Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Walking and Whortleberries

I think I may have overdone the amount of photos from my recent foray on Exmoor, but here goes anyway. . .

Above is a picture of Dulverton, a small town on the edge of Exmoor. It's a friendly place where people say 'Good morning' to you and the shopkeepers are helpful and don't seem to mind man and his best friend, dripping in the doorway.

I feel really fortunate to be able to take these little trips away and I wonder sometimes if anyone reading my ramblings, might think that my life is one big holiday. It isn't of course, I work hard too, but I don't think anyone would want to read about that.
Having said that, yesterday afternoon was fun at work. We had a storytime and craft session for the village children.

I read 'Room on the Broom' and we made paper plate Halloween masks. I know how to have fun.....

Back to Exmoor.

Wonderful walking on the wooded slopes above Dulverton.

In the early evening the sun was bright and low in the sky. Up on the moor it cast an amber glow over the landscape.

I love the strange, contorted shapes of the trees.

Then all at once the sun was gone. It was eerie. As the light went, the stags started to make the mournful sounds of the rut.

Next day and I promised a walk and a meal in the pub afterwards. . . .

So we start the walk at Porlock Weir, having checked out the pub to make sure we could take Rowan in with us. The Ship Inn, right next to the beach.

We're going to follow the coast path to Culbone, it's only about 5 miles there and back, so don't panic.

Mind you, it's very 'up and down'.

You can wait in the pub if you like.

It's a well walked, woodland path , you can't see the sea but you can hear the waves crashing on the pebbles.

Venus de Culbone?

I don't think we can get lost but Rowan isn't too sure.

You should have guessed , I have an ulterior motive for this trek, besides the pleasure of your company of course, it is the tiny Norman church of St. Bueno at Culbone.

It's the smallest church in the country and is only 35 feet long and 12 feet wide.

There's definitely magic here, it's all around.

The church is in a deep combe, next to a stream which gurgles and rushes 400 feet, down to the sea.

No roads, only the coastal path and a track to a farm.

Inside there were fresh flowers, the gas lights were, well, different and there was a lovely welcoming atmosphere.

I think services are held pretty regularly, but I have no idea where the congregation comes from!

Outside, I found these windows , all completely different.

This one has two window lights, made from one block of sandstone. The magician who fashioned it also made an animal face for our delectation.

Interesting ironwork on the door.
I was going to suggest we sit in the churchyard to drink our flask of tea, but it's a bit chilly so let's go inside, I'm sure no-one will mind.

I don't want to move but, come on , back up the hill.

On the way back we can catch glimpses of the sea, the cloud has lifted a little.

Now, I don't know how to break this news to you. . .

The pub has stopped serving food, we must have lingered too long in paradise.

However I happen to know that just along the road, in Porlock there are the Whortleberry Tea Rooms. Follow me. . . .They have a nice sheltered patio with bonios and water for the dogs.

Here's what we're having, one of these between two, ok?

I feel a bit embarrassed , but after all we've earned it.

  • Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches (No crusts here!)

  • Ham and Whortleberry ( local name for bilberries) chutney sandwiches

  • Plain scone and Fruit scone with clotted cream and Whortleberry jam

  • Refrigerator cake

  • Lemon drizzle cake

  • Stem ginger cake

  • Rich fruit cake

  • Huge pot of tea

Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Time to head home now, our last stop was to peep at the view from above Porlock.

Then a glimpse of part of the Doone Valley.
What do you think, shall we try that walk next time?


acornmoon said...

Thanks for taking me along, I know my little dog would have enjoyed it too. I especially liked the Arthur Rackham trees.

Anonymous said...

well *I* think your life is one big holiday....and nothing you have shown today has disproved it. :) what a beautiful walk...and church and afternoon tea at the end. oh my I'm starving now. (and how nice they cater for dogs too)

looking forward to seeing more photos of the valley on your next walk

annette emms said...

acornmoon- you're most welcome. It's grand to have your company.

Paula - ok, ok I know, it's a hard life!
The Doone Valey will have to wait for next year, I think I've nearly used up my quota of pass-outs. . .

Genie said...

Great pics, thanks for the memories of Porlock I stayed there this summer for a week with my art group. didn,t make the walk up to the church knees don't like all the ups and downs.

Chris' Shady Grove said...

It looks like heaven on earth. I love your photos!!!

Penny said...

Thank you for the walk, and what a wonderful small church, we went to Exmoor, I must look up where, it was a magic day but we didnt have the food you had!
Thank you for an entrancing walk.

Lise said...

Thanks for the walk, the beautiful photos and the lovely meal. I really enjoyed it all!!

annette emms said...

