Memory ‘lanes’…

24th September 2018

We decided to take a day off coastal walking today and have a little explore of this beautiful area we find ourselves in.  Dartmoor National Park is on our doorstep so after a few little ‘housekeeping chores’ and an interesting viewing of Val’s workshop, we headed off in the car.

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First stop – the pretty town of Ashburton

From Ashburton we drove to Buckfast Abbey and this was an amazing trip down memory lane for me as I used to sing in the Abbey each year with my School Choir.  I can remember those coach trips down being fiercely guarded at all times by the nuns and having to be on our best behaviour representing our school – and having to sing perfectly too.   I so clearly remembered the stunning stained glass window at the rear of the abbey – it was just as remarkable as my childhood memory recalled.

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Buckfast Abbey

From there we drove across the moors – following signposted instructions to be ‘moor careful’ due to animals crossing.  Fabulously scenic with the rolling heathland and the sheep, cows and ponies ambling around and yes, crossing the roads at their will … we even came across another peacock crossing our path.

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We then found an outward bound centre that Steve had visited some forty years ago.  When he was a young chap in his early twenties he worked for Thomson local newspapers and somehow got selected to accompany a group of young ‘newspaper boys’ on an incentive week.  So he was delighted to find the place and recall memories of the high ropes, canoeing, swimming, pot-holing, abseiling and bridge jumping activities that he and the boys were subjected to.  We had a beautiful walk through the woodland there and enjoyed a picnic in the grounds.

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Just can’t imagine ‘risk assessments’ allowing you to encourage children to jump off this bridge into the river anymore!

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And onward from there we managed to find ourselves down some extremely narrow country lanes.  I love this rustic life but getting from place to place can be quite daunting.  The GPS insists on taking us along the narrowest and hedge-scraping of roads.  Sometimes it’s like you’re tunnelling through undergrowth – God knows what you do if you meet an oncoming car – there certainly must be some horrendous stand-offs.  But somehow it all seems to work and, despite keeping my eyes closed and clinging onto to everything around me, I survived!

Stopped for afternoon tea at Widecombe-on-the-Moor then home to our lovely Airbnb for our last night here.  And, while we’d been busy out touring the countryside, Val had been busy in her workshop making me the most fabulous necklace, which I will be saving to wear at my niece’s wedding in February.

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My beautiful new necklace cleverly crafted by Val Wilkie

All in all, a fabulous day in this absolutely beautiful part of the country.  I have a strong suspicion we will return to these parts many times.

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