I was over in England for a visit with my mother and brother, Rick, and a “Spring Fling” luncheon in Broadclyst, Devon, with various friends and relatives, celebrating the arrival of my sister Biddy from Australia, and my mum’s 95th year.
My son Nick and his girlfriend, Kayla, were over for a visit as well. We were all eager to go for a walk along the coastal path. Rick has done most of the South England Coastal Path several times, and knows the best sections, so he planned the route. Brixham to Coleton Fishacre. We were a motley crew – Rick and Mary, my nephews Tom and Fred, Kayla and Nick and myself. The day was overcast and cool, but did not dampen our spirits.
We started at Sharkham Point, where there is a good view back to Berry Head, and I enjoyed the daffodils growing wild along the cliff tops. We enjoyed it all – the winding path to the top of Southdown Cliff, with yellow gorse along both sides, the long descent to Man Sands, the isolated Coastguard Cottages, the standing stones on the beach at Scabbacombe Sands where we enjoyed our snacks, and the shenanigans of the young guys!
Some wild ponies posed for us on the cliff-side, but for me the highlight was entering the gardens at Coleton Fishacre. The camelias and rhododendrons, pink and white flowers in profusion, crowded pathways, weaving through glades past tranquil ponds. Daffodils decorated the lawns and the flower beds around the property were in that ‘new season’ tidy, budding phase. We had a delicious lunch in the cafe there and browsed the National Trust shop. A great end to a lovely walk.
Coleton Fishacre is a National Trust 24 acre property built as a country home for Rupert D’Oyly Carte and his wife, Lady Dorothy Carte, between 1923 and 1926. Rupert D’Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration, and built the Savoy Theatre to mount their productions.
The house in the Arts and Crafts style and the garden runs down a narrow combe from the house to the sea at Pudcombe Cove. It was originally planted by Lady Dorothy, and features rare and exotic plants, some of which are unusual in their ability to grow outside a tropical climate, but flourish here due to the proximity of the Gulf Stream to this part of the coast.
Date: March 19, 2015
Distance: 8 mi
Who: Rick, Mary, Tom, Fred, Nick, Kayla, Liz and Henry
Highlight: Ponies and Coleton Fishacre gardens…and yes, well, OK…the beer in the pub in Brixham afterwards!