A couple of weeks ago when we were on the moor we decided to have a walk in Widecombe. It was a lovely sunny day, the first that really felt like Spring, although since we`ve had lashings of rain and been in a snow blizzard on the higher moor.
We parked up just outside the village and climbed over the stile into a lovely sunlit meadow. The sky was forget me not blue, and the sun pale as a primrose. The Alders growing beside the river threw long shadows across the grass, their heads stubby with purple catkins.
The river, the East Webburn meandered lazily across the meadow, gurgling and bubbling icily the colour of stewed tea over the river stones, where long tendrils of green water weed snaked in the rippling water.
In the trees all manner of tiny birds sang and flitted about, and high above two beautiful buzzards spun round and round soaring high into the sky, mewling as they flew. Too our right beyond the wintry hedge, we could see Widecombe church its tower piercing the blue sky.
Eventually we reached Venton bridge, a lovely old stone bridge beside the road. We had to tackle a huge muddy swamp before we could climb the stile onto the road, but that done we were back on a little country road.
The road took us between thick well cut hedges, and led down to the Rugglestone Inn, a lovely old Dartmoor pub...as it was early it was closed, dozing in the warm morning sun, with its thick granite walls, soft blue door and thick shrubby rose clad walls. Its a lovely spot in the summer to sit in the gardens and enjoy a cold drink, with tiny bantams pecking around your feet, and very popular with the locals being a stone`s throw from the village.
We took the winding road back to the village, between high granite walls where navelwort grew, and ferns hung in green pelmets from the top of the wall. The snowdrops that we`d seen a few weeks ago had opened and formed a white carpet beneath the beech tree.
We decided to have a look in the churchyard and see what was flowering there.
It was beautifully peaceful, the sun warmed the old gravestones, and snowdrops were flowering everywhere.
Beneath the beautiful spreading Horse Chestnut beside the kissing gate, were the first crocus in flower, dainty flowers in shades of gold and purple and cream.
And busily buzzing from one to the other were two little bees.
Also on the hedge bank, amongst the old conker shells the first Celandine with its pretty shiny yellow flower, a sure sign of Spring.
And high above, the sticky buds on the Horse Chestnut were beginning to fatten ready to unfurl lovely vibrant green leaves.
Having really enjoyed our lovely walk in Widecombe we drove on to Manaton another small village on the moor.
We parked in the church car park and took a turn around the church, which is a very pretty light grey and has a lovely wedgewood blue clock on the tower.
The inside is very nice with a lovely carved rood screen and nice shaped roof.
I was surprised to see this very old funeral cart I would think, Ive never seen one before.
And in the porch a lovely vaulted roof and fabulous old lantern.
We walked out into the sunshine again, and crunched down the path to look around, beside the hedges snowy banks of snowdrops grew once again, and by the gate a lovely old ancient cross, well weathered with many a tale to tell no doubt.
We walked back down to the lychgate where the trees were casting long shadows on the nearby thatched longhouse, and beside the wall was a memorial to the village war dead.
Manaton has a huge village green, the lovely old thatched houses surround it and it is edged with ancient beech and oak trees that drop their leaves in soft drifts in the Autumn. It had been a lovely day out, and showed us that Spring is just around the corner.