Genie - A week in Porlock with your art group,how lovely it must have been. Can't think of a better place. Oh, and I know hwat you mean about the ups and downs!

Chris - yes, it is pretty magical! Thanks for the compliment!

Penny - thanks for your company, I'm so glad you came.

Lise -nice to meet you. Thank you for your kind comments and your company on our walk.

Jackie said...

You were drooling..now I am.
What amazing pictures and that little church? Heavenly.
The woodland pictures are gorgeous too, and I love the poppy heads in the previous post. Thank you for your visit.

Carol Stocker said...

Yes! Annette, your photos and travel-log have left me with goosebumps and smiles! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Hugs from America, Carol

Robin Mac said...

Annette, I have just discovered your great blog from a link on Penny's blog, and I am so glad I did. Just loved the walk with you - we visited Exmoor about 20 years ago, didn't do too much walking, but thought it very beautiful. I am in the middle of making some of your fairy shoes, seen on the WOW article, so I am doubly glad I found you. Cheers, Robin

Arija said...

Annette what a wonderful walk!I'm sorry I could only manage to come along on the downhill and even bits. Adored the tiny church and would love to hear more about its history. The woods and the moors anf the see and high tea in great company too, what more could one ask for?, except for an occasional cold nose nudging ones hand.

annette emms said...

jackie - glad you could come!

Carol - you are so welcome my friend.Hope all is well with you.x

Robin - Thank you for visiting, I'm so pleased you came!
Don't forget to post a picture of your Fairy Shoes. I'd love to see them.

Arija - bless you. Next time I'll make sure it's a flat earth walk, so that I can have your company all the way. I agree, tea and cold, wet noses, heaven. . .
The little church is partly Norman, with possible Saxon foundations.
Long ago the woods were full of charcoal burners and there was even a leper colony nearby.
The church is dedicated to St. Bueno , a sixth century Welsh missionary.
To me though, the magic of the place is in the stones, in the singing stream and in the song of the woodland birds.Hmmm.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

This was sublime! Such beauty, including the tea. I especially loved the windows, and the walk through the trees, and the coastline, and seeing Rowan.....etc.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Such a well spent journey.. I am back in medieval times.. I always feel as if I have stepped back in time.. you world is so ancient.. my world seems raw compared to it..

the rolling hills and the beautiful stone structures you take us to.. and we would never doubt you.. we would follow blindly cause we know you will lead us to a magical place .. lost in time... of walls, windows and doors enough to ponder and lose our imagination in...

I think I would try the lemon drizzle cake and the tea.. so kind of you to share...

Karen said...

What a lovely walk! Thankyou for sharing it.
I also love the windows and those trees!

annette emms said...

Gwen - thank you , dear Gwen, you always seem to find the essence of things.
I love to find these secret places and walk where the ancient ones trod.
I always think of your country, Canada as being vast, clean, unspoilt and beautiful. (Just can't get these rose tinted glasses off!)
I also imagine a land where the earth and the skies have been cared for, since time began, by it's own ancient ones.There must be so much history there, of a different sort , I realise, but there nontheless.x

Karen - thank you so much for coming along.

annette emms said...

Pamela - thank you for your company,and Edward's of course.
Those windows were so pretty, made to enhance a tiny church in the middle of nowhere. That struck me as wonderful.

Deb said...

What an absolutely wonderful day! Your Rowan is beautiful :-)

annette emms said...

Deb - thank you, i'm so pleased that you could join us on our walk.Rowan sends a wag and a lick.

lynne h said...

my dear annette, i've been here and read and looked before, but left without leaving a comment because i just couldn't decide where to start. i love these photos... your eyes are seeing and your camera is capturing the most delightful, telling images. this moves me so much. i simply love seeing everything -- thank you!!

annette emms said...

Lynne - why, Bless you! You can't know how pleased I am that my feeble ramblings bring you pleasure.x

Jo said...

I'm still tagging along...slowly and no need to rush.
Loving every minute and every image!!! Trees's and tiny churches, weathered surfaces, amazing shapes and textures...and Rowan...
Now Annette, you know I can't leave here without commenting on the FOOD!!! Oh my goodness!!! The most superb English afternoon tea!!! I feel so grateful...thank you...Beautiful Post!!!

annette emms said...

Jo - Hi! I'm so glad you came, we waited on the corner for you . . .
Now, talking of afternoon tea, The kettle's on and there's some 'Cherry and Almond' cake in the tin....fancy joining me?

Jo said...

I there :)

Heather said...

It's nice to know that places like the Whortleberry Tea Rooms still exist, even if I never get there myself. Those trees and views are so inspiring and the little church quite delightful - thankyou so much for sharing it all with us.