I like walking up hills, even though it is hard work, as you get a huge sense of achievement, and the view from the summit is usually worth the climb. The exception was the time I struggled up Snowdon with a group of kids from the school where I worked. In the rain. In a cloud from the car park to the summit and down again. No views at all, and the cafe at the top was shut as well. Pah!
So I was pleased that the day of the walking club’s hike up Codden Hill near Barnstaple dawned bright and clear.
The path led directly up the end of the ridge, and was very steep and unrelenting. I managed it quite well, considering, so maybe the elusive fitness is finally happening. And the views from the top made it all worthwhile.
Directly below is was Bishop’s Tawton where we started, then beyond that is Barnstaple. The hill in the distance on the right is Saunton Down, with Braunton Burrows stretching across just below the sea. In the other directions it was rolling green landscapes as far as the eye could see.
After a brief stop for a drink and a mint humbug, which is a walking club tradition, apparently, we headed down the far side. It was good to stretch out and walk at speed after the slow climb, and I walked a large section of the walk at the front with the leader.
Once we reached the valley the walk skirted round the side of the hill, giving us great views of where we had been. I stopped briefly to watch a male blackcap singing in a bush. Summer is coming!
The return journey followed a pretty stream through some wet woodlands. There was a dipper flying along the stream, but there seems to be a dipper in every stream in Devon. I am not complaining, they are lovely birds to watch.
The ridge of Codden Hill was ever present.
Little lambs were in every field, mostly resting in the sun.
We passed through an old quarry.
Marsh marigolds were putting on a fine show in the shallow pools.
After a good stretch of level walking, we then had to use our climbing muscles again as the path gently rose across grassy fields to return us to our start, where we refreshed ourselves in the local pub before heading home. They did a very nice prawn salad, and the cider wasn’t bad either. Just what we needed, and you do have to support the local businesses, after all!