Tag Archive | Ilfracombe

Above Ilfracombe

Feeling the need for a walk yesterday, but only having a little time to spare, we decided to explore the low hills to the west of our nearest town, Ilfracombe. Known as the Torrs, or the Seven Hills, they lie along the coast, bracketing the town on its western edge.

Following the quiet residential roads to their highest point on the side of the hills, we finally found the small National Trust car park, which already gave excellent views down over the town.

 

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Following the signposted footpath we descended gently and crossed over the ridge to the seaward side of the hills. The Victorians carved out a zigzag path which is now part of the coast path, leading westwards from the town along the steep hillside. There are viewpoints on every corner, many with benches, which were much needed due to the unrelenting steepness of the ascent.

 

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Leaving the steep cliffs behind, the path finally ascends to the undulating, grassy swards on the top of the Torrs.

 

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High up on one of the seven hills a viewpoint has been built, which gives a lovely panorama down over the harbour to Hillsborough and other hills the other side of Ilfracombe.

 

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A choice of routes lead back towards the town and the car park, but we chose to walk a bit further along the coast towards Lee until we were past the end of the Torrs, where a valley cuts inland from the coast, which led us down a gradual descent back along the landward side of the hills to the car.

We walked for about an hour, but there were plenty of earlier paths leading back to the start, making this an ideal spot for future short walks, with fantastic views, excellent sea-watching spots, and even one place where one could descend down to near sea-level to sit quietly and listen to the waves.

 

Sunset in Ilfracombe

I am a bit restricted as to activities at the moment as I have a slight knee strain, but yesterday I was getting a touch of cabin fever, so we decided that a gentle stroll on level ground would do no harm.

Ilfracombe was buzzing with holidaymakers in convivial mood, despite the chilly evening. Down a back street near the sea, this ‘teenage’ herring gull was calling for its parents to feed it, despite looking quite grown up enough to fend for itself, and wasn’t scared off by us at all.

 

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We explored some areas along the seafront that we hadn’t explored before, and ended up by the harbour for the obligatory delicious ice cream (caramel for me, pistachio for him).

 

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And joy of joys, the fudge shop was still open, so we were able to buy a little bag each (Jack Daniels flavour for me, salted caramel for him).

 

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We watched the sun set, then meandered back slowly, absorbing the atmosphere.

 

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A very pleasant evening, and one to be repeated, I am sure.

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When the Boat Comes In

Today was the annual visit to Ilfracombe of a cruise ship full of American tourists. I expect she isn’t very large in the world of ocean liners, but she looked massive next to our little harbour!

 

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Some 800 visitors are reported to have come ashore, some to be whisked off on coach excursions, and the rest to experience the charms of our quaint English seaside town. The tide was out, exposing our surprisingly clean harbour beach.

 

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The quayside was busy with a mixture of Americans and plenty of the normal seasonal British visitors, plus locals like us come to enjoy the atmosphere.

 

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There was a Morris dancing festival for entertainment, and a street food market as well, where we each tried something different for lunch. I had Mexican chicken nachos, which was delicious.

 

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Followed, of course by a scoop of local toffee fudge ice cream. We had a thoroughly pleasant couple of hours, wandering through the town and watching the world go by. Not a bad way to spend time on a damp, cloudy day.

 

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Spring days and Spring tides

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We have been enjoying some lovely spring weather, with one particularly fine misty, dew-covered morning.

 

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Once the mist cleared, then we had a fine sunny day, much enjoyed by the rabbits, who dozed in quiet corners.

 

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We have also been having very high spring tides, and went down to Ilfracombe one morning to find that the water in the harbour was almost up to the level of the road!

 

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Round the other side of the town, the Bristol Channel was putting on a fine show.

 

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I have been plant shopping again, and am working hard to keep up with the planting. This is a lovely strongly scented spring shrub, Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’.

 

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I have planted it next to the path that doesn’t exist yet, along with three yellow grasses, Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’, and three blue spring perennials, Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’.

 

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I started to level off the path, and now just need to put some stones down and tidy up the two ends. I am pleased with the area, and just need to keep on top of any regrowth of the suckering shrub that was there before.

 

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We are going to Lundy on Tuesday, for a short holiday, staying in a cottage, and I will take some photos to show you all when I get back.

Spring comes to Ilfracombe

The first really nice day of Spring always used to happen on or around my friend’s daughter’s birthday, the 8th March (Happy Birthday Alex!). This year it is two days late, as we had rain on the 8th, and gales on the 9th. But today, the 10th March, has been perfectly calm, with clear skies and buckets of fairly warm sunshine. At last!!

To celebrate, we took a stroll up Hillsborough, which is the headland to the East of Ilfracombe, and which gives stunning views down over the harbour and town.

 

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Ilfracombe town is not a particularly special place, but the harbour is a delight. With its two little hills sheltering it from the Bristol Channel, it is a naturally sheltered harbour, with a sandy beach at the end.

The hill we walked up has a prehistoric hill fort on it, with two very obvious earthworks to protect it.

 

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It is a fairly steep climb up to the top, but then the path descends down the far side, then loops round to return, taking only an hour or so. A lovely stroll .

 

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The views from the top are worth the climb.

 

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The air was clear enough to give a reasonable view of the Welsh coast, although it doesn’t really show in the photo!

 

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Walking down and around, there are also great views over Hele Bay, the next bay around the coast to the East.

 

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On our return to the car we passed a superb Spring sight – a patch of lesser celandines in full flower.

 

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Much less commented on than snowdrops, or bluebells, they are nevertheless a lovely Spring treat.

 

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