Saturday, 29 September 2012


Burgh Island

Like Clovelly, Burgh Island is best seen in your imagination. Think about all the things you've read about the island: the sands that link it to the mainland at low tide, the sea-tractor that maintains the link at high tide; the exclusive 1930s-themed hotel, inspiration for Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

The magic of all these things will be severely tarnished should you ever visit the island.

burgh-island.pngWe took a short circuit of the accessible footpaths at the end of today's coastwalk, and almost immediately regretted it. There are copious signs telling visitors to "keep to the west side of the island only", and reminding mere mortals that their presence was endured by the owners, rather than enjoyed. The hotel was very definitely off-limits for mere mortals.

Our top recommendation: instead of visiting the island, book a window-table at the Bay View Cafe/Bistro and watch the sun set and the tide wax and wane while enjoying a delicious meal. Dream of Burgh Island (or Soldier Island, as is appears in modern versions of Christie's book). Just don't ever visit it.

Posted by pab at 17:45 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!

Coastwalk , South West Coast Path

Wonwell → Bigbury-on-Sea

em-silhouette.png Distance: 4.62 miles
Ascent: 318 metres
Duration: 1 hour 58 minutes

And then there was one
« Wembury | Salcombe »

After finishing the north Devon Coast yesterday we drove right across the county to Bigbury on the south coast.

erme-estuary.pngBack in August we'd intended to walk as far as Bigbury when we crossed the River Erme, but tiredness and timing got the better of us. (Besides, wading across the river was a spectacular climax to that day.) So this morning we were back at the river, looking down at the old ford. I was seriously tempted to kick my boots off and plunge into the water again.

ayrmer-cove.pngThe walk to Bigbury was easier than expected, despite a number of significant ascents. As we descended into Ayrmer Cove we started to notice canvas shelters dotted round the dunes and a large "X" made out of seaweed on the back of the beach. This was a group of men (yes, all men) on a coastal survival course. They seemed to be having a great time, but their camp looked very scraggy.

from-the-beacon.pngFinally we reached Bigbury where the low tide meant that Burgh Island was joined to the shore by a strand of sand.

Another day, another gap plugged, another National Trail Guide finished, a county completed. Thanks Devon, you've been beautiful. Just one gap left on the SWCP now.

Note: we stayed overnight in the Summer Winds B&B at Bigbury-on-Sea, which was excellent - it's run by very friendly people, and the breakfast was brilliant. If you're there, also look out for the Bay Cafe just along the road.

Posted by pab at 17:45 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!