The glories of South Devon

April 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm 6 comments

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I have just spent a glorious week in South Devon, in Thurlestone to be exact. Quickly learned to ignore the weather forecast (which predicted rain every day) as the sun seems to follow it’s own particular course on the coast – every day was filled with bright blue sky and white fluffy clouds – with the exception of my birthday, but I was sent a rainbow instead. I don’t understand the logistics of tide but am fascinated by the comings and goings…every day the same view would be different, depending on the time and the depth of the water.

Favourite walks from Thurlestone included a very steep descent down Sudden Death Hill (no kidding!) to the Sloop Inn at Bantham (excellent cod and chips, and fisherman’s pie washed down with lashings of Dartmoor’s Tribute bitter) with a more leisurely walk back round the Coast Path with it’s stunning views, to Thurlestone Golf Course. Tried the circular walk the other way round just the once – a steep descent is preferable to a sharp ascent anytime! Other favourite walks include the East Coast Path to Hope Cove via Milton Sands (although the coffee in the Beach House (little more than a welcome hut on the beach) was disappointingly cold…The Hope and Anchor by contrast serve delicious and satisfyingly large fish and chips! Easter Sunday lunch at Soar Mill Cove hotel was superb and the beef as succulent and tender as any I’ve ever tasted. A fabulous day spent wandering Dartmouth – what a dear little seaside town with car ferries and steam trains and little boats bobbing on the Estuary. Lovely shops to explore and brightly painted houses. Favourite meal of the week was surely The Oyster Shack at Bigbury…reached by way of a Tidal Road (adds to the excitement!)..Chris and his staff are extremely friendly and the fish doesn’t come any fresher (pinched from another venue but applicable to The Oyster Shack – ‘tomorrow’s menu is still in the sea’). Fresh anchovies on toast to nibble, Mussels to die for, lobster (served hot with garlic butter) followed by a belated apology to the lovely dentist who had to excavate this lot out, under a waft of garlic (see story below)…here we discovered Sharpham (local) wine from Totnes…delicious and floral. The Oyster Shack is open daily from noon til 9pm but essential to ring in advance or you may be disappointed. Currently offering a £12 3 course meal – superb! Grumpiest landlord award goes to Green Dragon at Stoke Flemming…what a dear little pub steeped in seven hundred years of history..would jump at the chance of buying that up! Another favourite walk was the coast path to Bigbury and across the causeway to Burgh Island at low tide…though the famous Pilchard Inn didn’t appear too inviting nor friendly…perhaps being busy over Easter. I’ve lost count of the number of Salcombe crab sandwiches I’ve consumed this week…and local fish and chips at least 4 times…I think I must smell like a mermaid! You would think all this fish has given me extra brain power! One thing is for sure – I slept 10 hours every night and breathed in as much healthy sea air as possible. I have now fallen in love with secret South Devon – no wonder property is so expensive down there – an ideal place for a holiday home with a view to retirement methinks!
Afterword;
Small drama in that I cracked a tooth on Good Friday and lived with what appeared to my tongue to be a gaping chasm, until Tuesday morning. Rang Absolute Dental in Kingsbridge and was seen immediately by gorgeous Rhodri John, assessed, old crown removed and several days worth of fish sucked out from the hole, temporarily filled and imprint for new crown made and fitted all in the space of a few days without pain and with much smiling. Can’t think of a better place to have a dental emergency so efficiently dealt with! During my final session in the chair on Friday afternoon, my friend was dozing in the car next to the Estuary and awoke to see a young man swaying about on a steep ladder and falling into the mud below, no doubt knocking himself on a beached boat as he descended. Next thing, an old man was seen staggering around and also fell off the wall, landing on top of the first faller. Emergency services were called and put a rope around the drunken older man and hoiked him out then various fire crews and then the coastguard appeared and were rigging up a sling and cradle as it appeared the young man as well as being stuck in the quick sand, was injured and unable to aid his rescuers (possibly also intoxicated). Such excitement on a Friday afternoon in sleepy Kingsbridge! Bystanders were muttering that the council would now have to put up rails as this didn’t appear to be the first time people have wandered off the quay and into the Estuary. Lucky the tide wasn’t in!

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Heather Orange  |  April 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Delightful tales keep them coming love Heather x

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    • 2. debievans  |  April 15, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      glad you enjoy my witterings H!x

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  • 3. Sally  |  April 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    So many lovely memories. Very envious of the Oyster Shack and the crab sandwiches in particular. You were right to give the Pilchard Inn a miss but I hope you poked your head into the hotel on Burgh Island. I went over by sea tractor when I was almost two weeks overdue with Flo in an effort to hasten her arrival!
    Next time a visit to Sharpham is a must to taste wines in situ and eat at the gorgeous al fresco restaurant there (and eat their cheeses) – post on my blog about it. We always drive across the moors to get to that side of Devon from Tavistock – winding roads, fabulous bleak scenery.

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    • 4. debievans  |  April 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      next time defintely to Sharpham for sure – the offy in Kingsbridge only had 1 bottle of Dart Valley reserve in stock! Am keeping it for a special occaision….or will it be like the Spanish plonk that tastes so lovely on holiday and ghastly when you get home?! Methinks you already know about stilton with mango and ginger (an Exeter cheese)

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      • 5. Sally  |  April 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm

        Sharpham makes good wine. Had that cheese at Tavistock cheese fair…..did you discover Country Cheeses?

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      • 6. debievans  |  April 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

        no…need to investigate!!

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Debi Evans

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