Thursday, 15 August 2013

A bit of a South Hams day!! ;-)

Today,  Mr S and I had the day off and so we decided to have

 a bit of a South Hams tour...starting off with

Slapton Ley and Torcross.

It's a beautiful area and one which we have visited many times

but of which we never tire.

First stop... is normally the Sea Breeze cafe!

Then, we take in the ozone of Start Bay.

After that, a wander.

We're pretty good at that, having had plenty of practice!

A further wander finds us on this path lined with

hedge mustard.

Slapton Ley Nature Reserve is a wetland.

The Lower Ley is the largest natural lake in South West England.

Amazingly, it is entirely freshwater

and it is only separated from the sea by a very narrow shingle bar.

The surrounding marshes and reed beds give an assortment of habitats

to the rich and varied wildlife, which feed and breed here.

Rose Bay Willow Herb is in abundance here!

It's other name is Fireweed...and it does spread like wild fire.

And you don't have to look too hard to find nature very much at work.

We stop to observe a cabbage white caterpillar and damsel fly.

And there are always those little touches of colour,

dotted here and there...oh and plenty of Comfrey...which

we love!

I am always at ease when I am wandering near

hedgerow or grass verges.

It takes me back to my childhood when I normally

had an 'i Spy' book in my pocket!

So that what I didn't know, I found out!

Our time is our own and we are in no rush.

We finish our lovely ramble and off we go.

Next stop is Kingsbridge.

Another wander; we don't stay for very long but it is a charming little town

and one which Mr S knows well, as he once lived here....

that was before he clapped eyes on me and his life changed

in the blink of an eye!!

Moving swiftly on! ;-)


Now... Salcombe is a bit of a nightmare to negotiate and even more of a nightmare to

find a place to park. But park we do...eventually!

I look down...knowing that going down will be fine...the 

climbing up the hill afterwards, not so fine!

Yes, it's lovely...and yes it is full of

'Hooray Henries!!' ;-) (And boats...and trailers...!)

Spot the CK?

I almost don't! It's pretty small

and there's little room to move ... so I make a hasty retreat! ;-)

In fact, we make a hasty retreat and utter words like

'We'll return in the winter!!'

Don't let me put you off...but my advice is to

get the 'park and ride', which is on the edge of the town.

That way, your visit will be more stress free!

Next stop is the quaint little village of Malborough.

As sleepy as Salcombe is busy and energetic, we

briefly stop to see if we can find a watering hole.

We find two...both closed! 

Lots of thatch, though!

Our penultimate stop is ...Modbury.

It's a pretty little place and after a pint

and a rest, we journey to Totnes, photos of which 

I don't need to show you, do I? ;-)


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Downland Shepherds

It's often the case, that the items upon which one stumbles, are the best!

Like so many things unplanned, they offer the best thrills...and this 

happened to me on Friday as I dived into a charity shop,

in Newton Abbot.

I usually make for the books and I'm glad that I did.

Having long been an admirer of Gordon Beningfield,

I recognised his art, instantly!

But as I opened the book, I discovered an even bigger treat.

This is the story of the Downland detail.

I think it is one of the most charming books

 that I have ever come across.

In 1982, whilst browsing in a second-hand bookshop,

(one of the best pastimes, in my opinion)

a man called  Shaun Payne came across a book:

'Bypaths in Downland' by Barclay Wills.

From this chance discovery, Shaun Payne went on to

investigate the life of Barclay Wills

and the passion he had for the Downland.

Along with Richard Pailthorpe and Gordon Beningfield,

Shaun Payne produced this most lovely book, in 1989.

Barclay Wills was an interesting character.

He sought out the Downland shepherds and he recorded their

lives and their work. 

At the same time, he took photos of the

things that the shepherds considered important to their work and

he took photos of the shepherds themselves.

Furthermore, in his writing, he showed the bond between

 the shepherds and their sheep.

Anyone who loves the countryside ( and what goes on in it),

will love this book.

Anyone who loves the history of the countryside, will love it too!

But Barclay Wills also had other talents ... he could draw!

Within his nature notes could be found the most lovely sketches.

Gordon Beningfield's superb art work only serves to

enhance this book and show it off to its best.

Also included is the glossary of shepherding and dialect words.

I'm not sure how I missed this book when it was first published!

And if someone told me about it, I'd go searching

...and find hook or by crook...!

This book cost me £2.

I'd say that was a bargain, for the pleasure that it has given me so far.