Saturday, 25 March 2017

Instow to Barnstaple (South West Coast Path 93)

Instow seen from Appledore

We sent off from the car park behind the dunes in Instow and followed the edge of the estuary northwards. The tide was out and there was a wide expanse of mud and sand. Now we were in the Taw estuary and looked across to Crow Point which we will pass inland of tomorrow.

Before long there was another spectacularly derelict boat (we saw several yesterday - they seem to be a feature of the area). The grafiti reads "Davy Cameron's offshore treasure map". I am writing this on the day Brexit was declared. It seems appropriate somehow - people who believe in treasure maps are often deluded.

We carried on along a winding trail through marshland which eventually rejoined the tarmac of the Tarka Trail, which had more bicycle traffic than yesterday's section. To the left were several marshy nature reserves.

A bit later, a tunnel of trees provided some variety.

We reached Fremginton Pill (Pill seems to be a local word for a Creek) and a view across to the north bank of the Taw estuary. The stone monument on the left was a memorial to a "local fisherman and character" John 'Dinger" Bell who drowned 30 years ago.

We walked across the former railway bridge and had this view of the Pill with the obligatory derelict boats.

On the other side was the former Fremington railway station now converted into a cafe and doing a roaring trade.

We plodded on towards Barnstaple approaching an attractive road bridge which was soon followed by a cutting.

Here I was delighted to see a  Brimstone and my first Peacock of the year. A sign board revealed that the sides of the cutting were being carefully cultivated to produce a series of colourful flowers. There was a fine showing of Primroses and a few Snake's-head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris).

As we reached the edge of Barnstaple, the splendid Torridge Bridge opened in 2007. It is an example of a balanced cantilever design. A rather negative article on Wikipedia describes it as the Barnstaple Western Bypass and expresses worries about the effects on seabirds and the difficulty of reopening the Barnstaple to Bideford Railway.

We completed our walk by crossing Barnstaple's fine Long Bridge (I will use it's picture to head the post of tomorrow's section). It's not as long as Bideford's (yesterday) but is still a great sight.

Distance: 7.0 miles.

Grading: Easy.

Map: Explorer 139 (Bideford, Ilfracombe & Barnstaple )

Rating: Three stars. A bit samey.

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