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Over the Border - Part Four

In this series of blogs, I have been reminiscing back to last year (2023) when I took myself across the Tamar - as part of the Ramble Worldwide team - and spent a week exploring the undulating coast paths and trails of North Devon.

Where it began...

As a reminder, I collaborated with Ramble Worldwide (previously Ramblers Walking Holidays) when I met them several years ago at an event - where I first met my beloved Julia Bradbury - and after chatting to them about how I could get involved as a young ambassador, ended up in The Lake District a few months later for a week-long Women’s Activity Week, which meant spending five days with a group of incredible women, exploring The Lakes on foot.

That week was literally life-changing for me and ignited my love of walking more deeply than I ever thought possible. Meeting Julia and the team at Ramble Worldwide was also where the idea of Cornish Ramblings formed and where many doors and opportunities began to open for me. It has been a fantastic opportunity to partner up with an organisation such as Ramble Worldwide and I am thrilled to continue this partnership years later.

Back to North Devon...

Now for those of you avid readers of my blogs, you may be wondering why we have skipped a day of walking and gone from Day Three to Day Five, but it seems we were allowed a day off! And what perfect timing when your feet are feeling a bit tired and you could do with -potentially - a gentler day.

I thought I'd spend the day napping or in and out of the pool but in fact, after making a couple of lovely friends, we decided to head out on an adventure together and popped to RHS Rosemoor, a beautiful garden in Torrington.

Nestled in a Devon valley, Rosemoor blends formal and informal plantings to magical effect.

After a full day of exploring beautiful gardens where, in fact, we ended up walking a decent amount of mileage anyway, we headed back to the hotel where we met up with some of the others in the outside pool. What I enjoyed about this day was how relaxed it felt to be wandering a new place with friends you'd met only a handful of days ago. Others from the group went off and did a bit more walking and some visited a few towns and did the tourist thing. It was a great way of breaking up the week.

Now, onto the next day...

Hike Day Five: Clovelly to Hartland Quay


Without hesitation I can proudly proclaim that this 11-mile hike was my absolute favourite walk of the week. It was certainly the most challenging with many steep descents/ascents and so many steps that left my legs jellified by the end BUT, my word, I was on a complete high as we rolled onto the minibus and head back to the hotel!

Starting on the slip and slide they call the coastal path, we slowly made our way downhill under the trees from Clovelly towards Gallantry Bower, Blackchurch Rocks, and Beach. The start was very much small paths that winded up, down, and along with divine views of the sea to our right for company.

Reaching Windbury Head we stopped for a half hour lunchbreak with Lundy Island on the horizon and the view of where we’d just hiked to stare at in awe as we munched our food and chatted together in the sunshine.

Windbury Head

Windbury Head is the site of an Iron Age hill fort on the Hartland Peninsula, just north of Clovelly in North Devon, England. Most of the fort has been lost to coastal erosion, but the southern ramparts still exist at approximately 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level.

Flower Margin

Exhibit A - the image below - you’ll see me in my usual stance beside a fringe of wildflowers, purposefully planted to create a “Flower Margin” - which some of us wondered upon when we saw this on one of the coast path signs!

As soon as we walked into the first field, we were hit with glorious wildflowers lining the several fields we walked through. The bright bursting flowers, the crystal blue sea, the hot sun that left us sweaty browed, and the wonderful company of my fellow ramblers created such a magical feeling in my heart and soul…it’s hard to describe but believe me when I say, it’s a feeling I wish I could bottle up and keep forever.

The last three or so miles of this hike were tough. With what felt like sheer drops to navigate our way down, endless tall steps to pull ourselves up - over and over again might I add - we were all pretty pooped as we made our way down the final ascent towards Hartland Quay and the pub…where a refreshing lager shandy had my name on it!

Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay is located on the Atlantic coast of Devon, south of Hartland Point and north of Bude, Cornwall. It experiences some of the roughest seas in winter and is a former harbour. The harbour dated back to the time of Henry VIII until a storm led to the complete destruction of the pier head and later the whole pier wall in 1887.

Parts of the old formation stones can be seen at low tide, as well as evidence of a counter pier. The only evidence visible at all times is the lyme kiln. The old Customs House has been a hotel since 1886 and its former stables are now 'The Wrecker's Retreat' bar.

Several ships have been wrecked at Hartland Quay including SS Rosalia. Hartland Quay has also featured in a number of films, including Treasure Island (1950), The War Zone (1995), Element of Doubt (1996), Solomon Kane (2009), and Rebecca (2020).

In conclusion...

As tough as it was and as much as my feet started to burn, this dramatic stretch of coastline made up for it. At one point my jaw hit the ground! So much beauty; the gargantuan jagged cliffs with slices and chunks missing made you feel so small yet so powerful.

It was a mighty feeling to conquer that day. I don't think anyone realises until they've experienced it how euphoric it can be to be out there, exploring unknown coast paths that challenge you in a way you'd not believe you could, with people you'd only befriended days previously. It really does capture a part of your soul that nothing else can, and if I need a happy feeling to get me out of a funk, looking back at my time on this holiday gives me just that.

If you'd like to continue following my rambling journey in North Devon then be sure to keep an eye out on your inbox over the coming weeks for the last instalment.

And don't forget to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest shenanigans.

A huge thank you to Ramble Worldwide for gifting me this special opportunity and incredible experience. You can follow RW on Instagram and Facebook.

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