Tag Archives: mossy stones

Holiday Exmoor Exploits

I wanted to share a few of the places I came upon whilst exploring on holiday this month.

There is a lot to be said for carefully researching days out, but sometimes it is those places that we just come upon that take our breath away! I did seem to keep being places at just the right time.

The Moyes Clan gathering holiday was in Timberscome this year and we had enjoyed a pleasant Sunday afternoon in Dunster village, before heading to the beach.

Wooly Dunster

Dunster Yarn Market is a historic timber octagonal building at one end of the High Street and creates single file traffic. As one of my sons commented as we drove through “it’s a bit in the way!”

Dunster Yarn Market

Dunster Yarn Market

Built in 1609 to provide shelter for merchants during cloth markets, we were staying during monthly woolfest. It was great to see the wool from sheep to jumper.

We were just in time to see a young ticklish sheep being shorn for the first time.

Another day I met Annabelle, a maker with a her own flock of sheep, had a crafty chat and bought  wool and wooden buttons.

When there was a group returning to Dunster to visit the castle, I decided to have a solitary explore towards the coast. I enjoyed a drive along the Somerset lanes, not worrying about the frequent delays for the “dance of cars” negotiating passing places and none.

Selworthy on a Sunny Afternoon

I parked up by Selworthy church and my first find was a craft shop in a thatched cottage to explore local makers work. Asking around I was directed to a path that took me towards the hill were “you can get a great view of Porlock Bay.”

 Glad I had borrowed a map from my local library that helped me to work out my route, but also appreciated a lady telling me the way – heading towards the hamlet of Bossington, and then on to find Selworthy Beacon on the headland, one of the highest points on Exmoor.

Thatched Shelter - Allerford Plantation

Thatched Shelter – Allerford Plantation

There are lots of thatched dwellings around, but I was fascinated to come across several thatched shelters, for walkers in inclement weather Thankfully the weather held for my walk. The gate  presumably deters animals.

Thatched Cobbled Shelter with wooden bench

Thatched Cobbled Shelter with wooden bench

St Agnes’ Fountain is a small spring in Allerford Plantation and has the seat with the bay view I had been told about. I am not sure I would have noticed the fountain if it wasn’t for the seat, after our dry Spring & Summer! There is no structure apart from an arrangement of mossy stones. The fountain was constructed in 1820 and named after the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Acland. (SS 9047 4736 if you ever wish to find it)

St Agnes' Fountain a small spring, Allerford Plantation

St Agnes’ Fountain a small spring, Allerford Plantation

Seat with a Wiew, Allerford Plantation

Seat with a Wiew, Allerford Plantation

From here I climbed through forest, catching tantalising glimpses of deer and ponies. It was hot and tiring and I nearly gave up finding the Selworthy Beacon and the ocean views. I was so glad to finally meet another human who encouraged me it wasn’t too far and worth continuing to “her favourite place to be”.

A heather and gorse informal patchwork greeted me and I took a path through this to reach the view I had persisted for.

Selworthy Beacon View, Exmoor

Selworthy Beacon View, Exmoor

Amazing dark and light cloud formations coming over threatened rain but I remained dry and didn’t need to use the stone “wind and rain hut” built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland in on his death in 2009. He took his children, and then grandchildren on Sunday walks on the combe training them to love nature and poetry. There are some examples of his favourite poetry calved in the sections of the shelter:

wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

poem calved in the wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

poem calved in the wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

From here I was able to work out how to get back to my car, back to our cottage to quickly wash and change to join my mother in laws birthday tea. I had been a much longer trek than anticipated but I felt uplifted by my Exmoor exploits.

The following day Nick and I set off early to take one of our sons to Exeter airport, as he had to fly to Ireland for a friends wedding. Afterwards we wend East to explore the coast there. I had noticed Otterton Mill on the map and we were driving past. Deciding to stop, we didn’t know what joys awaited us.

Milling and Fresh baked bread at Otterton Mill

Otterton Mill – on the River Otter was just preparing for one of the occasional demonstrations, allowing us to experience the ancient tradition of flour milling. The curved waterwheel paddles were turning it at a fair pace (12 revolutions per minute) producing 200kg of flour an hour.

Otterton Mill diagram

Otterton Mill diagram

This is helped by the petal shaped grooves cut into the millstones. I was impressed by the exhibit of this.

Groove patterns in millstones

Groove patterns in millstones

Milling has taken place here for over 1000 years and we watched a traditional wheat variety ‘Maris Widgeon’ being milled. This wheat is so tall its straw is used for thatching.

Otterton Mill Grinding

Otterton Mill Grinding

We browsed the local arts and crafts,  purchasing  some flour bread from the shop.

Driving to the coastal path above Sidmouth we tried the bread, before our walk down along the seafront, a paddle and a cream tea. It was at the beach I continued to stitch some seaside quilted cards.

seaside stitching

seaside stitching

seaside quilted cards

seaside quilted cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Baking

After the blessing of summer sunny holiday exploits today is a cool wet day, just right for doning wool, lighting the stove and baking bread using the Otterton Mill stone ground flour.

Holiday Bread made with Otterton Mill stoneground wholemeal bread flour

Holiday Bread made with Otterton Mill stoneground wholemeal bread flour

Half the bag made two lovely loaves shown in their proving baskets:

Bread in Proving Basket

Bread in Proving Basket

I added some rosemary, olives and sun dried tomatoes to elude to happy summer holiday memories.

I would love to hear what your holiday exploits have included.