Cornwall Test Trip Report 2


May 28th, 2018, 06:21 AM
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Cornwall Test Trip Report 2


Haytor Rocks is a large granite tor on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park, about two miles from Bovey Tracey. It’s a relatively short walk from the Haytor Visitor Center up to the rocks, and on a clear day the views across Dartmoor are magnificent. Look for wild Dartmoor ponies in the area, and don’t miss the 19th century stone quarry about a quarter-mile northeast of Haytor Rocks. Rock was quarried here from 1820-1919, and Haytor granite was used in the reconstruction of London Bridge which opened in 1831. ( Haytor | Dartmoor )

Chagford, in the heart of Devon, lies on the northeast edge of Dartmoor National Park. Weather-worn buildings with gray granite façades line the town square, including the old Market House (known locally as the “Pepper Pot”), the 16th century Three Crowns Hotel, and the church of St Michael the Archangel, whose tower dates to the 15th century. We enjoyed a fine lunch at the Ring ‘O Bells Free House and explored the adjacent church yard of St Michael.

We also explored Exeter, a relatively large city in Devon (pop. 130,000) that dates to Roman times. Here, in 55 A.D., the 2nd Augustan Legion established Isca Dumnoniorum, and around 200 A.D., the ditch and rampart defenses around the old fortress were replaced by a bank and wall. Today, nearly 70 percent of the old Roman wall remains, and we traced its path around the city center on the City Wall Trail. Outdoor interpretive panels are posted along the trail, and a free City Wall Trail brochure is available from the Exeter Tourist Information Centre website ( - 4.2 MB PDF).


Lyme Regis, nicknamed “The Pearl of Dorset”, sits on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site at the Devon-Dorset border. We particularly enjoyed Marine Parade, a broad causeway that fronts Lyme Bay and the English Channel. The walkway is lined with restaurants, cottages, and ice cream shops, with benches along the way to linger and enjoy the views. We also visited Town Mill, a restored working watermill dating from 1340, which is tucked into one of the town’s narrow back streets.

On the Jurassic Coast, one mile west of the picturesque coastal village of West Lulworth, sits the Durdle Door. This natural limestone arch is perhaps the 95-mile-long coastline’s most iconic geologic feature. “Durdle” is apparently derived from the Old English “thirl”, meaning to pierce, bore or drill. We reached the formation after a mile-long hike along the Coast Path, enjoying sweeping views across the bay toward the Isle of Portland. Be prepared for large crowds on sunny days and weekends – Durdle Door is truly a must-see site on the south Dorset coast. ( )

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.


In Hampshire, on our drive back to London Heathrow, we made the last stop of our trip at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton. Here, in an unpretentious 17th century brick house located a few miles east of Winchester, Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life. We also enjoyed two ales and two orders of fish & chips at The Greyfriar just across the street from the museum. All in all, this was a fine place to relax and enjoy a bit of British literary history before returning to the congestion around London’s largest airport. ( )


While we consider ourselves seasoned travelers, we occasionally still make stupid mistakes. Take ATM machines – I rarely get cash at an airport ATM, but whether I was just tired or nervous about our impending 4-hour drive to Cornwall with no cash in my pocket, I stopped at one of the ATMs in London Heathrow. After comparing the exchange rate with a Tesco Superstore ATM in St Austell after our trip, I discovered this: at LHR £1 = $1.52; at the Tesco Superstore, £1 = $1.38. Skip the ATMs at LHR!

Do not rely exclusively on your GPS! We read much about driving the narrow lanes of Devon and Cornwall, but we still were shocked by how little room there is on many of the roads! On several occasions, our GPS tried to send us on the shortest route, which invariably was a one lane road impassable by two cars in several spots. This occurred in Chagford, Devon, and at several places near the north and south coasts of Cornwall. Make sure you have a map in hand – we had a copy of the “Big Road Atlas Britain” and Landranger maps 200, 203, and 204 for Cornwall. They were indispensable in wayfinding a route that kept us mostly on the main roads. Still, be careful – even the A routes have a few one-lane sections (usually when passing through towns) and B routes have as many one-lane stretches as double-lane stretches. The Brits seem unfazed by these roads, but for us there was a lot of white-knuckle driving!

