Some weeks back I shared with you that we were heading off to North Devon for a few days of peace and quiet by the seaside. I can confirm that both peace and quiet were had, along with numerous cream teas, walks, seaside ciders, peaceful evenings and day time wanderings.
We stayed in Combe Martin, a gorgeous seaside town just outside of Exmoor with just the right number of pubs, ice cream shops and seaside atmosphere. As budget was tight we went down the AirBnB route and found this perfect little room - a complete bargain that meant we could enjoy more of the few days we had there. Jen was the perfect host and went above and beyond to accommodate us during our stay - we would definitely recommend.
Combe Martin beach was gorgeous and when the tide is out you can walk down the paths carved into the rock and explore the coves and caves. We did this in the late afternoon sun which gave us some gorgeous scenes and memories. On the last day of our trip we had a little morning of adventure and started by walking (I should really say climbing...) The Hangman Hills up to Great Hangman. It took us just over an hour to get to the top, a huge 318 meter sea cliff, and left us with the most incredible views. It really took our breath away! When we made our way back down to the bottom we decided to do a spot of sea kayaking - I think we paid £15 for an hour with the use of a double kayak. We were able to paddle out to the coves and explore beaches further afield. I am a little scared of small boats and the open sea so was rather cautious, but have to admit it was an amazing experience and a great way to explore.
On our first full day we decided to go on a road trip to explore North Devon, and we managed to see a lot! We started with Ilfracombe, then followed the coast round to Lee and Woolacombe and Croyde. We stopped for a mooch round each and really fell in love with the relaxed seaside vibe in Croyde.
That's the thing about going to Devon / Cornwall - you need a car. Whenever we go to the West Country we rack up the mileage as it really is the best way to explore the countryside and towns. The journeys themselves however are totally idyllic in the main part! There were so many times I would be asking Rich to pull over so I could get out and see the views - there were so many coastline views which were completely stunning. The pictures don't do it justice! Expect narrow, winding roads. When we were leaving Lee the road was so narrow and steep I was genuinely concerned we would fall off into the sea if we came across another car!
The final part of our road trip took us to Clovelly - a historic fishing village with a super steep cobbled street which takes you down to the quay and harbour. It wasn't cheap - it costs around £7 per adult to get into the village (to pay for the upkeep...) and if I'm honest I wouldn't pay that again. Yes, it was nice to visit but I don't think it was worth the £7. We had a nice time looking round and enjoyed a cider in the quay alongside the lobster pots, followed by a cream tea - naturally.
You can sort of see in the images quite how steep the street is! A word of warning - proper footwear is a must. Coming back up in my Birkenstocks was a little bit of a challenge! For those who don't fancy the walk back up, there are Land Rovers which can take you back. Or donkeys...
We had such a lovely time in Devon, just looking at these pictures is making me want to return! Combe Martin itself was great - the perfect location to explore the surrounding area further without being in the bigger towns like Ilfracombe which were more populated. That's not to say Combe Martin was quiet - it's definitely got the touristy buzz and the beach was full of families on each day we were there. We were so lucky with the weather, as you can tell from the pictures. We had bright sunshine and blue skies each day... we managed to get impressive t-shirt and short tan lines after just an hour kayaking! I say tan lines, we were definitely more than a little pink...
Until next time, Devon.