Devon – Cream Tea, Ponies, Riding & Relaxing
Devon Exmoor National Park , wild horses and an impressive coastline. Right after visiting the Badminton Horse Trials my journey continued south after spending one day in Bristol. A great highlight of a trip to Devon is the Exmoor National Park with its free roaming horses and diverse landscapes.
The weather during our safari in search of the wild Exmoor Pony was rather harsh: heavy rain and fog created a fascinating atmosphere in this kind of landscape. And what a luck, thanks to our experienced guide from Experience Exmoore we actually found herds of Exmoor Ponies.
Exmoor Ponies are a British small-horse breed. The horses exist as wild roaming herds in South-West-England. In the past there has always been mixing with other English horse breeds. Nowadays the horses in Exmoor National Park live relatively undisturbed.
The organisation Experience Exmoor organizes safaris. Robust jeeps take you comfortably through the various areas of the vast terrain, from the moor to the sea, including parts of the neighbouring county of Somerset. Typically layered stone walls, a bridge from the early Middle Ages and countless sheeps. From our guide we learn interesting facts about flora and fauna in the Exmoor National Park. During the safari, we have learned about the history and stories of the area. And the friendly, competent guide gave us binoculars when a herd of about 40 red deer appeared.
During the last part of the safari we drove through bizarre landscapes showing facinating colour contrasts ranging from different shades of brown, grey to coal-black. On well fortified serpentines we drove past slate mountains to a Lighthouse Cottage near Lynton. The lighthouse is still in operation and shows the sailors the way. You can rent and stay overnight in the cottage: www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk
Laston House in Ilfracombe was the base for the excursions to the beaches and the Exmoor National Park in Devon. The small hotel with its “period charm” and with much love to the detail furnished rooms, is the ideal place for relaxation and inspiration. Great breakfast, rooms with a view and kind people who take care of their guests.
Selected wallpapers, a sympathetic mixture of antique and modern furniture, beautiful antique objects and fancy details create fun and a feel-good atmosphere. There are cosy old fireplaces in the breakfast room, from where you can catch a glimpse of the sea.
Laston House is within walking distance of the harbour. From here you can explore the town of Ilfracombe with the statue called Verity donated by Damien Hirst. Explore Tunnels Beaches and the local history museum filled with incredible things! The beaches of Woolacombe Bay and Croyde Bay are easy to reach by bus or rental car: miles of wide sandy beaches and stunning dune landscapes. You can see surfers of different disciplines. Kite surfing seems to be quite popular: many colourful umbrellas of the kite surfers equipment in the sky. Sheep graze on the green slopes of the coast. The green alternates with the yellow of the broom.
Laston House has seven rooms. Reservations via the hotel’s homepage: www.lastonhouse.co.uk
It is said that the best cream tea with the most delicious scones, the most wonderful clotted cream and the finest homemade strawberry jam is offered in the Hele Corn Mill. Who climbs the green hill opposite the Laston House on one side, has a magnificent view to the sea and climbs it down on the other side again, comes out in the Hele Bay and finds the jewel Hele Corn Mill behind a bungalow row of newer construction date. Arriving by car, the road leads direction Combe Martin to the neighbouring Hele. The way there is worth it. Cream Tea is the combination of black tea, scones with clotted cream and jam. Cake lovers also get their money’s worth. The miller leads you, if you like, through the old mill and tells about the history of English country life.
Information and opening hours: www.helecornmill.com
Ilfracombe, the lively little harbour town in Devon, has many restaurants, pubs, some bars and tearooms. My highlight in Ilfracombe was The Quay, having a good cappuccino in the morning and in the evening the space, designed by owner and artist Damien Hirst, turned into a bar. On the upper floor there was a restaurant with a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean – the absolute wow effect on a sunny day with a bright blue sea. Damian Hirst, the artist who created Verity, has closed The Quay by now. The gastronomy no longer exists.
On the way to Ilfracombe an elderly lady told me excitedly about this somewhat bizarre statue. For some inhabitants of Ilfracombe the pregnant Verity may be a thorn in the side of the eye, as she stands there gigantic with sword stretched at the tip of the harbour. On one side she shows her inner anatomy. Others make a pilgrimage to the coastal city in the north of Devon because of this work of art. And what small town can boast of owning a work by such an important contemporary artist?
Photos: (c) PferdKultur3 Likes