Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Cosy in Coombe for Valentines

Our 7th Landmark (+ completed jigsaw as Landmarkers will know :) so heading soon for double figures, and again a complete treat. A cottage over a ford by a mill complete with millstream and open fire – what more could you ask for.

Coombe is a small hamlet at the forgotten junction of two wooded valleys in North Cornwall. Mill, millhouse and anciently picturesque cottages cluster in orchards around the ford of a shallow stream, just half a mile from the sea at Duckpool, where half tide exposes a sandy beach. The hamlet once belonged in part to the Grenville family of the long-demolished Stowe Barton, and its souls were later under the care of the Reverend Stephen Hawker, celebrated Vicar of Morwenstow. Landmark’s presence at Coombe (and only Landmarkers populate it today) preserves the hamlet and its exceptional setting in a joint scheme with the National Trust, who own most of the surrounding land and coastline.

Right opposite our front door is the start of a country footpath that takes you along the river, you can do a short circular tour or like us take the linger route to Sandymouth. But a word to the wise if your tempted. We took the beach route to our local seafront at Duckpool. You need skills in rock climbing, absailing and stout waterproof boots as the route resembles the giants causeway in crazy paving! You’re well advised to return via the coastal footpath from Sandymouth.


Q. What is the connection between Cheltenham and Bude?

The GCHQ listening station at Bude, the ears for Cheltenham, dominates the skyline top of the hill from Coombe. This could contribute to the lack of TV, wifi and moby signal though I suspect the geography of the valley is the issue. But makes for a wonderfully peaceful break where you have to make your own amusement – not difficult at Valentines with an open fire, good food n fizzy wine. 

The weather was unseasonably clement and Sunday was spent walking the 3 ½ mile snowdrop paths at Hartland Abbey from Blackpool Cottage (used as the setting for 'Sense and Sensibility') to the walled garden, a must. We were eating lentil burgers in the sun on the lawn whilst the middle of the country was under a snow warning.

even the rhodies were trying to bloom .

The local village of Morwenstow was a great find. The Bush Inn was very friendly with fine real ale and locally sourced produce, an olde world tea shop at the Rectory, an amazing church (with very accomplished bell ringers) a gothic church house and a hast head memorial to those who perished in the wreck of the Caledonian. Along the cliff footpath was Rev Hawkers Hut. Hawker was regarded as a deeply compassionate person giving burials to shipwrecked seamen washed up on the shores of the parish, and was often the first to reach the cliffs when there was a shipwreck. Prior to this, the bodies of shipwrecked sailors were often either buried on the beach where they were found or left to the sea. The figurehead of the ship the 'Caledonia', which foundered in September 1842, marks the grave in Morwenstow churchyard of five of the nine-man crew. Hawker described the wrecking in his book Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall. Nearby stands a granite cross marked "Unknown Yet Well Known", close to the graves of 30 or more seafarers, including the captain of the Alonzo, wrecked in 1843.

more pics

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