Who could argue against a summer holiday at home when the sun is shining ? By home I mean staying in the UK and for me a home from home, as I have been visiting my sister in Devon on and off for over 30 years, and familiarity does make you feel less like a tourist.
And a summer holiday is not really complete without a trip to the seaside, and luckily Devon has beaches a plenty to choose from.
It was going to be a solitary visit to the beach as this holiday was taking a different direction after we had to cancel a planned trip to Brittany when my daughter became unwell on her holiday in Greece, so my husband had to travel there to take her home.
The silver lining in this holiday cloud was that my sun worshipping partner got a few days in Crete, and I was able to spend some time in Devon doing what I enjoy – walking and exploring.
The closest seaside to where my sister lives is Exmouth, where the Exe estuary meets the sea and a place I have visited once or twice. It’s a few years ago now, but I remembered a walk we had taken when my girls were younger. On that visit we were buffeted against Autumnal winds and showers, and brisk marching was needed to offset the bracing conditions and time and weather meant we had to cut short our trip along the coastal path.
I went looking for this path from memory – part of the South West coastal path- it forms a section of the now named ‘Jurassic coast’ – much loved by fossil hunters.
My understanding of geology is a bit ropey or rusty to say the least, and I think like many I tend to forget what lies beneath, and how ancient are the lands we tread on. But there is something about a sea cliff that forces you to think about the passage of time and how the earth was formed – seeing layer upon layer of rock, and knowing it was once teeming with life.
It is a bit like when you see a picture of sand under a microscope – and realise that the irritating sandwich ruiner is a thing of mystery and beauty.
Setting out on a glorious warm day, I decided to walk out along the beach and planned to return on the cliff path. I was not completely sure of the tides, so thought this the safer option. With the sun splitting the sky and school just out it was a busy day with holidaymakers, but as is often the way once I had covered half mile or so beyond the car park, the beach was all but deserted.
How lovely to enjoy warm weather and an empty beach at home.
If I had been better prepared, I might have gone for a swim or maybe a paddle, but I was looking to get to the cliff top and have my picnic and read a book, so I kept on, as without a map I was not sure how far it was to the cliff path.
After a mile or so there is a holiday park that spills onto the beach, and with a clear path up to the caravans I walked away from my solitude looking for the cliff path.
Quite a contrast after the empty beach to be in the heart of a British seaside holiday, with fast food and bingo amongst the caravan town. Not my kind of holiday, but as this kind of holiday goes, it looked really well kept and some fantastic views.
The path was a bit tricky to find , but even with my useless sense of direction I knew if I kept the sea to my left I would find the path eventually.
And so it was , I followed a narrow Devon lane and found a signpost to the permissive path, which led to the coastal path.
It would have been nice to have shared this walk with the rest of my family, and to have a picnic together, but I made the most of my own company; sat for a while and read my book and took lots of pictures.
I will come back with them one day.