Walk completed August 28, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 13 -- June 13, 2011, Hartland Quay to Clovelly

Without realizing it, yesterday I crossed from Cornwall into Devon. There was no fanfare, but there was a sign of sorts. While walking on the road from Lymebridge to Stoke, I entered a nature preserve known as the Marsland Trust, which had been purchased with the Cadbury candy fortune. After entering the preserve I descended a very muddy trail to a small creek, crossed the creek on a footbridge, and noticed a sign Marsland Trust Devon. I didn’t realize at the time it was telling me that by crossing the creek I had entered Devon.

Today dawned as ugly as yesterday set – heavily overcast skies and blustery winds. That, coupled with all the rain from yesterday convinced me that the coast path would be muddy and slippery. Once again, I improvised a route mostly on country lanes that took me though the village of Hartland, then across farmland, and finally joining up with the SWCP at Brownsham.

Since my improvised route shortened today’s distance significantly, I had time to explore the old church in Stoke, and to see some things that I would have missed otherwise.

Jack at Norton Farm
As I passed through the Norton Farm, I met Jack, who was driving a tractor. We had a good discussion about farming. Jack was born on a farm only a few miles from where we met, is now a pensioner, but is continuing to farm. I got the impression that the meager income from farming is adequate with a pension base, but a non-pensioner would struggle to make a living on a small farm. Today Jack was fertilizing a pasture, and before long he will move beef cattle on to the pasture to graze. He said that many walkers don’t understand the difference between dairy cows and beef cattle. Dairy cows are involved with people every day, and ignore walkers. Beef cattle don’t have any contact with people (other than with the person who placed the tag in the ear). They are essentially wild animals, and can be unpredictable. (That may explain why Jack Frost was attacked by a herd of cattle on his walk. Imagine how I feel destined to cross the same pasture with cattle two weeks older and bigger. Maybe by then they’ll be steaks.)

Much of today was spent walking through lush woodlands, the canopy comprised of oak and other hardwoods, and what appeared to me to be a variety of fir. On the forest floor were fern, rhododendron, and what appeared to be wild orchid. The leaf-covered trail was still wet and slippery from yesterday’s rain, but the forest fragrances were delightful.

Louis and Caroline
As I neared Clovelly, I met Louis and Caroline, from London, out for a stroll on the SWCP. Not much farther on the trail was a shelter, suggesting that civilization was close. The shelter looked fairly new, but an inscription indicated it was built in 1826 and restored in 1934.

Shelter with benches circa 1826
Clovelly is an interesting former fishing village built into the side of a cliff. No vehicles are allowed in the village, although there is a transportation vehicle to extract tourists from the bottom and return them to the top by an alternate road. A lot of labor went in to building the village, and a lot more to maintain it, but presently Clovelly appears to catch more tourist dollars than fish.

Clovelly's one street
I arrived in Clovelly at 3:00 – a much more civilized arrival time than I’ve previously had for any other day’s walk. With early arrivals in mind, I’ve decided to add a day to my Offa’s Dyke schedule, as well as a day between Bridgwater and Wales. That should give me more time to attend to domestic chores as well as to write up a blog. Not to mention pub time.

OK, I won’t mention that.

© 2011 Ken Klug

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