Friday, August 29, 2008

Launceston Steam Railway

Photo courtesy of Leslie Nicholson. (Many thanks)

This is straying somewhat out of the realms of North Devon, but I thought I would blog about it anyway. Launceston is in Cornwall, but only just! It took a while to get there this morning but eventually we made it and three generations of us boarded the steam train. There were three carriages on the train and we opted for the fully enclosed one. The train runs from Launceston to a hamlet called Newmills and the journey takes around 10 mins through leafy green countryside. Tickets are £25 for a family (2 adults and up to 4 children - a much more sensible number than 2) or £8.25 for adults. This allows you unlimited rides on the train, you could go up and down all day if you wanted to.

At the Launceston station there is a cafe and a museum (old barn with cars, bikes and things steam engine related). At Newmills there is a farm, entry to which is £10 for a family ticket. This farm has nothing to do with the Steam Railway other than its shared location. There is lots to do here for small children and my two youngest ones and thier small cousin had a great time there today. There are trampolines, a slide, lots of ride around trikes, swingball, a badminton/tennis net and racquets, lots of picnic benches, a cafe, and lots of wasps. This last caused lots of hysterical squealling from the two youngest members of our party so a visit planned for earlier in the year might be advisable.

Another big hit at the farm was the pets corner where my two spent ages cuddling the baby rabbits. We spent about three hours there, and did a bit of celebrity spotting (Tamsin Greig from Love Soup was there with her family - another photo I lost), then caught the train back again. This time we went for the open carriage which was very nice and to be recommended as long as its not raining - which just for a change it wasn't!

Still majorly annoyed about losing half of my photos - this is the only one of Newmills that survived.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hartland Point and Lighthouse

We haven't been out for a while and the cobwebs definately needed blowing away after the night before, so out we went despite the weather. I consulted the walkers guide book and Hartland point, it said, was an ideal family walk largely on level terrain. Ha! The walk out of the car park nearly finished me off.

But I get ahead of myself. Hartland is on the edge of North Devon, almost in to Cornwall. The village is some 2 miles away from the coast and directions from the main road to the lighthouse take you around the village on some very narrow, very windy roads - this was most definately the worst part of the journey, especially after the aforementioned night before!

So, having made it down the windy roads, and up a very steep path out of the car park, we then stood on the edge of the cliff for the photo opportunity: beautiful rugged cliffs, lighthouse perched precariously amongst them, Lundy island in the back ground - howling gale and rain! The rain did pass however and the rest of the walk, although bracing, was very lovely. The path takes you down into the next valley and past a waterfall which turned out to be little more than drizzle the size of my bathtaps (apparently there's a better one at Spekes Mill which we will visit on a dry day). We then followed some country lanes, over stiles and through fields and farms until we reached the car park again.

There's a small picnic area in the car park and a kiosk selling lots of yummy food, hot and cold drinks and ice cream. The man at the counter, mistaking me for a mad tourist determined to enjoy her vacation at any cost (as opposed to a mad local who chose to come out when she could have stayed at home and waited for a nice day) gave me a brouchure and told me I should visit Hartland Quay next. The brouchure has a free car parking voucher inside. It also boasted Hartlands Super Service Award as Most Welcoming Community. The two workers inside the Kiosk were certainly most welcoming. I think we might come this way again - perhaps when we haven't haven't had quite such a party the night before.