Lyme Regis and Devon
Trip Start Mar 14, 2012
26Trip End Jun 15, 2012
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On the morning of Tuesday 8 May, we packed our luggage, and had a full English breakfast at our B&B. It was bacon, two sausages, baked beans, fried egg, roast tomato, bread rolls and buttery toast, and we also had coco pops and yoghurt and muesli, and coffee and juice - our first full 'English breakfast' :) I spoke to our host about what the yellow fields are (because there was one behind the B&B), and I was informed that they are rapeseed fields. I looked up rapeseed, and it is canola :) I filmed in the backyard, and the house would be perfect for 'Escape to the Country', because it has all the things people look for - large house with potential for B&B, house has character, lots of land, nice view, close to train line to bigger cities, outbuildings with potential for guest lodgings or some sort of workshop/office/studio :P Although, the house was semi-detached, and they usually want a detached house :P
We packed the car to leave Arundel, and went up to the view point over the castle and cathedral that we had seen the day before, but there was nowhere to pull over to get photos, and the roads were very busy because it was peak hour. We left Arundel, and during our drive we went past a group of five deer (no antlers) on the side of the motorway :) We stopped a few times to take photos of rapeseed fields, which were beautiful, especially when the sun shone on them in a certain way, or when they had tractor tracks through them :) We drove into Lyme Regis and found a park down near the Cobb (see http://www.lymeregismarineaquarium.co.uk/history.html). We found a place for lunch, a restaurant by the beach, and I had fish and chips again, because it seemed appropriate :) The weather was very nice and sunny, and we walked along the promenade and a little on the stony beach :) I found an interesting-looking stone that had sparkly crystals inside and picked it up :) We saw some of the Jurassic Coastline and read that people find fossils there all the time! So who knows what I found with my rock :) We walked back along the promenade and along the Cobb, which was fun :) We got back in the car and headed towards Torquay. We stopped once to take photos of a nice view. We didn't get all the way in to Torquay, and likely just drove into Newton Abbot, because we saw a supermarket and could get what we were after from there.
We had originally planned to get to Peter Tavy going south of Dartmoor National Park, but tom-tom gave the route as straight through the moors (the most direct route as opposed to the quickest), and we're glad it did!!! The roads were a bit narrow because they are lined with Devon hedges in some places and two cars can barely fit through side by side. We passed a stream (which was probably actually the River Teign) which was running quickly and had some rapids, and it was beautiful! I think we gasped when we saw it :P We crossed quite a few streams, but you couldn't see them while crossing the bridges because the bridges are made of stone. We saw some beautiful green fields, but also beautiful bleak-looking moors, which were so awesome!!! We stopped several times to take photos and film. I saw an old, dark, bleak-looking building that looked like some sort of institution or factory.
We eventually found our way to Peter Tavy and wound our way through the narrow streets. We were staying with Sylvia, Lucy's mum :) Sylvia is my first cousin twice removed (my Grandma's first cousin). We met Sylvia and settled into the house :) We sat around chatting, and Sylvia showed us Lucy's 'Australia' wall in her old room :) It had a few photos with me, Michelle and Brad :) Sylvia's sister Angela came over. She lives around the corner in what they call 'The Mill', which is the old house with the stream running by it that I had seen on Grandma and Granddad's video from their visit to Peter Tavy :) (see previous blog post). The house has been in their family for generations, and used to be a working mill that used the water of the stream for power, and had a big water wheel out the back. It is heritage-listed now. Angela came over for dinner, and we had cottage pie with vegies, which was delicious! There was lots of mashed potato :) We worked out that liking potatoes must be a Hewitt thing :P We had meringue with clotted cream and berries for dessert - it was so tasty! :D We showed Sylvia and Ange some of our wedding photos and watched our wedding high-lights video online.
We walked over to the Mill and saw the stream running by, which was awesome :D We didn't get to film it or take photos because it was raining (spitting). We met Sylvia's brothers: John, who also lives at the Mill, and Graham, who lives up the road :) John looks like a Hewitt to me :) He reminds me of a photo of Great-Granddad Hewitt :) And Graham reminded me of Dad because he has the same hairline and a moustache :P We also met their border collies Bob and Glen. They were adorable! We sat around chatting for a while, and I was informed that the big bleak-looking building I had seen in Dartmoor was a prison (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dartmoor_Prison_and_North_Hessary.jpg), and that prisoners always used to escape when there was a thick mist! We talked about seeing Stephens' Grave (see http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/steve_grave.htm), which I had read about previously, and just happens to be up the hill from the Mill. We walked around the outside of the house and saw the outside of the mill, and we were told how it used to work. We went to the backyard and saw some apple trees that are over 100 years old and still produce fruit, and were flowering. We also saw a wild cherry tree and some Japanese maples. It was so much fun walking around and chatting, and I felt like I was in an episode of 'The Vicar of Dibley', with all the people with different personalities to each other, and the accents, and everyone talking at once - it was awesome and fun :D We met their neighbour Dawn, who was lovely :) It all made me want to live in a quaint little English village like Peter Tavy :P We then went back to Sylvia's house. Sylvia had commented on the 'Devon air', and it's so true - it is so fresh!
