Exploring Devon

Monday 26th June 2023

Wow aren’t I the lucky one, another full English; not doing our weight any good though!!!  

Today we’re heading to Westward Ho then working our way back slowly.  One of the objectives is to buy the necessary bits to get the bar-b-q up-‘n-running.

Leaving mid morning and heading along the “Atlantic Highway”, the “pretentious” name for the A39!!! We arrived in Westward Ho in time for a late “mid-morning” coffee.  The two things that struck us was how easy it was to park the car and how many summer attractions were closed, after all this is a holiday destination🤔🤔.   Having walked the length of the promenade, we understood why; not much going for the place and stony beach as well though there were a few surfers trying to find that illusive wave, though we didn’t see any!!

Westward Ho pebble beach and coastline Devon England. Seaside village near Bideford, facing into Bideford Bay

Westward Ho was originally a village/appendix to Bideford until Charles Kingsley’s best selling novel, Westward Ho written in 1855 changed everything with this village now getting its new name to attract visitors.   Apart from the aforementioned history, a sunken wreck that only shows itself once in a blue moon, and a beach that has a backdrop of large pebbles, we couldn’t appreciate why it is a holiday destination, still we could be wrong!!!!!

We now headed towards Bideford, but as the dogs hadn’t been able to have a good run on the beach at Westward Ho and Bideford being a small town on the estuary of the river Torridge, we had to find somewhere.  Anyway after some intuitive navigation we drove through a small housing estate in Appledore, and low and behold we came across a track that “looked” as if it headed down to the sea and though the track looked ideal for the dogs, it certainly wouldn’t suit “Solo”!  Anyway, as I parked up, Christine headed out with Tom-Tom and Rosie and I hobbled on slowly after them stopping to get the dogs to chase back and forth between us to “add” to their exercise.  This path got narrower and narrower and the hedges were extremely overgrown with stinging nettles and brambles as we headed into the wilderness, and as it meandered down and seawards, became muddy.  At this point, about half a mile later I stopped and headed back but Christine carried on, “Stirling performance”.  After about 10-minutes I see Tom-Tom rushing towards me from the direction I’m walking back in, now I started to worry, what’s happened to Christine and Rosie, why Tom-Tom on his own, what’s happened???  Then I hear her dulcet tone from the other side of the hedge and when I reached a gate we’d seen on the way down, there they were waiting.  The irony is we’d stopped at that gate to read the sign about keeping dogs on a lead as this field had livestock in, what we hadn’t realised it was actually a footpath going to the beach!!!  All the struggling could have been avoided had we had known; Should have had a good old fashioned ordnance survey map with us!!!

We headed into Bideford central car park as we needed “Boots” the chemist then down the  street running along the quay looking for a hostelry, toilet required!!  Though the sky was overcast it was warm so sat outside to watch the world go by.


Bideford has a far more interesting history than Westward Ho dating back to the Doomsday book (1086) and earlier.  Various Kings and Queens confiscated the lands around then granted them to others; repeated several times! Fought over during the Civil War, and allegedly the nazis had map of it in preparation for their invasion, ha!!   The central point is “Long Bridge”, spanning the river Torridge, connecting East and West of the town.  This current bridge was built to replace the original wooden one in 1474 and has survived!!!  This was also a ship building area back in the “day”, perhaps this is why Harland and Wolf have a yard here!!!

Lovely narrow streets

Wandering along the narrow “High Street” back to the car passing some quaint properties we headed back to the camp site but en route decided to head down to Croyde Beach.

Croyde beach Devon England UK in summer, popular surfing location

Croyde itself is quite small but a very busy little seaside place with a large beach and ideal for surfing, waves permitting!!    We had good fortune and parked right by the entrance and headed down only to find that sign “No Dogs Allowed”, oh well worth a try so headed back though stopped at the “Manor House Inn” for a quick pint.

After dinner we sat down with iPlayer and watched Elton John’s performance at Glastonbury.

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