I know you have all been waiting patiently for the next installment of my week-long walking trip to North Devon with the Ramblers Walking Holidays, so here it is...finally!
Now, my excuse for the delay in sharing this blog is being unwell for what feels like 472 days - it's actually only been about four weeks but it's certainly felt like I have spent most of 2023 poorly. I am hoping this means 2024 will be bug-free seeing as I have caught most things this year. I mean, I need to save some illnesses for the rest of you, don't I?
It feels both long ago and only yesterday I was marching along the highlights of the North Devon coastline. I have so many fond memories of this trip and the people I met, and writing these blogs is such a wonderful way to reminisce about my time away in July.
In this blog, I will be sharing details of my third day walking in North Devon. And it was an absolute corker...even if this was the day I did a stylish fall to the ground. Keep reading to hear more...
Hike Day Three: Horns Cross to Appledore via Westward Ho!
This hike was an absolute belter, but let me tell you, I was very pleased to have a bath in my hotel room as all my limbs needed a little TLC in preparation for the remainder of the week. I also slept like a rock as you can see me demonstrating in Exhibit A below...
This route was a spectacular one and in total, we hiked 12 miles and only had a few small showers to contend with. It was certainly challenging but my word, it was jaw-dropping.
After being dropped off at Horns Cross, we walked down a steep wooded valley to the Coast Path where, for approximately 3 miles, we were up and down the coast path on some pretty steep and slippery terrain that took some of us down...me included! Of course, I styled it out and landed in the “will you marry me” one-knee position and only came away with a bloody graze war wound.
Having a group around you, you'd think I'd be embarrassed from falling down but from rambling with people in Cornwall via my walking group Cornish Ramblings, it's a regular occurrence and one I am used to. However, what I love about walking with a group of fellow ramblers is the camaraderie and how everyone nearby will check you are okay - this is exactly what happened when I slipped and slid my way on the coastal path in North Devon. No one hesitated to help me up and brush the mud away.
Each descent took us down to a dramatic pebbled beach, one of which we stopped and enjoyed our lunch on. These pebble beaches were littered with driftwood and when trying to find a spot to perch, three of us settled on a super piece of driftwood that allowed us to stare out to see as we munched our sarnies and chatted fondly to one another.
Once refuelled, we made our way to our next pitstop; Westward Ho! What a beautifully bustling seaside town filled with quirky beach huts, a sea pool I wanted to dive into, and gorgeous coastal views for days.
Westward Ho! was created as a holiday destination in the mid 1860's. A consortium of thirteen business people created a company "The Northam Burrows Hotel and Villa Company", brought some land then constructed a grand hotel. This was the start of what became Westward Ho! village.
North Devon was a busy destination for the Victorians thanks to Charles Kingsley. His novel "Westward Ho!", written in 1855 while he lived in Bideford, became an instant best-seller.
The creator of numerous classics including 'The Jungle Book,' Rudyard Kipling lived in Westward Ho! as a young boy for many years.
He attended the United Services College and his collection of stories, Stalky & Co, published in 1899, was based on his experiences at the College. To commemorate his living there, the first stanza of his poem "If—" is set into the pavement on the promenade in granite setts.
Heading out of Westward Ho! we walked for a mile or so around the Northam Burrows via many sheep grazing on the golf course, and the Visitor Centre, where we stopped for a coffee/cuppa, before heading to our final and much-anticipated destination; Appledore.
By this point, we were in desperate need of ice cream, and talking about it consistently kept us going. We took the coast path trail and finally ended up in the quaint and picturesque village of Appledore. When I tell you I fell in love...I wanted to immediately book a week's stay!
The village is built on a tradition of fishing and boat building which still continues today. For centuries, Appledore was an important shipbuilding centre for the region and the village’s large indoor ship yard continues to be a source of employment for many of the residents. Because of its long maritime heritage, the village is now home to the North Devon Maritime Museum - Visit Devon
Appledore is a favourite location with locals and visitors alike, with it being a popular location since Victorian times. In fact, like Westward Ho! and many of the coastal areas of North Devon, it gained fame after being featured in a novel by Charles Kinglsey. He described it as a “little white fishing village” and that description still stands today.
Winding roads with the most colourful and cute jumble of cottages lined our way to, eventually, the car park where our minibus and ice cream were waiting.
We had 20-minutes to enjoy our ice cream with the turquoise sea glinting behind us before making our way to the minibus and back to the hotel. If you visit Appledore, you HAVE to have an ice cream. It was delicious.
My feet were feeling it a little after this ramble but my word…
What. A. Day
In this blog series, I will be sharing with you snippets from the seven days I spent in North Devon with Ramblers Walking Holidays, with part four coming soon. I will go into detail on each day spent out on the SWCP and give you a better insight into what you can expect on a guided walking holiday.
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. And don't forget to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest shenanigans.