Picture this. Return to Watersmeet / Valley of the Rocks…

08 Sep

Giving us a welcome break from the manic preparations to get the house on the market, we’ve had my mum and her partner Brian visiting us this weekend.
Well, I say “visiting”.
Unfortunately we don’t have the space to put them up, so they’ve been staying at a hotel in town and spoiling Elaine and I by taking us out for a meal every day.

As for our side of the bargain, (and I can’t help thinking we’ve got the best deal here) all I have to do is drive us to our various restaurant reservations and, along with Elaine, act as tour guide for the weekend.

Last time they visited, Mum was very taken with the picturesque North Devon coastal towns of Lynton and Lynmouth, and especially the rugged landscape and geologist’s dream that is the Valley of the Rocks, so we thought that while we were out that way this time, they’d also like to see Watersmeet, as it has the same “Little Switzerland” feel to it.


I know I posted some photos of both places at the start of the year, but I thought it worth the effort to document the seasonal changes that occur over the intervening spring and summer months.

So here’s a new selection of pictures, starting with a panoramic shot of the tea garden at the lodge in the bottom of Watersmeet gorge…


.. and just across the river, the entrance to a cave which was apparently once the home of a hermit.


From there, we took a stroll upstream on the East Lyn River, one of the rivers that meet here, giving the gorge it’s name.


..and although some parts are still rapidly flowing, foaming white water, the long dry spell we’ve had in this part of the world has exposed the very bones of the gorge, the granite river bed, in all it’s dramatic, time-worn glory.





Further on, evidence of one of the area’s long-vanished industries still stands testament to the skill of Victorian engineers. Two giant lime kilns, now overgrown, lend a brooding atmosphere to the dappled woods.



Retracing the path, we returned to the old hunting lodge, crossed the bridge over Hoak Oak Water and made our way downstream on the wider, combined river.


Looking back at the lodge from downstream.



Walking down the river from the lodge is an easy, reasonably level stroll and before long we came to an impressive slate-faced bridge that allows walkers to cross to the opposite bank making for an undemanding looped route back to the tearooms, just in case anyone requires an extra cream tea to fortify them for the climb back out of the gorge.




The view from the bridge, looking upstream.

Valley of the Rocks.


We took a slightly different path on this occasion, staying on the inland side of the rock formations instead of following the coast path.
This was fortunate because the famous Lynton goats were all over the place. Some were good enough to put on a display of horn butting and territorial disputes for us, although sadly I was too slow to get close enough to film them.

These two even managed a circus style balancing act for the assembled tourists.
(Ok, maybe not)






I’ll never get tired of the prehistoric majesty of these landscapes, and it’s always a pleasure to show visitors around because I constantly find new viewpoints and vistas to show off it’s imposing beauty.


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13 responses to “Picture this. Return to Watersmeet / Valley of the Rocks…

  1. Ron

    September 9, 2013 at 01:10

    “I’ll never get tired of the prehistoric majesty of these landscapes…”

    And I can see why, Dale. The landscape is MAGNIFICENT!

    Loved all these shots, but especially the final few because how the water looks against the coast. It’s just BEAUTIFUL!

    Oh, and also the photo of the goats!!!

    Thank you for taking us on this delightful tour!


    • dalecooper57

      September 9, 2013 at 05:38

      Cheers Ron, the goats are a resident attraction, but we’ve never seen as many as there were the other day. Watching them charging up and down the treacherous slopes was quite spectacular.

  2. Helena Fortissima

    September 9, 2013 at 14:01

    Just gorgeous, Dale. What is extra cream tea? Love the goats!

    • dalecooper57

      September 9, 2013 at 15:12

      Ah, cream teas. A distinctly British institution.
      A traditional cream tea consists of a pot of tea, scones, (I’m fairly sure you have scones over there) strawberry jam, and clotted cream.
      The scone is halved and spread with a thick layer of cream, followed by jam on top of that (that’s the Devon way) or jam followed by cream (the Cornish way).
      An extremely civilised afternoon snack, usually served in quaint tearooms and cafes, it’s not my cup of tea (pun intended) but tourists buy several tons of them every year.

      Hope that helps. ;~}

  3. jerseylil

    September 10, 2013 at 20:57

    Beautiful photos, Dale! I love the rock formations, especially near the water. What lovely countryside, thank you for sharing. Those are a couple of handsome goats too. Nice to have your Mom and Brian visiting, getting spoiled, even better!

    Like the description of those cream teas that you wrote above. Unlike many Americans, I always put cream in my tea and not lemon. My dad had English roots. Even when I’ve tried tea w/lemon, I much prefer it w/cream.

    • dalecooper57

      September 10, 2013 at 21:29

      Ah, this is clotted cream, probably a little too, um…,clotted for tea.

  4. restlessjo

    April 14, 2014 at 19:47

    Such a lovely part of the world, Dale, and one I don’t know at all so many thanks for sharing 🙂

    • dalecooper57

      April 14, 2014 at 19:52

      My pleasure Jo, hopefully my readers will be rambling over to your blog soon.

      • restlessjo

        April 14, 2014 at 19:55

        Got your email and was just replying on the Springtime post 🙂

      • dalecooper57

        April 14, 2014 at 19:55

        Haha, snap.

  5. Amy

    April 15, 2014 at 13:55

    Breathtaking! Thank you for sharing the walk, Dale!

    • dalecooper57

      April 15, 2014 at 15:07

      My pleasure Amy. Almost impossible to take a bad picture in this weather.


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