Friday, 5 December 2014

A walk around Widecombe in the Moor

After a November down here in Devon that is best forgotten for it`s long grey dreary days, we`ve turned a corner now its December and had a lovely cold bright day.  We drove up to Dartmoor and had a walk round Widecombe in the Moor which was bathed in golden winter sunshine and blue forget me not skies. 

The beautiful Horse Chestnuts on the green had shed their leaves like wanton strippers and showed their beautiful muscular shapes, while drifts of brown and gold leaves lay in crunchy carpets below.

It was beautifully peaceful..all the cafes had closed up for the winter, and there was no crowds of holiday makers to spoil the peace.

We took the path around the green where the long shadows of the trees fell, the hedges surrounding the café were dry and twiggy and the sun so bright it hurt our eyes..

A muddy track ran off to our right and led to a lovely old farm, where rusty red corrugated sheds leaned in a drunken fashion and behind the huge shoulder of the moor, ginger with the dying bracken..

Through the filigree of the branches where the last toffee coloured leaves rustled crisply, St. Pancras church slumbered in the winter sunshine...

Around the green, houses jostle with little shops selling souvenirs and other such things, outside one is this lovely old Straddle stone mushroom used originally to support a building to keep the vermin and water out.

Around the corner is The Old Inn a wonderful old pub with interesting character
And across the road at the old Sextons cottage is the National Trust shop, the old wooden door was decorated up for Christmas with a lovely arch of fir branches, dry hydrangea heads, berries and fruit
We walked through the lych gate into the grave yard where the sun caressed the old lichen covered tombstones and generations of Widecombe folk slept peacefully under the emerald turf..
By the church door a cotoneaster spread like a berried fan against the grey stone of the church and tiny ivies crept up the wall.
The church is beautiful inside light and airy with a lovely ceiling covered in wonderful bosses.
Theres also a museum at the back where some rather nice old crosses reside.
In a glass cabinet is a carved wooden model of Uncle Tom Cobleys old grey mare carrying all the characters from the song.

We wandered back out into the sunshine and walked down to the bottom of the grave yard, the views from here back across the moor are beautiful, with the soaring tors ginger with bracken and sheep tiny white dots like a handful of rice scattered over the hillsides.  By the church wall is an old granite cross standing in a bush of heather that belongs to Olive Parr who was a well known local author who wrote under the pen name of Beatrice Chase.  She lived in the hamlet of Venton a stones throw from Widecombe.  She had a great passion for the moor and wrote lovely descriptive books about her life on it, she was also very opposed to the militaries presence on the moor and felt very strongly about the moor becoming a national park, which thankfully it did.
We left the churchyard and walked down the hill to the well, a very picturesque little building set in the mossy granite wall and hung with streamers of ivy and edged with the odd ferny frond or two.  The waters are reputed to have healing powers, especially for eye complaints.  Tradition says that the well has never been known to run dry. and is fed from a spring in the garden behind.
Across from the well is a wonderful collection of old dilapidated buildings which give great character to Widecombe, I love that nothing is too perfect and slowly goes back to nature, mossy cushions grow on the old tiled roof, and ivy spreads across the front, no doubt in the summer Swallows swoop through the half cocked door and build nests on the roof beams, and little grey mice with pink feet and beady eyes scurry about the dusty floor.
We walked back up the hill to the car, it had been a lovely afternoon to while away an hour or two in a beautiful moorland village, somewhere we never tire of visiting.

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