Saturday, 24 April 2010

Simonsbath, Wheal Eliza & Cow Castle

The weather was perfect for walking last Saturday, and we had a couple of hours to spare in the afternoon, after going to visit a friend and her two new pigs (the pigs destined for bacon and sausages eventually, but having a lovely time meanwhile)... so off we went to Simonsbath.

There's a lovely walk from there along the Barle Valley, past the remains of the Wheal Eliza mine, round the Cow Castle hillfort and then up to Pickedstones and back through the fields and woods. Beautiful and varied scenery all the way, including panoramic views from up near Pickedstones. Part of the route follows the Two Moors Way (and waymarking is good along the whole walk).

We both got a bit surnburnt (my nose is peeling now!) although it didn't feel overly hot - just right for walking, as I said! The sunny weather - along with a cool breeze - has continued most of this week, so our guests have been having a great time getting out and about on Exmoor.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Exmoor Walking Festival coming up soon

Just a quick reminder about the North Devon & Exmoor Walking Festival, which starts on 29th April and runs through to 7th May. It's the tenth one, and also the biggest so far. There's a great range of walks, from easy to strenuous, covering coast, countryside, woodland... A good number of the walks are accessible by public transport, too.

In the heart of Exmoor National Park at Wheddon Cross, Exmoor House is a great place to stay as a base if you're visiting for the festival.; as I write, we've still some rooms available on most of the days. If you can't make it this time, there is another walking festival in Autumn (1st to 4th October). This coincides with part of the Exmoor Food Festival, and some walks incorporating the opportunity to try local food will be included. Fresh air and food - two of my favourite things...

By the way, don't be worried that Exmoor may get crowded with all these walks and walkers! Places are limited on the walks, and it is always very easy indeed to escape in this area. It's not unusual to walk all day without seeing anybody else. The beauty of guided walks, of course, is that there's no chance of getting lost (we've all done it - haven't we? Or is it just me and Frank?) and you have the benefit of the guide's local knowledge.

There are fabulous walks you can do on Exmoor all the year round. In previous posts I've included some we've done, and I'll post more as we discover them.

Friday, 9 April 2010

The gorse is in bloom

We did the Hunters Inn to Heddon's Mouth walk the other day. The river was quite high (not surprising really) and the waves dramatic. But what really caught my eye was the gorse, which in a couple of weeks has really come on. I always think that gorse flowers look as if they have some sunshine caught in them.

Gorse is used as one of the Bach Flower Remedies (you might know that I'm a Bach practitioner) - it's to help relieve states of despair, gloom and pessimism. Just looking at the flowers, and inhaling that heady coconut-type scent, always makes me smile.

You can see one of the photos I took when we were walking on the 'Pic of the Week' page of our website.

It looks set fair for a great weekend here on Exmoor. We've still rooms left, so why not pay us a visit?

Friday, 2 April 2010

More signs of Spring...

Just a couple of weeks ago when we were out walking, the grass on Exmoor was the same colour as it gets in Africa (good camouflage for the Exmoor Beast, perhaps). But now everything's a lot greener, the promroses and daffodils are well on their way and the snowdrops are finally finished (they lasted incredibly well this year). Lots more Spring lambs too, and the birds are still nesting like mad.

We have had some snow over the last couple of days, along with some amazing cloudscapes. The snow didn't last too long, but while it did, Dunkery Hill looked like a proper mountain. Funny how the snow makes it look much higher, and much further away. From our dining room window, I can see a tiny bit of snow still lingering in some of the more sheltered combes and dips.

Easter seems to have fallen at a strange time this year - it feels as if it's way too early. Maybe because it's been such a long, cold winter. Bring on the sunshine!