so off we head for another of our trips in to the unknown. Granted we were 3 miles from the sea, I had thought it closer, but nevertheless we had a great few days away.
We stayed near Combe Martin (I didn't spot the 'near' in the address!) at Wheel Farm Cottages. We don't know this area so thought it would be ideal for a few days getaway. We had a pretty cottage, overlooking the courtyard with plenty of wildlife to keep us occupied.
Not sure what 'bird' this is - he came a couple of times, but with the aid of a guide we know we had an assortment of finches, siskin, blackbirds, crows, sparrows and a green woodpecker.
With heavy rain forecast and only a couple of totally free days we headed off to Arlington Court, a 'freebie' as we are National Trust members. We thought it would fill a morning but actually were there all day. We toured the house when it rained, the gardens when it was sunny and retreated to the cafe when it was showery! If you are into model boats this is the place for you - something to do with Sir Francis Chichester's ancestors - but apart from that the house is very interesting, the carriage museum fascinating, the gardens pretty. There's a bat cam for kids small and large, a second bookshop (for the big kid in my life) and, a bit of a whim but thoroughly enjoyable, we had a coach ride around the estate courtesy of Fips and Erik. As the only two in the carriage, we felt it was like a personal tour. I'm not a horsey person, having been bitten by a horse when I was young but this was very enjoyable and the horses seemed very friendly!
There's a church on the estate so we explored that, probably the only time I'll be able to say I walked around Arlington Cemetery! As regular readers will know, I have a quest to find a spooky church, and although this was not near the sea, and I've not been here before, it seemed a shame to miss it out.
I'd always wondered what those stone toadstools were for
Now I know
Day 2 - brilliant sunshine!!!!! Where's the torrential rain, have we been mislead by the Met Office yet again?
We set off on a day of exploring. Then decide we need to be more planned and head towards Hartland - and I spot - Hartland Abbey. Rumour has it that there was a royal stag party here a year or so ago. Lots of 'is it true or rumour' but there is a photo of 2 young princes in one of the rooms so I guess it's true, but I'm not sure I really care.
Lovely house, lovely tea room (can you see a theme emerging?) lovely walk down to the cliffs.
It had rained an awful lot over the last few days so waterfalls and rivers were flowing fast
Alistair checked on the sea glass situation for me but there was none.
From a previous mention of my search for a church, someone had suggested St Necton church at Stoke - you can walk there from Hartland Abbey but it was so hot we decided to drive there. Then, having seen a model and photo of the church we decided not to visit as it is not a church I vaguely recognise, 'mine' didn't have a tall tower like this. A quick ask around of the locals and it doesn't seem to be the place.
So, was the Met Office wrong about the weather? Was it heck!
Day 3 - it's raining; just a little, she lied. I'd picked up a brochure for Chambercombe Manor, but am in two minds because it is haunted and visitors are known to experience happenings. Not sure about this, then decide why not, so off we go - after all, it has a tea room and it is raining!
On the way we stop off at Barricane Beach near Woolacombe, which is in the opposite direction, but hey, if the girl wants to go on the beach ........ It's supposed to be a shell beach, with loads of tiny cowrie shells from far flung islands. I did find a few pieces of sea glass but no shells :( Surprise, surprise! It has a tiny cafe which was open by the time we came off the beach! If you visit before 1st June, park on the road, it's free - unlike the car park which charges £5. That's my tip of the week.
We get to Chambercombe Manor just before a tour is about to start, and following our luck with the Arlington horse ride, we are the only two on the tour! Our guide is Lesley who knows just about everything that is known about the Manor. Nothing poked us in the back, door handles didn't rattle, cradles didn't rock although the Chippendale room did have an atmosphere about it, said to be haunted by 2 mischievous little girls. The Tudor room is even more spooky, very very cold, and the stories associated with this room are so sad. We found it fascinating and the weather, pouring rain, did add to the atmosphere.
I made Al go back to the car to get the umbrella so we could walk around the grounds in the rain, but again nothing untoward happened - or so we thought.......
Have a look at the top left hand window - can you see anything? Is it a shadow?
I sent a copy of this to Chambercombe Manor and they think there is 'something standing by the window'. Is it a mother in a cloth cap holding a baby?
This photo was taken just after the one above and the 'reflection' looks slightly different, but was taken from the same spot. There were no obvious reflections when I looked at the building before taking the photos.
Whatever, I think you'll agree it is a beautiful old building. If you are interested in knowing more, it was featured on Most Haunted - available on You Tube. Chambercombe Manor's Facebook page is also very interesting.
North Devon, we will be back!