Just half a mile up from our B&B is the Valley of the Rocks – ridges of grey granite along which visitors like to scramble. But the ridges are dead ends and not on our route, thank goodness. Instead the coastal path winds round the back of one of them, overlooking the sea and cliffs – it is quite narrow and it’s a long way down, so I move closer to the cliff face and away from the drop.
We then follow the sign up the hill (this shot is take looking backwards) until a turn off to the right takes us on a slight detour through a herd of goats!
They look extremely comfortable, sitting munching away and they are completely disinterested in us despite Damian’s attempts at sociability.
Through a gate at the top of the paddock we are back on the tarmac road which passes through what used to be toll gates. I have no idea what this cryptic message means.
The next message is easier to understand – is it too early for tea?
Up on the hill Lee Abbey announces itself………………..
This is a side entrance with an information board telling us that the abbey is now a Christian activity/retreat/conference centre. Just opposite, a banner has a suggestion for the weary………………
The main building is huge with extensive grounds. People sit on benches looking out over the bay, some are busy tending the grounds – a young girl drives a tractor and trailer past us.
At the bottom of the hill we find the tea house, set in a beautifully landscaped garden with the plumpest rose hips I have ever seen. The cafe is run by a bunch of fresh faced youngsters and the young girl who takes our order at the hatch has a smile that makes me stand to attention. It seems to illuminate all those lucky enough to receive it – maybe there is something in this praying business.
Refreshed, we follow the road and then a path through woodland up to Crock Point and down into Woody Bay.
We walk down behind the hotel and past a rather pointless signpost – it is also here where we could go down and have a look at the beach but a 10 mins walk down and 30 mins up does not seem that appealing.
A little further on a gap in the trees reveals this magnificent view of the coastline – the building in the distance is Lee Abbey.
The trail now passes through dense woodland with a few waterfalls along the way. I would love to be able to photograph moving water properly, maybe I will learn on my photography course that starts next month.
Eventually we reach the point where the path turns sharp right and plunges down the cleave of Heddons Mouth, on the opposite side to the one I picked my way down some weeks ago. Below us is the beach with a few people milling about.
We start the slow descent which takes us down to the pretty stone bridge over the stream and a sculpture trail of sorts – all signs that we are nearing Hunters Inn.
It is still early when we reach the inn so after some lunch we decide to head back to Lynton in a taxi (there are no busses here) and walk a couple of miles east of the town. This will make tomorrow’s walk shorter and easier.
Distance: 9 miles