Thursday, April 29, 2004

From the Pearl of Dorset to Drake's Haunt

We reluctantly set out from Bradle Farm to continue our adventure and, on the advice of Gillian, headed for Lyme Regis a small coastal town famous for its shops selling fossils from the Jurassic cliffs. The pearl reference in the title is from something I read about Lyme Regis! The beach was what I imagined English beaches would be, where is the sand - the stones would be very uncomfortable to lie on!

We weren't very interested in the shops and were keen to get to Clovelly. Thank goodness for M and all the preparation reading she did but after doing this blog and searching the web for reference I think next time I will be better prepared!

Clovelly was incredible, it must have been so isolated way back when. The 'road' down to the beach is so steep, everything is carried in on sleds that are pulled over the cobblestones either by donkeys or people. The harbour is wild, you can sense that it was once the haunt of smugglers, pirates and wreckers. The colourful cottages line both sides of the narrow cobbled street winding down to the fourteenth century harbour below. Traffic has been banned from this village and it is quite a climb back up from the harbour.

M and I spent a lot of time taking in the scenery, walking on the harbour wall and looking at the incredible gardens virtually clinging to rock. Charles Kingsley is said to have written Westward Ho! while staying in Clovelly in 1855 (his father was the vicar of Holne which is also in Devon) so we also had a look through the Kingsley museum.

To round off the smuggler experience we set off to stay the night at Hoops Inn a picture-book 13Century thatched Inn not far from Clovelly and notorious as the haunt of smugglers and well as being the meeting place for seafarers such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Richard Grenville.

The Inn was beautiful but the accomodation was motel-like, not quite the experience we expected.
We will both be sad to leave the Devon area of England.

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