Ultimate cultural experience of the day: visiting the Cobb at Lyme Regis, and driving through the moors :)
On the morning of Wednesday 9 May, Sylvia told us some stories about when they were growing up, and how they learned to swim in the mill pond, which sounded so idyllic and awesome and interesting! Sylvia went to work, and Dan and I had breakfast. We got dressed in our rain jackets and took our rain pants in my backpack, and walked to the Mill. We met up with Angela and John and Graham, and met the milkman, who is also a local farmer. We began our walk, and walked up the road and then through one of their fields because it was quicker. We continued up the road, and it was very overcast and misty, and a little drizzly. Perfect weather to walk on the bleak moors! :D John went into a field to tend to some sheep, and we continued up the path. Ange and Graham were telling us lots of interesting stories about Peter Tavy, and we were shown the hill that people used to be hanged on! It began to rain, and Dan put his cameras away. Our pants got really quite wet because we didn't have our rain pants on - not much use in my backpack! We continued walking up the path and passed a man walking down the path, who said hello to us, but Ange and Graham didn't know who he was. We continued up the path and I decided to try to put on my rain pants because my wet pants were making my legs cold with the wind. I put on my rain pants with assistance from Dan and Ange, because they were hard to put on over already-wet pants! We got up to Stephens' Grave, and it wasn't raining anymore, so I filmed and Ange took a photo of us and Graham. He explained that the "s" on the grave means south, not Stephens. Ange and Graham commented on the man we had passed, and said that he could have been Stephens' ghost! :P That was kinda creepy :P We decided not to walk on the moors because a mist was coming over (could be escaped prisoners about! :P) and it is easy to get lost during a mist.
We walked back down the path and down to the Combe, which is a little gully where the stream runs through further up the hill from the Mill. It looked like rainforest with rapids and moss-covered rocks and trees :) We crossed the bridge that Ange had done a picture of, which we had seen on the wall in the Mill the night before. It was a very nice picture :) We walked up the hill to the mill pond where they had learned to swim, which was like a small man-made pool, with another little one for the little kids behind it. Ange was saying how the land was clear when they were young, but it is quite overgrown now with lantana-type bushes. We walked down and back over the bridge, and down to Graham's house, and he showed us his vegie patch :) We walked back down to the Mill and dropped off Ange and Graham, and Ange gave us some Cornish pasties, and we walked back to Sylvia's house to get into some dry clothes! We stayed in for a little bit to dry off and do some photos and blogging, and I watched the opening of Parliament, with the Queen's speech, which was her 59th opening of Parliament! We had lunch in (I had a Cornish pasty filled with meat and potatoes, and a piece of leftover cottage pie). It was still super-rainy and misty, and we sometimes couldn't even see the church bell tower! It is normally really visible from Sylvia's house.
We headed back over to the Mill at about 2pm, this time wearing rain pants, and picked up Ange to go for a walk around the village. We walked down what they call 'the causeway', which is a little path that runs alongside the stream towards the village, on the opposite side to the Mill. We walked past what used to be the Peter Tavy school, but it was closed down because it didn't have enough students. We walked through part of the village, past old stone buildings and up to the church. We went inside, and Ange told us lots of stories about the church, and showed us an old timber screen with sculptures carved into it which was used during Tudor times (1400s-1500s), and we saw where they had dug into the wall and found an old stone spiral staircase with the original plaster on the walls. We looked at the board naming all of the incumbents of the church since the beginning, and I saw a John Preston from 1641 - he could be a relation! We walked through the churchyard and were shown some family graves, and then walked down another road of the village where there were some sheep and cattle in an outbuilding. We began to walk back to the Mill and saw the milkman driving a tractor with a trailer on the back and a border collie running alongside it. We saw Ange's walking friend Patrick as he was driving through the village on his way to Tavistock. It was nice to meet him, because we had heard Ange mention him a few times, and we'd seen a photo of him from when they had gone on one of their big walks :) We chatted to him for a few minutes and continued walking back to the Mill. We passed a woman standing in a bus stop waiting for her child to arrive, and Ange chatted to her for a minute, but we scurried off when Ange saw a woman approaching who they don't particularly like :P This woman's husband organised for signs to be put up in relation to picking up your dog's poo, which Ange thinks is ridiculous because they live in a farming village, which is so true! The milkman drove by again, this time with sheep in the trailer and the border collie barking, and Ange wondered what that woman would have thought of a dog doing such an annoying thing like barking! :P
We went back to the Mill, and Ange and John showed us the inside of the mill and where some of the workings are still in place :) They explained how it used to work, it was really interesting :D We went into the house and had a cream tea, which was tea with scones with jam and cream (basically a Devonshire tea, but I suppose they don't call it that in Devon :P). We had three different kinds of jam, and it was delicious! Sylvia got back from work and came over to the Mill, and we sat around chatting. We went back over to Sylvia's for a while, and then went to the Mill for dinner. We had roast chicken with vegies and potatoes, and Ange had made some Yorkshire puddings just because I like them :) It was all delicious! We also had some pudding with berries and home-made custard :) We sat around chatting and got some photos :) It was wonderful to spend time with everyone, they are all so lovely :) They told us stories about when Grandma and Granddad came to visit, which were so nice to hear :) We said our goodbyes to the pups Bob and Glen, and to Ange and John because we wouldn't see them the next morning before we left, but Graham said he would come to see us in the morning :)
Ultimate cultural experience of the day: seeing Stephens' Grave, and experiencing an English village and the rainy and misty Devon weather :)
- The English countryside is absolutely beautiful. Scenic. Picturesque. Enchanting.
- A big thank you to Faff's extended family for having us in Peter Tavy, they really looked after us. The cream tea was excellent :)
- The 'Devon air' is very pure, fresh and crisp. Rivals New Zealand for clean air, I believe.
- Driving through Devon was fantastic, narrow and windy roads and, as I often said to Faff, 'perfect for a rally car race'!!!!
- Lyme Regis is a lovely little town, Brighton's sleepy little brother. Perfect.