Seafood in Cornwall is fresh, inexpensive, and delicious – buy it whenever you can! St Austell Brewery owns many of the pubs in Cornwall. Their ales, particularly “Tribute” and “Trelawny”, are excellent. Cornwall is famous for their pasties, or meat pies. They are almost always fresh-baked, inexpensive, filling, and delicious – providing a hearty lunch for coastal walks.

Last edited by Rumseydog; May 28th, 2018 at 06:54 AM.
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May 28th, 2018, 06:35 AM
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My wife and I recently returned from a lovely holiday in southwest England. Our trip spanned 10 days, from Thursday, May 10 to Saturday, May 19. We spent seven days in Cornwall, one day in Devon, and one day in Dorset before returning to London Heathrow Airport. Our goals for this trip were to 1) explore the southwest English coast along spectacular stretches of the Coast Path, 2) visit a handful of historic sites and quaint villages, and 3) look for inviting pubs along the way.

This trip report focuses on the places we visited rather than a day-by-day account of our travels. If you find this confusing, here’s a brief summary of our itinerary:
  • Day 1 (Thursday): London Heathrow, Chagford (Devon), Veryan (Cornwall).
  • Day 2-6 (Friday-Tuesday): Hikes, villages, and historic sites in Cornwall.
  • Day 7 (Wednesday): Lanhydrock (Cornwall), Bovey Tracey (Devon).
  • Day 8 (Thursday): Bovey Tracey, Haytor Rocks, Exeter, Lyme Regis, and West Lulworth (Dorset).
  • Day 9 (Friday): West Lulworth, Durdle Door, Jane Austen House Museum (Hampshire), London Heathrow.
  • Day 10 (Saturday): Flight home from London Heathrow.


A Splendid Holiday Cottage. For background, my wife and I are in our mid-60s and have visited Great Britain twice before, exploring places with great walking paths: Hadrian’s Wall in 2007 and the Cotswolds in 2014. On our Cotswolds trip, we also discovered the marvelous holiday cottages of The National Trust, spending a week at Lock Cottage near Faringdon, Oxfordshire ( ). Lock Cottage sits astride the Thames Path, is a short drive from loop hikes on the Cotswold Way at Broadway and Chipping Campden, and is quite close to Blenheim Palace and Oxford. It also sits between two fine country pubs: follow the Thames Path two miles upstream to the Trout Inn or two miles downstream to the Plough Inn.

For our 2018 trip to Cornwall, we chose cottage Gwendra Wartha near the small village of Veryan on the south Cornwall coast ( ). The cottage sits above Carne Beach and Gerrans Bay just steps from the Coast Path. Picking a National Trust cottage in Cornwall can be daunting, as they come in all sizes, locations, and costs. We finally settled upon Gwendra Wartha because 1) it was located right on the coast, 2) was roughly equidistant between The Lizard Peninsula, Fowey, and Tintagel Castle – three places on our must-visit list in Cornwall – and 3) was just a one-mile walk from The New Inn pub.

Rainbox over Gerrans Bay from Gwendra Wartha cottage.

Gwendra Wartha is part of an old dairy farm acquired by The National Trust. The cottage is comfortably furnished, has a modern kitchen and bathroom, and is immaculately maintained. There are four other cottages on the property -- Mowhay, Dairy Cottage, Granary, Hayloft – with Gwendra Wartha sitting above them (Wartha is Cornish for higher). The cottage even comes equipped with WiFi, though the welcome guide warns that intermittent connection problems can sometimes occur. Happily we didn’t experience any problems during our stay.

Last edited by Rumseydog; May 28th, 2018 at 06:38 AM.
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