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Heddon and Watersmeet

Date & start time: Tuesday 28th September 2010.

Location of Start :The Blue Ball Inn, Countisbury, North Devon, Uk ( Map Ref: SS 747 496 )

Places visited : Heddon Valley, Lynton Railway and Watersmeet.

Walk details : Two shorter walks but each delightful in their own way.

Highest point : The sea, the railway, the tea and scones . . . take your pick.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Sunny start but overcast and later the occasional rain shower.

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]

Heddons Mouth and Watersmeet at EveryTrail



Having settled in to the holiday and seen the local sights,

it was time to drive a little further to explore other valleys and appreciate what else the area had to offer.

First an early morning walk . . . well a short walk out at breakfast time to exercise the dogs.

Opposite the hotel is the Church of St John the Evangelist, a classic old building that has served the community here for many centuries.

Harry and Bethan wait outside as I call in for a look.

Ancient Yew trees line the path to the door.
Inside it has simple but classic Church architecture.

A free standing candelabra.
Beautiful light flooding in through the windows.

The walked continued on to the top of Foreland Hill

to achieve the purpose of the outing . . . to give the dogs (and myself) a stretch after their night's sleep.

Lynmouth with blue skies this morning . . . the tide is high this morning and the harbour entrance full of water.

A small day sack packed, we ventured out to Heddon Valley.
This is one of the valleys crossed on the SW Coast Path.

At the head of the valley, and the start of our walk, Hunter's Inn.

The present Inn dates from about 1900 and replaced an earlier thatched Inn that was destroyed by fire.

It has been a focal point of the valley and an important hotel for the area for hundreds of years.

Colourful locals adorn the flower beds.
Old iron finials framed by a modern TV-dish behind.

The deep valley of Heddon's Mouth.
At its beach, an old lime kiln.

Ann sits and contemplates the view.

The beach would have been used to land Limestone from South Wales which was heated in the kiln and changed to quick lime that would eventually be spread on the soil of this area as an acid neutraliser and therefore improve fertility. It would also have been used to import produce at a time where road transport in the area was difficult.

The return cargo for South Wales could have been as diverse as timber or the iron industry, livestock or even wine imported from from France.

- - - o o o - - -

On the map was a feature named as "course of old railway".

There used to be a railway from Lynton to the main line at Barnstaple in the old days and I was just thinking it would be great if someone could reinstate it as a tourist line similar to the Little Railways of Wales or La'al Ratty in Eskdale.

- - - o o o - - -

Lo and behold . . . we came across a sign to Woody Bay Station.

A group of enthusiasts has been formed to do just that.

- - - o o o - - -

The first phase involved buying the old station and a mile of track to start the rebuild.

This is one of their service trains used to build and extend the railway.

Woody Bay Station . . . a few enthusiasts and visitors sheltering from a passing rain shower.

The line is in steam today.

They have a replica Lynton & Barnstaple steam engine of the type that used to work the line.

It is drawing an original but fully restored Lynton passenger carriage and a second similar carriage from another line.

The driver's cab has the firebox and all the classic controls.
It was built at Boston Lodge (Porthmadoc) and finished this year.

- - - o o o - - -

The line currently offers steam trips of about a mile or so and needs to build a couple of road bridges

before it can extend itself onto the rest of the old track bed, much of which it has bought or has options to buy.

With funding, loads of enthusiastic assistance and maybe a bit of good fortune they hope to extend the line all the way to Barnstaple.

The other end of the line is the old station at Lynton which we passed on our way back to the Blue Ball Inn.

If the Tallyllyn and the West Highland Railway in Wales can have a complete rebuild, they figure they should be able to make it.

" The impossible is just that which has not yet been attempted "

Please give them your support if you can. Their web site can be found at Lynton and Barnstaple Railway

- - - o o o - - -

- - - o o o - - -

After lunch and our return to Countisbury

I took the chance to give Bethan an extra walk

which didn't involve the car.

The photo is a bit of a clue . . .

- - - o o o - - -

After an initial walk across the farm fields at the top of the hill, where incidentally I had a close encounter with both deer and a buzzard last evening (sorry no pictures - camera back in the car), this afternoon's footpath headed down through some delightful Sessile Oak woodlands and down several large zig-zags towards the East Lyn river.

The last of the zigs brought Bethan and I out at a small car park.

This turned out to be the staff parking for Watersmeet House, now a National Trust owned property and tearooms.

Originally a hunting lodge, the property now has a NT shop and serves a grand cup of tea.

[ I only stopped by for a cuppa to avoid a passing rain shower you understand ]

The two footbridges at the true meeting of the waters.

The left one is the East Lyn and the other is quaintly known as Farley Water (no relation of lemon ..... )

An old bridge footing just down from the house . . .

. . . has a lovely small waterfall when viewed from the other direction.

The relatively modern road bridge spanning the river was a little further down.

What went down must come up so I had a steep climb back up through the trees to the left

in order to regain the high ground.

That brought me out on the summit of Wind Hill and almost on a par with the Inn.

It was a short walk through the ancient earthworks that once protected this smaller top (the gorse covered banks seen here)

and back across the fields to the left, thus avoiding the road walk for both of us.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . shelter from the rain ( perhaps a Typhoo rather than a typhoon moment !)

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Previous walk - 27th September Lynton & Lynmouth

A previous time here - It's been a while since we were last in this area so no photos on-line.

Next walk - 29th September Ilfracombe & Lee Bay