Postlockdowntour I – Plant World


We returned to the van on Friday to clear a few more things away, As it was a nice day, we went to “Plant World Nursery and Gardens”. The nursery is situated near to Newton Abbott and has a large display of rare plants from around the world.

The usual entry price had been reduced from £10 to £3 and the exhibits were looking in need of some tender care and attention. It seems maybe the gardeners have been on Furlough for too long!

Orange Tip Butterfly
Blackbird at Plant World
Panoramic view from Plant World

Late afternoon and finally received a call from the Caravan retrieval company who will take the van away next Tuesday.

As the weather was still dry, we took our chances and booked a table at the River Shack in Stoke Gabriel. Whilst dry and sunny, it was still bitterly cold. Nevertheless it was nice to experience some small semblance of normality (again!).

The River Shack would not be out of place in the wilds of Florida – shame the heat of Florida isn’t here.

River Shack, Stoke Gabriel
Joe with a pint
Harbour at Stoke Gabriel

And now a much longer pause to our Post Lockdown tour…

Postlockdowntour I – a brief pause


Monday was a wet and very windy day. We took a picnic onto Dartmoor and spent the afternoon with Rich and Ru in our awning, eating strawberries and cream and drinking some fine red wine. Ru didn’t share her Prosecco (again).

Structural damage to the front end of our Swift caravan has brought the first post lockdown tour to a grinding halt. Tuesday we returned to East Devon with all of our caravan personal belongings in preparation for the caravan to be taken away for repair.

We don’t know when that will be…

The Middle Dart Valley walk


This walk uses mainly surfaced paths and trails between Totnes and Dartington featuring one of Devon’s most historic towns, a rebuilt medieval hall, classic 20th Century architecture and a craft centre.

It starts and ends in Totnes and is between 5 and 6 miles duration. Difficulty class is “Easy” but we’ve been burnt by that one before!

The walk starts at the bottom of Fore Street at the lowest bridging point of the River Dart, built in 1828. On one side of the bridge is Totnes and on the other side, the ancient suburb of Bridgetown.

The walk follows the River Dart upstream, past (under) the modern road bridge which carries the Totnes relief road. From there, the walk continues past Totnes Riverside railway station which is the heritage line from Totnes to Buckfastleigh.

This path eventually crosses the long winding drive to Dartington Hall which we followed up to the main Hall. We had lunch at the cafe before continuing along the upper road towards Dartington village, past the sports fields before re-joining the multi-use path along the River Dart, ultimately re-tracing our steps back to Totnes. The total walk was around 6 miles.

River Dart, Totnes
Swans near the River Dart
River Dart Kayaking
Dartington Hall lodge
Dartington Sports fields
Egret on the wetlands
Views from the Totnes bridge
Middle Dart Valley circular walk

Postlockdown tour – week 1 summary


It’s been a busy week and we seem to have been all over the place. Returned home one night as Moe had a hospital appointment. All is ok – she was referred by a GP and had the consultation within 1 week of the referral. I think maybe the hospitals have a bit of spare capacity now that Covid admissions are on the decline.

Another trip back today (Friday) for Moe’s second Covid vaccination.

And in between, we managed to spend some time with our friends Rich and Ruth who arrived last Monday.

One visit to the National Trust site at Coleton Fishacre and a return to the River Shack riverside cafe at Stoke Gabriel.

Views from Coleton Fishacre
Views from Coleton Fishacre
Rich and Ru at Coleton Fishacre
Moe and Rich at Coleton Fishacre
Manor House at Coleton Fishacre

Weather has been mainly dry but still very cold for the time of year.

Today (Friday), an abandoned circular walk via Aish as the heavens opened. Much unseasonal and unwanted rain and sleet.

Ilsington Circular walk


The Ilsington circular walk starts and ends at the Carpenters Arms in Ilsington. It is described as an “easy” walk. If you truly want a easy circular walk there’s one around the village which should take just five or ten minutes and you can start and finish with a few pints.

If you want 4.5 miles of gruelling track with steep ascents and descents then skip the beer before and set off on this walk. How on earth it can be described as easy is beyond me. Yes, it’s a short walk of just 4.5 miles and perfectly suitable for mountain goats.

A pint afterwards in the Carpenters Arms was most pleasant but alas, the good lady chose not to drive the narrow lanes of Dartmoor. So just the one.

A few pictures below from the walk.

Ilsington Circular walk
St Michael’s Church Ilsington
Views from the Ilsington walk
Views from the Ilsington walk
Views from the Ilsington walk
One of many very steep slippery climbs

Stoke Gabriel and the River Shack


There aren’t many pubs and restaurants open in the near area but we managed to find the River Shack in Stoke Gabriel.

Stoke Gabriel

It’s about a 20 minute walk from the campsite to Stoke Gabriel and the cafe is located directly on the River Dart.

The location is stunning and despite another sunny day, a wicked wind was blowing off the river – challenging some five layers of clothing.

Bitterly cold

Food and cider was good – we would recommend the fish of the day (Mackerel fillets served on a Sourdough) and fish (Hake) Tacos.

If you visit the area, check out the Shack.

River Shack, Stoke Gabriel
River Shack, Stoke Gabriel

Across the border…


Sadly not across the border to the warmer climate of Europe.

Today we travelled to Cotehele just across the Devon – Cornwall border. The weather turned warm and sunny in the afternoon but the morning was grey and cloudy with an associated bitterly east wind. A trend set to continue for a number of days.

Cotehele is a medieval house with Tudor additions, situated in the parish of Calstock in the east of Cornwall, England. It is a rambling granite and slate-stone manor house on the banks of the River Tamar that has been little changed over five centuries. It was built by the Edgecumbe family in 1458 after the original Manor House was pulled down. Sir Richard Edgecumbe came into the property after fighting for Henry Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth.

Whilst the Manor House and other properties were closed due to Covid restrictions, the formal gardens and trails were all open. This ranks as one of the better National Trust estates we have visited.

A selection of stunning pictures below.

Cotehele National Trust Property
Cotehele Manor House
Bulb garden
Manor House / Formal Gardens
Formal Gardens
One of the water features
Robo Lawnmower – I need one!!
Viaduct over the Tamar River
River Tamar

Arrival at Ramslade CMC


It’s the 21st April, 2021 and Lockdown pretty much ended 9 days ago – officially or un-officially. Being in the middle of our latest Landscaping project, we had delayed our arrival time by one week in order to finish grouting the Patio.

Weather has been dry and sunny for much of April but un-seasonally cold. This is forecast to continue for the first week or two of our trip.

The travel to Ramslade at Stoke Gabriel was quick (about an hour from caravan storage) and un-eventful.

The erection of the awning was troublesome, as it’s been an entire year since we used this one. Anyhow, all sorted by the evening.

Ramslade CMC Site
Our pitch at Ramslade