Category Archives: Holidays

Devon max

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Looking out over green fields fringed by a cloudless sky and the serene blue of the sea, I feel compelled to commend, yet again, a holiday in the South Hams in Devon.

We discovered this area about five years ago and with the exception of a big birthday trip to the States in 2013 have come here for our annual summer holiday ever since.

Of course, the stunning, rolling countryside offers life at a leisurely pace with villages such as Modbury providing the quintessential English country experience complete with local food emporiums, quirky boutiques and tearooms.

But scratch the surface and a world of surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, kayaking and sailing awaits – and these are just the possibilities on water.

The exceptionally mild climate in this part of the UK has given rise to a culture of outdoor activities such as tennis – there are dozens of courts in Dartmouth and Ivybridge – cycling and walking, much in evidence in the tanned, svelte physiques of young and older Devonians alike.

Surfing lessons are available at Bigbury and Bantham beaches (visit www.discoverysurf.com and www.trioceansurf.co.uk for details) with the swell of the sea and long sweeps of golden sand combining to etch an unforgettable image of coastal Britain at its best in the minds of all who visit.

Younger son, Ethan, has developed an avid surfing habit over the years and recommends Bigbury for beginners, while Bantham has longer “peak” periods creating a more challenging ride.

The picturesque village of Salcombe, which sparkles against the Aegean blue of the Kingsbridge Estuary, attracts the sailing fraternity and everything that goes with it.

Excellent local bakeries, fishmongers and delis pepper the streets, alongside brilliant boutiques such as Sea Chest selling nautical classics and Deck Out providing more whimsical designs to show off sun kissed skin and beach blonde tresses.

Totnes is another delightful discovery, with Fore Street running through the centre like a mountain tributary with outcrops of fantastic delis, cafes, gift and clothes shops on either side, top to bottom.

South Hams is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Totnes remains true to its values of nature in the raw. It is one of the founder towns of the Transition Town movement with its strong focus on sustainable practices.

Eating out is all part of the laid back vibe in the South Hams, but if you fancy throwing something on the barbie at your holiday accommodation and washing it down with a cold beer or chilled Chenin Blanc the options are endless.

Riverford Organic Farms Shop and Café near Buckfastleigh offers organic fruit and vegetables grown on local farms or on the premises in giant polytunnels, as well as fresh beef, chicken, pork and lamb and all manner of accompaniments.

We stayed at Barton Court cottages in South Huish this year, which, besides having a fantastic indoor pool and games room for occasional rainy days, is close to all the great beaches with The Beachhouse restaurant at South Milton an absolute must.

 

 

 

 

‘Green & pleasant land’ all at sea

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With the summer holidays just started, I’m affording myself the rare opportunity to take my foot off the gas and wake up and smell the coffee (relaxing my avoidance of mixed metaphors too!).

Sitting in an idyllic cottage overlooking the sea in the South Hams in Devon, it’s a quintessentially English scene that the English have just voted decisively to protect.

I’ve spent the weekend pouring over post EU Referendum analysis, and can’t help but feel that the British people have been stitched up – again – by party politics.

David Cameron apparently took a gamble in announcing the referendum in the first place, in an attempt to quell an uprising by backbench Eurosceptics. And Boris Johnson backed Leave in a calculated bid to become Prime Minister.

Don’t think either of these guys really expected to get the result we did.

So we are in a new world order – the result having sent shock waves around the globe and throughout world financial markets.

I’m upset for young people whose carefully thought out arguments and overwhelming engagement was nothing short of spectacular. The media seems to be saying that this is a triumph for white, working class Britain (old versus young and, less charitably, uneducated versus educated) but the strength of feeling is just as notable.

As ever, in considering the implications I’m thinking of my sons – Lyle (now 20, I really must think of a new slug for this blog!) and Ethan, 16.

Lyle was devastated, finally laying his cards on the table that he hopes to spend his life as a touring musician – a dream that will be thwarted by continental Europe closing its borders to Britain – or, at least, making it a lot more difficult for Brits abroad.

Or will it? The strength of feeling shown by young – and old – towards this “green and pleasant land” suggests that we will work something out. And after all the bitter recriminations settle over in Brussels, can they really afford to ignore what some have called the most liberal-minded, multicultural, inclusive society in the world.

I’m not a fan of Cameron, but felt genuinely sorry for him on Friday when his dream of launching a “life chances strategy” – among other unfulfilled ambitions – lay in tatters.

Ever onwards…