Just back from a week away – walking the coast of East Devon into Dorset. This stretch of the coast is also known as the Jurassic Coast – famous for fossil finds of past and present. Oh my goodness was I looking forward to finding, or, at the very least, seeing something amongst the rocks. A large bone would be unlikely but maybe a small tooth or shell – surely I would have every chance in this fossil hotspot?
I would have to wait a couple of days into our trip (for a rest day) as we had some miles to cover initially. I’ll come back to this in Part 2 or Part 3.
So, this is the first of three blog posts describing the 40 miles we trekked over 5 days, not in the order we did them, but from west to east in direction. This is how we did it and what we saw along the way.
Exmouth (Gateway to the Jurassic Coast) to Budleigh Salterton
We parked on the side of the road at Budleigh Salterton for free. Always a bonus. Then strode briskly through the town to the bus stop to catch the 9:29 to Exmouth. We have taken to doing linear walks along the South West Coastal Path – parking first, then taking a bus to the start and walking back. It was a beautiful morning and I ran along behind Tim taking photos where I could.
I liked the look of Budleigh Salterton and wouldn’t mind returning again for another visit.
Thankfully (for us) the bus (due at 9:27) was late as we arrived at the stop at 9:30. If this were Switzerland we would have missed it. The bus arrived at 9:34.
At Exmouth we made for the Marina. Looks like the architects have been inspired by continental styled colours in the new apartments at the Marina
The beach at Exmouth is wide and long. The promenade lined by some impressive Georgian terraced properties. As for the VW (below), well it’s a classic too…
At the very eastern end is an area called Orcombe Rocks. These red rocks are, according to all the information boards, from the Triassic Period – about 250 million years old. That sort of fact just blows my mind. I was eagerly expecting this as I have a very knowledgeable colleague (Rebecca) who loves geology and fossils and gives me lots of interesting information at work. We both wish we had more time for studying this old stuff.
Its not everyday that you get to touch such old material so I did just that – a bit like a ‘tree hugger’. Tim looked on from a bench on the promenade. Sometimes he must think “she’s really lost it”.
On we went to a headland where a ‘Geoneedle’ (sculpture) has been placed for more geology interest.
Quick mirror selfie.
At Sandy Bay it’s not a surprise to find…. a sandy bay. With that was the biggest static caravan park we’ve come across. Enormous. We stopped for coffee at a new and large restaurant/cafe called South Beach Cafe and sat in the sun facing out to sea. We left when we crowds started arriving for lunch – we fancied somewhere quieter.
As Tim predicted we eventually found the ‘perfect’ bench with the ‘perfect’ view to Budleigh. Heavenly. The coconut smell of the gorse a slight breeze, warm sun and nothing but bird song.
Downhill all the way now to Budleigh Salterton. It didn’t seem to take long before we reached the promenade and the pebble beach. Beach huts and pebbles had to be photographed.
I couldn’t help but walk along these smooth pebbles – they made an interesting clatter. We lingered then sauntered round to the Otter Estuary and enjoyed the late afternoon before walking back to the car.
Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth
Again, we managed to park the car, at Sidmouth this time, for free – yippee. Sidmouth is a large town and we were staying in a holiday cottage in nearby Sidbury, just beyond Sidford. All these placenames in existence due to the River Sid.
Having a second breakfast is a holiday treat that we enjoy. Here I am finishing off a hot sausage roll at the bus stop. It was a cool morning and that was a good enough excuse for me. It was deliciously naughty.
Along came the bus and we joined a short queue to get on. An elderly lady (the only passenger) got off with her walking frame. The driver then hopped off to use the Gents. He returned and we all started to get on board – including the walking frame lady. Unbelievably this lady had to get off while the driver answered the call of nature. Why couldn’t he have left her in her seat? What is the world coming too? Tim, ever the gentleman, helped her on then off at her stop. She was a lovely lady who was very grateful.
Off the bus at Budleigh we set off up the estuary and alongside a small nature reserve. Soon after this we were walking along the cliff tops – a gentle high level walk….once we passed a place on the map called ‘Danger Point’. No more dangerous than any other unfenced cliff I thought. At Ladram Bay sea stacks were standing in quiet waters and I took many, many photos. A couple of the stacks have names on the Ordnance Survey map – Little Picket Rock and Big Picket Rock.
Just by the way (and incase you are passing this way) the public toilets on the edge of the caravan park here were the cleanest we visited all week. Well done Ladram Bay caravan park – makes a nice change! I resisted the urge to photograph them…!!
The sun started to make an appearance as we left the bay and headed uphill (again) .
In the shelter of a bit of woodland we found another glorious bench – lunch with a view again. We sat here for a good long time – an hour maybe.
With temperatures rising we set off over Peak Hill and then down towards Sidmouth. It was a very enjoyable walk back to the town.
We skirted the infamous ‘Jacobs Ladder’ and made straight for the Promenade.
A helicopter flew directly towards us and over our heads in a sort of ‘Welcome back to Sidmouth’ flight.