Thursday, 27 April 2017

East Titchberry to Clovelly (South West Coast Path 88)

 East Titchberry Farm

We resumed the Coast Path at East Titchberry Farm, owned for some reason by the National Trust, and reached the coast above Shipload Bay. We were immediately struck by the amount of bright yellow gorse which illuminated this picture of Eldern Point. On the horizon, Morte Point on the other side of Bideford Bay is the more northerly and Baggy Point can be made out to the south of it. In between lies Woolacombe Bay.

Lundy was directly out to sea and more gorse gave some framing to this distant picture of it.

We headed now along the clifftops of Gawlish Cliff and Fattacott Cliff with fields inland of us. Soon we saw a curious triangular rock formation on a rocky spit of land up ahead. I made various efforts to photograph it, but the results were not very satisfying. This was probably the best.

At the west end of Beckland Bay we had our first descent: it was like being in a garden, with steps and plantings of ferns and bluebells.

Further along there was a great drift of bluebells on an open hillside. We were quite surprised: we normally only see significant numbers of bluebells in a woodland setting. Is the milder climate something to do with it?

Shortly after this, a slightly better view of the odd rock, now identified as Blackchurch Rock, was available.

At the bottom, Blackchurch Rock could be more clearly seen at the far end of Mouthmill beach ("beach" is a bit of a misnomer as it looks more like the residue of a quarry). Apparently the rock is the result of natural erosion however.

On our left was a large rock face housing a colony of nesting Fulmars.

We now climbed again, quite steeply, and then descended through Mouthmill Woods, with more drifts of bluebells, to reach Mouthmill Cove, with the beach in front. 

Here a small stream reached the sea, passing a number the mill on the left. The bridge across the stream was, mysteriously, decorated with plastic ivy.

We headed inland and then suddenly took a steep path uphill towards Gallantry Bower (where do they get these names from?).

Emerging onto a grassy clifftop with masses of young broom we had our first views of Clovelly Court. As we got closer, we passed the Angel's wings. It was made by (or more likely, for) Sir James Hamlyn Williams in 1826 so that he could look across the bay to Youlston where his daughter, Lady Chichester, lived. It is quite charming. The angels' wings were very like those we saw last year in St Jon Manthorpe church in Norwich.

And then we entered the domain proper of Clovelly Court: the farm outside the park, with the house on the hill. It was good the see that new trees were being planted in the parkland, which otherwise was looking a bit bare.

Not too long after this we reached the Clovelly Visitor Centre high above the village where this leg of the Coast Path ended. The village of Clovelly is located down a steep cobbled hill from here. The Coast Path passes above the village and unless you make the detour you don't see it. For this reason, I have done a separate post about the village and Manor House.

Conditions: cloudy, but bright.

Distance: 6.5 miles.

Rating: Moderate.

Map: Explorer 126 (Clovelly & Hartland).

Rating: four stars.

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