Hi all! I’ve recently travelled through parts of Ireland and Northern Ireland, exploring a sample of what these two fantastic countries have to offer, enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes along the way.
I started at Dublin for the Stag-Do of one of my longest suffering friends, Andrew Connelly. Those of us from Devon flew from Exeter with Flybe after a kerfuffle with Ryanair. We then caught the convenient bus service from the airport directly into Dublin city centre. After dumping our bags at the hostel we met up with friends who flew from Bristol and London. A few pints in several bars, a quick burger and a first foray into the Temple Bar area (where more beers were drank, and proper Irish music was enjoyed) we were collectively finished for the night.
The Temple Bar is far more pretty – but no less busy – at day than it is at night
At 630 miles, the South West Coast Path is the longest National Trail in England, running from Minehead in Somerset, around Cornwall and Devon, to Poole in Dorset. Living in Plymouth, the opportunity to walk stretches of the trail in both Devon and Cornwall couldn’t be easier, and is one of my favourite pastimes – come rain or shine. That being said, I decided that this weekend it was time to go on a longer hike. So because the misty, blowy start to the day promised some fantastic views, I packed a day bag and got the bus to Wembury. The fact that this walk would give me material for my blog and help me out with the Global Fitness Challenge was an added bonus! My aim was to hike all the way back to Plymouth, following the South West Coast Path and enjoying my (reasonably) local part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
When I arrived at Wembury the Great Mewstone jutted out from sea, cutting through the fog
Another sunny summers day and another trip to Dartmoor, if you live in Devon you really can’t beat it when the weather is this good! Burrator Reservoir is one of those places on Dartmoor that is great to visit, but does get overcrowded at summer time. Very easy to access, with an easy walk around the outside, it is understandably popular with families. I can’t recommend it enough if you wish to go for a walk that is neither challenging or far from civilisation, but still wish to take in some of the more stunning countryside that the southwest of England has to offer. However, if you are a keen adventurer like me, it may seem a tad less appealing than some more remote locations. In reality though this couldn’t be farther from the truth, as I will explain! So when my friend and colleague MRP (Matthew Rowing-Parker) suggested we go to Dartmoor this weekend for a hike and we decided we were going to Burrator I couldn’t have been happier.
Setting off early in order to ensure parking and avoiding the majority of Burrator’s weekend visitors, we arrived shortly before 9am. Perfect timing, the day was already hot, a few spaces were taken at the dam end, but largely the area was free and open. Walking across the south of the reservoir we headed along the reservoir path and the pair of us were impressed at how far the water had dropped due to the recent heatwave in the area.
So I know it’s been a while since my last post, things have been pretty hectic for me – not only is the World Cup going on, but for work I am taking part in a global fitness challenge, and while that in itself is super rewarding as I am spending more time out and about hiking, I am leaving myself little time for taking photos or writing blog posts. I have however, recently upgraded my laptop, and while in the process I accidentally managed to delete my iCloud (losing all the photos from recent hikes to Brown Willy and some travelling photos I didn’t save anywhere else), it does mean that posts in future should be easier and of a higher quality.
So with that out the way, this Wednesday just gone I went to Dartmoor and explored Wistman’s Woods. Parking just outside of the Two Bridges Hotel near Princetown, the woods are located just a mile north of the carpark. Wistman’s Wood isn’t a large forest; it is in fact very small. What it lacks for in size it makes up for in character. Trekking across the first mile of open moorland it is enchanting when the landscape changes. The trees are old oak and lie across a bed of broken granite boulders. Moss clings to both tree and rock alike, giving a choking and eerie feel to the area.
This week I went out with my best friend, Rob Waldron, and explored part of the Rame Peninsula. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1959, I was excited to take Rob out to see one of my favourite places in our local area. Heading off at lunchtime, after the weather had mostly cleared, we decided to go for a slightly longer drive and crossed the Tamar Bridge instead of the Torpoint Ferry.
Ford Park Cemetery is in the centre of Plymouth, adjacent to Central Park. Founded in 1848, Ford Park Cemetery today is 34.5 acres (140000 m2) and has a wealth of Victorian and military heritage. With wildflower gardens that give shelter to an abundance of urban wildlife, it is easy to forget you are less than a kilometre from the city centre when walking through the maze of tombstones.
Wildflowers and tombstones lead the way to the Victorian chapel on a sunny day
Climbing tors is something that has always interested me, walking on Dartmoor and scrambling up a rock face to be rewarded with panoramic views of Devon and Cornwall is something that is well worth the effort. Today I decided to visit Shaugh Prior parish with the aim of climbing the Dewerstone, a hill on the edge of Dartmoor that I have never conquered, and to discover some of the prehistoric relics to be found in the surrounding area.
For this hike I chose to use public transport, due to ease of access from Plymouth with a Monday-Saturday bus service, aiming to be eco-friendly where possible. To drive, from the A38, exit at Manadon Junction and take the A386 towards Tavistock. At Bickleigh Cross (immediately after the Bellever roundabout), turn right onto New Road and then take the third left onto Hele Lane. At the end of the lane, turn left towards Shaugh Prior. The car park is on the left immediately after a bridge over the River Plym.
Taking the 59 Bus from Plymouth, Royal Parade (A13), I got off at the White Thorn Inn at Shaugh Prior and headed into the woods. Immediately I was thrilled with my decision. Dartmoor can be open and barren at times, but there are plenty of old English woods that provide a welcome splash of green.
Woods to be found just to the North of Shaugh Prior