‘THERE YOU ARE, DON’T SAY I NEVER GIVE YOU ANYTHING ‘ the farmer shouted
With that his arm extended out of an old truck and In his hand he held a clump of weeds. The back seat seemed to be full of the same weeds. We looked at each other…
‘WELL COME ON, TAKE THEM, I HAVEN’T GOT ALL DAY!’ he shouted (again).
Our walking friend stepped forward and took them, reluctantly. The farmer drove off.
‘I’ll throw them in the hedge when he’s out of sight’ our walking friend whispered.
Tim looked down and said, ‘hang on, they’re peas’.
14th July 2017 – Kingston to Bigbury on Sea (8 miles)
This was the strangest start of any walking day.
We had been joined by another walker, who had also parked his car in the field (used as a car park), opposite Mount Folly Farm and we were waiting for the 9:30 bus. Parking here, at £3 all day, is a good deal cheaper than the beach car park.
Our walker friend turned out to be a fellow South West Coastal Path follower – having done the whole thing from Minehead in Somerset to Plymouth. He was about to do a couple of days walking from Plymouth back to the car…
The Farmer, whose land we had parked on, was an eccentric old boy who we first met (heard!) shortly after parking the car. ‘THE BUS IS AT 9:30’ he had told us just before leaving us in peace. Obviously, he was off to the fields to collect some vegetables (peas) and thought we might like some on his return. He just liked to share and just liked to shout!
The bus arrived (at 9:30!) and off we went to Kingston, a small village near the River Erme estuary. We picked up a crowd of people on the way and we were quite pleased to get off, leaving our friend to continue his journey to Plymouth in the unusually full bus. We waved and wished each other well.
Time to check the map – it’s always a bit disorienting when you get off a bus in a strange place. From here we walked past an old pub, down a lane, across a couple of fields and through wood to reach the start of the coastal path near the slipway at Wonwell Beach.
At this point, and in case you want to read the, here are links to my two previous posts linked to this trip
So now we were back on the path. We initially followed a small sandy track round the headland, slowly going uphill, in amongst high hedges and shrubs so our view was restricted a bit.
Once we were past the shrubs the shiny rocky coast looked quite dramatic and made us squint a bit in the sunshine.
For several miles we followed the path stopping every now and then to admire the views. There were several small coves along the way, almost all of them were only accessible from the sea.
As we got closer to lunchtime we decided to try the peas. Nervously we had a few each – straight out of the pods. Not bad but apparently not as nice as they sometimes can be according to Tim.
Living life on the edge, we ignored all the danger signs and found a perfect spot for lunch, just off the path.
The great thing about carrying your lunch with you every day is that you can just about sit anywhere, whenever you choose. This time we could see all the way down the coast ahead of us from a high spot.
Just in front was Ayrmer Cove with the grand total of 3 poeple on the beach. As we finished our sandwich we spotted a drone flying up and down the beach, out to the rocks then over to us. It was being flown by one of the beach party. We picked up our packs and raced down the path to chat to the pilot.
Some people may have found this situation a bit annoying – out for the day, enjoying the peace and quiet. However we love gadgets and photography in all forms so we were keen to to see whether we had been filmed and, if so, whether we could see the film. As it turned out the drone was being used by a young lad who hadn’t figured out how to film yet, which was a shame. His flying skills were impressive though. We chatted away to him and his mum and sister for several enjoyable minutes.
Back up onto the headland, on towards Challaborough. Is this a village or just a giant static caravan park? No need to stop here, the cafe was doing a roaring trade to those wanting chips, beer and wine. Large families, not all of them looking 1. Happy or 2. Healthy.
Not much further along we had a view of Bigbury on sea. What a gorgeous view it was too. There’s a island which is linked to the mainland by sand at low tide. Burgh Island. An Art Deco hotel stands proudly out there and people pay extraordinary amounts of money to stay. Check it out if you dare!
We had no time to go across to visit the island, hotel or the Pilchard Inn we had a bit more walking to do.
Usually at this point or time of the afternoon Tim starts promising ice creams at the next available opportunity. I’m a bit of an ice cream fan and at the slightest mention of it I can think of nothing else!
Hurrah we made to the car park in front of the beach and lots of people were walking around with ice creams but could we find the cafe, no we couldn’t. We circled round and round like tearful lost children looking for their parents. Least that’s how it felt to me! If you ever visit remember that this car park has two levels and the cafe is on the lower level, completely out of sight from the road!
So, we found it and we were absolutely delighted. I can’t remember what flavour my ice cream was but it was one of the best. I have to recommend the Venus cafe, the staff were cheerful and courteous.
And, by the way, the toilets next door were pretty good too!
All we had to do now was get ourselves to the car (up Folly Hill Road) then nip down to the Avon estuary and return to the car. That all sounds easy peasy doesn’t it.
Getting to the car was ok, up hill, but ok. We tip toed through the farm on the opposite side of the road – the ‘pea’ farmers farm. Then followed the path steeply down hill. It was a wonderful afternoon. Down and down it went until we reached the banks of the estuary to an area called Cockleridge.
It was low tide and everything was quite still.
The Cockleridge to Bantham Ferry runs on demand – so the sign says. Between 10:00 and 11:00 then 03:00 and 04:00. We sat and stared across the waterway. As with all the other walks I’ve described so far, we didn’t need the ferry, we were just following the path.
And we made it back to the car too.
Who could complain with the sort of day we’d had.