewhat marred by too many souvenir-junk shops. On the other hand, and to its credit, it also has more Cornish pasty shops per square mile than fleas on a dog’s back. Far too much temptation… I succumbed!
With mostly sunny weather, apart from one shower of Biblical proportions as we arrived in Looe (still in the car 😀🌧) this was another day well spent.
Last evening we had dinner in the Prince of Wales pub, 200 yards down the road. Good enough for a return visit tonight.
The Gods of Weather smiled again today - blue skies with fluffy fair weather clouds.
We drove across to Okehampton, a medium sized Devon market town. Plenty of small independent shops including a greeting card shop with some of the best designed cards we’ve seen in a while. (If you’re on our cards list, one may be coming your way, one day). Margaret’s finely tuned radar also located a bakery that sold cakes filled with enough Devon cream to be almost obscene!
Okehampton also has a beautiful riverside park. In 1905 the businessman Sydney Simmons, who had grown wealthy through a carpet cleaning patent, bought up a piece of meadow and woodland beside the East Okement River. He funded landscaping, waterfalls, fountains and a Swiss-style chalet and donated the whole park to the town. Simmons Park opened in 1907.
We travelled back on a different route through the scenic overdose that is Dartmoor and found an interesting angle to photograph the Prison from just outside Princetown.
Dinner at “home” tonight.
An uneventful journey home arriving at 14:30. The installation work was completed to a really high standard and the engineers had hung around to explain the installation and its operation.
Pizza for tea in a lovely warm house. Result!!!
Today, thankfully, the weather forecast returned to normal… wrong. The sun came out, skies were blue, and temperatures stayed pretty low. Warm overcoat - sorted.
We went to Tavistock, but stopped on the way in Yelverton, location of “The Dartmoor Bakery” home to “The Swirl”. We’d found out about this on-line and had to try this Dartmoor speciality. It’s bread dough (savoury) or brioche dough (sweet) filled with all sorts of good things, then rolled like a Chelsea Bun. We tried “Pepperoni Pizza”, “Cinnamon” and “Almond & Apricot”.
This treat originated many years ago as a Christmas bread the owners made for themselves. They tried them in their bakers shop. Now, it seems to be all they sell except for bread loaves. We saw a constant stream of people arrive in the middle-of-nowhere to buy them. I’m planning to try to make these at home. They were so, so good.
Tavistock was a very pleasant surprise. It’s littered with old and interesting buildings, an indoor market and a beautiful riverside walk. The shops are varied and unusual with lots of locally made artisan products, antiques and artsy-crafty things. Even better, there was no sign of the national chains (except Boots the Chemist) in sight.
We returned to Princetown for lunch (Swirls 😀🥮).
In the afternoon (after a nap to aid digestion!) we strolled around the village, ending at the historic church (St Michaels and All Angels) [PDF] in the grounds of which our rental is situated.
We’d never heard of the American-British War of 1812.
The Church was built largely by American PoWs. It’s the only English church built by prisoners of war. Their memory is honoured by many displays around its aisles.
We’ve had a great day.