Number 3 - Paradise

Number 3 - 22 June 2009 - Torcross to Prawle and back

And now we reach the top three. If you are expecting there to be rarity, enormous falls or jammy finds, I am about to disappoint you. The top three are (mainly) of the ordinary - at least on the surface they might appear to be ordinary. But to me, all three are most certainly nothing but extraordinary...

I almost went to Soar Mill Cove to look for Shore Dock, and a more dull species of plant is hard to imagine. But I just couldn't find the enthusiasm in me to get in the car and drive there. Instead, I got out the OS map, opened it out on the table at the B&B I was staying at, and planned a long walk. After all, the weather forecast was for a sunny, warm and calm day and the scenery around Slapton and Torcross was more than agreeable. After a 'Full English' (hats off to the Plodding Birder) I left the pretty cottage garden of the guest house and strode southwards along the coastal path out of Torcross.

I will now post a series of photographs taken during this walk. They will say more than I can about the stunning beauty of this part of Devon, although the captions will add a bit of commentary. I'll meet you at the other side of them...

After a climb out of Torcross you come across this view - the village and ley of Beesands. Who wouldn't want this as their local patch? Imagine what turns up on this water and in the surrounding fields and hedgerows! I want to live here!! And there's a pub as well!!! 

Start Point, taken after I had walked down to the lighthouse on the eastern side and come back along the western flank. There were seals hauled out on the rocks below.

After Start the footpath runs above a series of sandy beached bays. There is nobody on them and it's June! People pay thousands to go and lie on a Greek beach and we've got this on our doorstep... but, don't come here, stay away, 'cause it's way more special without us idiot human beings spoiling the view.

Prawle - the commonest bird here was - no kidding - Cirl Bunting

To sum up, I walked from Torcross, to Beesands, past the abandoned village of Hallsands, via Start Point and then took the footpath above the sandy bays all the way to Prawle. Then I turned around and retraced my steps. It was one of those days when it was not only good to be alive, but I felt as if I were at the peak of mental and physical wellbeing. I most probably walked 20 miles but at the end of it felt as if I had just done 20 metres. I floated along. I was in a ridiculous good mood. I met just six people on the footpath ALL DAY... 

As the day continued in its benevolent fashion I knew that is was going to be one of those rare special days, the contents of which would be cherished and remembered for the rest of my life. Certain moments stand out above others: seeing the ley at Beesands for the first time; being able to clearly hear a conversation from a fishing boat even though it was half a mile offshore; watching a group of seals hauled out on the rocks; being surrounded by singing Cirl Buntings and watching a pair carrying food to a nest. But this day was not about observations per se. It was a day in which I was privileged to be able-bodied, to have the gift of sight and sound, and also the humility to realise that to be able to experience all of this is not to be taken for granted. I'm not a religious man, but on such a day I could have been forgiven for becoming one.


bob smith said…
Beautiful area . Its good to go on a long walk without-as much as that's possible-without expectations on what one is going to see. Its like going back to a pre-knowledge state to take in landscape without the particulars. I went there about two years ago-to Prawle Point via Pigsnose Valley and was surprised to find some Queen of Spain Frittilaries. Talking about place have you read Rising Ground by Philip Marsden. Mainly about landscape in Cornwall. Well written but
not with language overkill you get in some writing about the landscape.
Steve Gale said…
I haven't read that book Bob, so I must seek it out. As for the Queen of Spain Frits, release or wild?
Factor said…
Summed up beautifully. You can at least be aware during this brief period of time we are here that you experienced something very special during your life.
Steve Gale said…
Too true Neil. I hope that you have had similar experiences as well.

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