Despite being only a short break, my recent family trip to Devon and Cornwall was certainly adventure packed. Although we were only away for 6 days, we managed to fit in: crabbing in Looe, watching stormy seas in Polperro, a visit to Plymouth Hoe, exploring rock pools on Seaton beach, walks, swimming and a wild camp on Dartmoor, body boarding in Salcombe and a visit to the largest waterfall in England. Here is a quick write up of some of the things we got up to.
After successfully tackling Fur Tor and the wilder parts of Dartmoor the previous day, the plan for the Sunday was to explore the more popular Western moors and Tors (a route lifted almost entirely from Backpackingbongos). We were camping at Langstone Manor, a lovely quiet campsite (with it’s own bar serving pretty decent meals!) tucked on the edge of the moor, so, after consuming some bacon sandwiches, we left the campsite and began the gradual climb onto Whitchurch Common.
We left Bristol early on Saturday morning (fuelled by bacon sandwiches) to head down the M5 and A30 to Dartmoor in a convoy of three cars (6 people, 1 big dog and lots of car camping kit). During breakfast, I had been updated by @DanSantillo that the hills were still shrowded in mist, and I was a little nervous as the haze covered countryside flew past. Fortunately though, by the time we arrived at the tucked away Lane End carpark, the sun had done it’s job of burning away the mist leaving mostly blue skies and glorious sunshine.
As a kid I used to attend an annual cadet camp in Devon as a cadet leader (the main influence on my present day outdoor interests). The aim of the week was to get the younger kids through part of their Duke of Edinburgh, so there were class room based map exercises, an accompanied hike and camp on Exmoor, a night military navigation exercise (the highlight – think flares, finding contacts on dunes and ex-army personnel ’hunting’ you!) and the main DofE hike and camp (usually along the coast). During the main walk the cadet leaders, who already had their DofE awards, had to be kept busy, so we usually ended up on Dartmoor. I have fond memories of bogs, magnetic rocks upsetting the compasses and getting lost in the fog (I knew where we were but no one listened!) – all these memories came flooding back yesterday after spending a few happy hours in the local pub with my Dartmoor OS map (OL28) planning some routes for this weekend.
Mena Caravan & Camping Park is a lovely, very friendly, spacious and secluded camp site situated on a hill just to the South West of Bodmin, Cornwall.
I was quite lazy when choosing this camp site – I basically did a Google search of camp sites near Bodmin and picked one of the top results – and I was not disappointed!
Best points: friendly, spacious, great for dogs & local meat
Bad points: none (honest, I really can’t think of any!)
After our first Jamaica Inn themed walk on Bodmin Moor, it was time to take on Brown Willy – the highest point in Cornwall, and visit Rough Tor, where the dramatic ending of the book takes place.
The walk starts and ends in Churchtown near St Breward – Churchtown meaning, unsurprisingly “that settlement in a parish where the church stands” (what did I expect?).
The description of Bodmin Moor with its granite skies, howling winds and stark isolation are an appropriate background for a story that includes drunkenness, theft, smuggling, wrecking, murder and madness.
From a review of Jamaica Inn
Jamaica Inn is a Gothic horror adventure written by Daphne Du Maurier in 1935, based around Jamaica Inn, a famous base for smugglers, situated in the middle of Bodmin Moor between Bodmin and Launceston.
This post covers the first walk - from the former mining village of Minions, up Stowe’s Hill (and the Cheesewring) before dropping down into a more desolote part of the moor and a climb to the summit of Kilmar Tor, which towers over Tewortha, home to Jem Merlin, the brother of the landlord of Jamaica Inn.
After an enjoyable weekend of walking on Bodmin Moor, I thought now would be a good time to share how I go about planning where to walk. You see, when I am off walking (or is it hiking?) in a new place, I have a bit of planning regime. It is a bit sad, but please indulged me.
[This was orginally going to be about the walks themselves, but I got a little distracted - I promised to blog about them tomorrow!]
Smugglers Haven is, according to their website, Newquay’s premier 18-30 holiday park. Trevelgue on the other hand is a family holiday park with “plenty to keep the children happy [at Trevelgue], a wonderful time for toddlers, ten year olds and teenagers” (from Trevelgue’s website). The thing is both Smugglers and Trevelgue are effectively the same site!
Last weekend (July 2009) I stayed at Smugglers Haven / Trevelgue Holiday Park for a friend’s stag do.