Westward Ho. – May 2021

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When Covid prevented my winter trip to Spain last year, my two daughters joined me during October for a holiday in a mobile home at Westward Ho in Devon. We enjoyed it so much that we decided that sometime in the future, we would return to the same site. Although it was only two weeks since I returned with the caravan from Winchester, we packed our bags and were ready to leave on Friday morning. Our route to North Devon was via the M25; M3; A303 and the A39 – a route of just over 200 miles.

Some Covid restrictions were still in place with extra time needed for deep cleaning between lets however, I received the text message whilst we were still on the journey, telling me that our unit was ready for us. We were truly impressed with our choice of accommodation. It was a three-bedroomed Swift Bordeaux with a superb view out across the bay.

The lounge area of our Bordeaux

And the view from the Balcony

Most of our days involved walking for the girls and biking for me – with a meeting point arranged at some point on the routes. This area of North Devon is very well provided with walking and cycling because not only is the area covered by the South West Coastal Path, but also the Tarka Trail which is an 180-mile figure-of-eight pathway, much of it laid in tarmac on disused railway tracks. So on our first day, with my bike on the rack, I drove through Torrington to a point some four miles away, where I dropped off the girls; then I returned to Torrington to park in the old station yard. There I unloaded my bike and spent a pleasant hour riding some of the trackway. We met up later for a late lunch at a local picnic spot.

The River Torridge from the disused railway bridge.

On the Sunday, Angela and I rode our bikes through the village and down on to The Burrows – a huge expanse of flat ground, probably slightly below sea level so the wide area is separated by drainage ditches and patches of boggy ground. Even so, part of it is given over to a golf course. The Burrows is separated from the wide beach by a vast ridge of stones which vary in size from flat pebbles to huge boulders. A toll road allows for parking close to the beach.

A view across the Burrows

A couple of pics of the beach.

Just on 9pm, we watched the last of the sun disappear below the horizon.

The mile-wide river mouth is formed by the confluence of two rivers. The Torridge and The Taw. On Wednesday I drove in the car along the banks of the Taw so that we could cross the river at Barnstaple. Once on the other side, I dropped off the girls close to the entrance of the Royal Marine base at Chivenor. From there, they set off on their five mile walk along the disused railway line, then onwards to Crow Point. Meanwhile I drove directly to Crow Point and unloaded my bike. I cycled along some quiet traffic-free lanes for several miles.. Later we enjoyed lunch overlooking the wide estuary.

This is the view from Crow Point.

Some pictures taken in the wetlands behind the beaches.

And the Taw River when the tide is out.

On another day I dropped off the girls at the old railway station in Bideford. They then set off to walk along the disused railway track to Instow. Meanwhile I drove there and cycled along the same track. The village is almost at the meeting point of the two rivers and the Royal Marines at times use the beaches as a training ground.

And again, we had a lovely sunset.

Later in the week after much planning, we set off on the 60 mile drive to the Cornish town of Bodmin. There, we met up with Sam, my grandson who had taken the train up from his university. I dropped the three of them at an arranged coordinate on the Camel trail – another disused railway line which has been converted for walking, biking and horse riding, whilst I drove to the car park at the Borough Arms, a lovely 19th Century country pub situated close to the Camel River. Once there, I unloaded my bike and cycled along the scenic route my party was still walking. By 1.30pm we had taken up our booking at the pub. https://theborougharms.com/

This group of pictures were taken along the Camel River Trail.
Our table at the Burough Arms.

Later in the afternoon, the girls and Sam walked into Bodmin town where I met up with them for a drink, and then to drive Sam back to Bodmin Parkway.

For our last two days, the very reasonable weather folded. It became very windy and showery. The girls got out for some quick walks but the weather did not persuade me to get on the bike. Covid cleaning between lets required us to check out by 9am on our final day. In view of the weather, we thought it better to pack at our leisure and leave the site in the evening of the day before.