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.