One of the joys of having a MiL living in Devon is the possibility of visiting the seaside, which is a treat for us landlocked Wiltshire dwellers. She lives very near the North Devon coast but on Saturday, at her request, we went to visit Porlock Weir, a hamlet near to Porlock right up where Exmoor touches the sea. It is a beautiful part of the world, on the Devon Somerset border, as despite the Exmoor murk (mist, drizzle, the usual) we had a really enjoyable day pottering about, pub lunching, the regular holiday treat things.
The settlement is tiny, as the picture below shows, under the wooded slopes of Exmoor. We walked along the shingle beach and took this picture looking back over a salt flat meadow where dozens of swallows were flying. It seems to have been quite a good year for them despite the downpours and some of these still had young in a nest-probably a second or even third brood.
There were several families with young children enjoying that great seaside treat of crabbing. One young lady of about 9 was an expert on crabs, carefully explaining the difference between shore crabs such as this one and velvet swimming crabs. She took great care in the handling of them and explained how to tell males from females. This is a male-its all to do with the shape of V section on the under shell. I was fascinated, both with the crabs and with the expertise 9 year olds often possess when interested in a subject.
Down on the shingle a group of men were waiting to go out on a small boat to do some off shore fishing. Not long after they departed, the tide receded very rapidly, as there is a big tidal range here, leaving only a trickling stream where the sea had been and removing the crabs’ swimming pool.
This end cottage of the line was thatched, but the rest had been re-roofed with tiles. It’s right on the shingle and the plants were flourishing in very shallow soil and shingle. There is an upturned rowing boat in the distance
We walked along the shingle beach for a way and amongst the stones I found this one,
about 8 inches across and containing, I think, a plant fossil. I love fossils and have nothing like this one, so I have brought it home to join my collection of “interesting” stones in the garden. I don’t know what fossil it is exactly. I need to do some research.
After a pub lunch, which appropriately featured crab sandwiches, we drove to the Valley of Rocks, a bit of Exmoor I have never visited before. The valley runs parallel to the sea and has several tor- like formations, including the one below, which plunge steeply down to the beach. There is colony of semi feral Cheviot goats roaming over these slopes-odd in the UK. I think a return visit on a lovely day is definitely a must. There is a spectacular 360 panorama here
taken on a sunny day which is a quicktime movie and worth a look.