A week in Devon and Cornwall

Holly and I got back from a week in Devon and Cornwall on Saturday night. Very fun, though the weather was a bit crap.

The week started with us hiring a car in London. Holly can only drive automatics so our choices were a bit limited. When we went to pick it up, the back door of the car wouldn't open. So they upgraded us to a very nice sedan. Added bonusses included a CD player, power windows, individual heat controls and, get this, seat warmers. That's right, bum feeling the chill? Stick on the bum warmer! Never knew such a thing might be necessary, but it does help warm you up very quickly!

The first weekend of our holiday was spent at Wortham Manor with about fourteen others. It's a Landmark Trust building so very old and really nice. We hung out, drank in local pubs, played board games and did a murder mystery on the Saturday night. Really fun and I'm looking forward to the next one, but that won't be until next Winter.

After that Holly and I headed South to Dartmoor and Grimspound, the remains of an Iron Age village. As we reached the moor, a thick fog descended over us. At one point we could barely make out much beyond the edge of the road. After driving around for quite some time, we finally found the place. Despite being a National Heritage site, there are no road signs pointing to it. Probably not a huge problem when you can see things off to the side, but a major problem when you can't see much! Fortunately one of our mates driving with us had an OS map.

From there we headed our own way to the beautiful town of Fowey (pronounced "foy", rhyming with "boy", for no discernable reason). It's a gorgeous, if rather touristy, little seaside port town. Really postcard quality views. We stayed in a 16th century inn.

Eden Project

Next day was the big one: The Eden Project. The view when you see these weird, Buckminster Fuller shapes emerging out of the Cornish countryside is incredible. The site is nestled into an old china clay pit, and can't really be seen from the outside roads. So once you get in and get that first glimpse, it's quite amazing.

Inside, the project is much more advanced than I expected. It's only been going (and growing) for a few years yet they've managed to plant many fully-grown plants with an incredible diversity of items. Even on a cold, wet Winter's day, the number of visitors was huge. I can't imagine how crowded it would get in Summer! The warm, wet, tropical dome was my favourite. Quite a shock to the system after wandering around a cold, rainy England.

The next day we were due to go to The Lost Gardens of Heligan which are supposed to be a amazing, but the weather was just too crappy. Instead we headed further along the coast. Along the way we saw some pretty amazing neolithic stuff.

Marconi Centre

We drove around Lizard Point, the Southern-most point of Britain. After that milestone we started hunting for Poldhu, site of Marconi's 1901 transatlantic radio transmission. It turns out a special centre, managed by the local amateur radio club, has been built there. Unfortunately it was closed, something we found a fair bit in Cornwall during the Winter. Regardless we got to see the site, wander around and look at the memorial.

Tintagel

Lands End and onwards wasn't very exciting, so we drove up to Tintagel Castle, supposedly King Arthur's birthplace. The town is incredibly tacky but the castle is amazing! The wind and waves have been buffetting the headland for centuries, and bits of it fall into the sea all the time. As we walked up the stairs to the headland, we heard a loud thunder-like noise. Looking left we saw a huge chunk of headland fall off and into the ocean. Quite amazing, and a bit worrying considering we were just heading up there.

The best thing about Tintagel, though, was where we stayed. A beautiful little pub with great food and a really nice room. Excellent after a day of driving and wandering around.

Back home

On our last day we had hoped to do a walk in Exmoor but the weather, once again, worked against us. So we decided to head back to London.

All in all, a great trip. Cornwall is excellent, though it's a bit frustrating how everything closes during the off season. We also missed out on the telegraphic museum, because it was closed. I was really looking forward to seeing that one!.