Exeter Cathedral

A trip to Exeter makes a great day out from North Devon. It is only a 90-minute drive away or a trip on the scenic Tarka train line from Barnstaple. The city centre is great for shopping and the interesting historic quayside has a chain ferry and several individual shops. The must-do attraction is the Cathedral, which is said to be one of the best examples of gothic architecture anywhere. Today as well as visiting the Cathedral we went in search of one of its residents, the Segestria Florentina which lives in the outside walls. The tube web spider has bright green fangs and is the largest in Europe. It makes its web in holes in walls waiting for something to touch the trip-wires emanating from the web. Sadly, we saw lots of holes and webs today (our picture below), but could not coax any spiders out. Looking at the picture from Wikipedia we are not too upset, but we would have liked to see a smaller one!

Lynton & Lynmouth Advertiser

For those who like to keep up with things in Lynton & Lynmouth but do not live in the area there is an online version of the Advertiser available. Apart from adverts (some of which contain restaurants/pubs’ Christmas menus this month), there is an events guide, several features, news items and the Lynton Cinema guide. The online version is very easy to use and can be found here: http://www.flipsnack.com/7BAEBAEC5A8/fdkfofi9

Watersmeet via Countisbury

Parasol mushroom near Countisbury

There are so many ways of making a circular walk heading East from Lynton and today we did one of the favourites, which takes you over Countisbury Hill. The walk starts with quite a climb and the views soon become spectacular in either direction. The picture below is looking east towards Countisbury from Wind Hill with the Blue Ball just visible (a great first refreshment stop). From then on it is easy-going down to Watersmeet, then back along the river to home. This walk can be extended in many ways and a couple of days ago our guests Robin and Ann (more intrepid than us) continued to the Doone Valley and back via Brendon and Rockford. The rivers are high at the moment and today we saw a Cormorant fishing in very fast-flowing water when we were nearly back to Lynmouth. We had never seen one fishing in a river before, so we were surprised to see it happily swimming up and down, mostly underwater, occasionally coming up with a fish.

Victorian portraits

If you’re getting into the Victorian aspect of the area during your stay it is great fun to have a unique souvenir made at the Victorian Portrait Company in Lynmouth. You can choose from many period outfits to dress up in, pose in a Victorian manner and take away a framed print of your photograph as our guests Mark and Donna did this weekend.

Victoria Eveleigh

Our local author of children’s books Victoria Eveleigh is giving a talk at Barbrook Village Hall on Thursday 31st October. If you are coming to the area at that time it is a great opportunity to hear about her life since living on Exmoor, and an opportunity to get some signed books for Christmas presents! The talk is at 7.30 and tickets are £4 from 01598 743298.

Lynmouth Pavilion

The rebuilding of the Lynmouth Pavilion is now complete and open all year round. Downstairs is the new Exmoor Centre (previously housed in a portacabin in the car park), which has lots of information about Exmoor events and wildlife plus maps and books etc. for sale. Upstairs is a very smart cafe/restaurant with wonderful views of the coast from the Cliff Railway to the Rhenish Tower. The pavilion dates from 1932 and the rebuild looks like a modern version in the original style. The area upstairs was once a community hall and will occasionally be used for events. The restaurant will also be open in the evenings which we hope to visit very soon!

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Although we have kept an eye out for Hummingbird Hawk Moths all Summer it is not usually until this time of year that we see one on their favourite bush on our patio and there has been one appearing now and then for the last few days. The moths behave much like Hummingbirds, their wings even making a slight hum. They are attracted to flowers like honeysuckle, quickly moving from flower to flower. We have not managed to get a very good picture yet this time round. The picture below is this year’s best attempt, the bottom picture is from last year.

 

Valley of Rocks improvements

Changes are planned to the Valley of Rocks with the award of a £93,000 grant from the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund to Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council. Improvements will include improving public access to the sea with replacement of steps and footpath improvements at Wringcliff Bay, the restoration of the 19thcentury Poet’s Shelter, and providing information boards about the Valley, its geology and history. Other improvements include new fencing around the cricket ground and refurbishment of the car park which it is hoped will reduce the impact of car parking in the valley, restoring a sense of ‘wilderness’ to the area.

Photo: Carin du Burck

Lyn Food Festival

Lots happening in Lynton & Lynmouth this weekend. Not only was it the Steam Gala at Woody Bay Station, on Sunday the Lyn Food Festival was held in the Town Hall. The picture below shows the stalls in the main hall upstairs, and there were also stalls outside and in the downstairs rooms. Lots of local produce: preserves, meat, pies, cakes, cheese etc. We spent a lot of time at the stall in the foreground . . . olives, turkish delight and flavoured cashews! It was also the Doone Run today. As it was the run’s 30th anniversary it was run in reverse which meant the runners had to face the climb from Lynmouth to Lynton at the very beginning!

Steam Gala

The Steam Gala at Woody Bay Station is this weekend on Saturday 28th for two days. This year steam rides will be behind the guest loco Prince, the Ffestioniog Railway’s oldest working steam loco and the L&B’s two resident locos Axe and Sid. There will be a beer tent, miniature railway and all the usual marquee attractions. Park and ride is from Caffyns Halt.