Sunday, February 22, 2009


I don't know why I thought this was a good idea. I think when I get old I'll be one of those old women who want to be driven out somewhere to sit and look at a view with a nice cup of tea. Cos that's what we did today. The blue skies came out and I thought, 'Oooh! Picnic!' So I stuffed some food in a box and we all headed for Exmoor. I think I forgot that it's still February.
Exmoor is lovely, even on a windy day. I love looking at all the trees with their coverings of green moss, and then reaching the wide open moorland and being able to see for miles. We drove out to Simonsbath and then turned towards Lynton on a little B road. There are lots of places to pull over and park the car. When we got out though we discovered that the ground was still wet, even though it hasn't rained for ages, and the wind was quite chilly - so we all piled back into the car and ate our sandwiches there. I insisted on leaving the doors open so we at least felt like we were eating outside.
Then followed a heated discussion on whether the coastline we could see across the water was Wales or Hartland Point. Eventually my husband had to concede defeat - it was Wales. Anyway - I can thoroughly recommend Exmoor for picnics, just don't go in February.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marwood Hill Gardens

This is a privately owned garden open to the public most of the year. It's in the village of Marwood just outside of Barnstaple following a windy country lane that takes you right up into the surrounding hills and offers a fantastic view of the town. Children under 12 are free and adult admission costs £4.50.

We've never been before but saw a piece in the North Devon Journal that said it was designated snowdrop Sunday today so we went out to see the snowdrops. They were beautiful, as was the rest of the 20 acre garden. This didn't stop my littlest one moaning when we had to walk up a steep hill and then decided to walk back the circular route rather than the way we came. Still the promise of a drink in the Tea rooms soon brought her out of that. Unfortuntely the Tea rooms had no chocolate, and whilst I could console myself with a large slice of bakewell tart, the children chose to put up with just a drink.

After this it was off for a wander round another one of the three lakes to see some more snowdrops, and then we headed for home. It was a lovely garden, and I couldn't help wondering how beautiful it must have looked in the snow.

(For photos of Barnstaple in the snow follow the link to North Devon Photo Journal opposite.)