There’s no point denying it – I love Christmas! And there isn’t a better way or place to celebrate the start of Advent than in the unique surroundings of Clovelly. This Sunday sees the switch on of this special village’s festive lights.
From around 3.30pm, a local brass band leads the procession down to the harbour and accompanies Christmas carols sung with the Torridge Male Voice Choir. A hog roast, punch and mince pies follow and Father Christmas makes a surprise visit. At about 5 p.m. the switch is thrown and the entire village and harbour are lit up.
It’s a fantastic sight and there is a grand finale of fireworks to finish off. Look out Clovelly - where’s my Santa hat!
I really love living close to the Devon / Cornwall border…having the best of both worlds on my doorstep….and this weekend we decided to head towards Newquay, one of the nations favourite seaside towns.
After a couple of hours of hustle and bustle the beautiful Cornish countryside began calling and what better place to enjoy it than at Colan Barton. Set in a tiny hamlet just 3 miles inland from Newquay and surrounded by 11 acres of rolling hills and valleys, this stunning 350 year old family property has been lovingly restored to provide a whole range of holiday accommodation. The gorgeous main house oozes character and charm and comes with a swimming pool, while the smallest cosy cottages make a perfect couples retreat. It would be fabulous to bring the whole family together and have it all to ourselves for a really special holiday. The utter tranquillity is wonderful and the owners offer many additional services. Take a look for yourselves on Gorgeous Cornish Cottages.
Wow…can you believe the weather in North Devon for late November! Not wanting to waste any time indoors we all headed down to Westward Ho! and took advantage of the lovely Sunday roast at the Waterfront Inn, right on the sea front in this traditional seaside village. Afterwards we strolled along the sea shore, it was high tide and the waves were lapping right on the edge of the famous Pebble Ridge. The sun was so warm families were in shorts and T-shirts! Children were paddling at the water’s edge and surfers were enjoying some great waves.
We have always enjoyed temperatures a few degrees above the national average here in this fabulous part of the country and an out of season short break while prices are at their most affordable is a fabulous way to recharge your batteries before the Christmas shopping starts!
I have just found a great new web site – Explore The Coast - which is a map-based site from the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a really useful way of accessing walking guides to make the most of the beautiful coastline from Combe Martin on the edge of the Exmoor National Park right through to Welcombe on the Cornish border.
There’s an interactive map which helps you find places of special interest such as picnic spots, adventure sports, walking and wildlife discovery. It links you to information on the weather and the tide times, just to make sure you don’t get cut off at high tide! There’s even a Smartphone App you can download so you can use it while you’re on the move…….seems like they’ve thought of everything!
It was a beautiful sunny day on Sunday and we were holding our annual owners event at the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, tucking into the lovely buffet and listening intently to our guest speaker David Kennard. Although I often visit Ilfracombe I’ve never been in The Landmark Theatre before and I was really impressed. There can’t be many theatres in the land directly overlooking a coastline as stunning as we have in Ilfracombe.
As well as providing a huge variety of arts and entertainment throughout the year, it’s the latest venue in North Devon to be granted a civil wedding license, I’ve a feeling it will do well!
After the event we had a stroll down to the picturesque harbour and enjoyed a cream tea while watching the boats coming and going and a few hopeful fishermen casting their lines into the sea. We passed by The Old Lifeboat House and award winning Ilfracombe Aquarium which is a really popular all weather attraction with fascinating exhibits and a funky gift shop, popular with all ages.
When I’m feeling energetic, which can happen now and again…honest….Exmoor National Park is one of my favourite areas of unspoilt countryside and I love walking the well signposted paths through the moorlands and forests, often catching a glimpse of a wild red deer or cute Exmoor pony. Now I’ve just heard that the park has been awarded special staus as an International Dark-Sky Reserve. Our park and Mont Megantic in Canada are the only 2 areas in the world with this status, which seems pretty cool to me!
Apparently, where you can see maybe 100 stars on a clear night in the city, on Exmoor you’ll see thousands, and during a meteor shower where you might only see 2 shooting stars in an hour, on Exmoor you could see 50 or 60. It looks like we might see a surge of “Astro – Tourism” around here, and I might decide to swap my walking boots for a torch and telescope!
Wow – what a fantastic fireworks display at Woolacombe on Saturday. Absolutely spectacular and so well organised. The night air was crisp, not a cloud in the sky, and everyone was in great spirits. As I stood there looking out across the amazing bay it reminded me that although seaside resorts such as Woolacombe and Ilfracombe are quite rightly acclaimed for their beaches and summer-time activities, there is something extra special about these places outside of the busier peak season.
To be honest, for me, a walk across the cliffs on a cold clear morning, or mucking around in the pebbles and rock-pools on a sunny winter’s day is something to savour. And even now, as the evenings draw in, a chat with friends, the pull of a nice pint and an evening snuggling down in a friendly pub is difficult to beat. Put on your scarf, grab your gloves, push your dog out its bed and get outside in the life-enriching North Devon air! Its what winter was made for!