Short Winter Walk to Pew Tor
With an hour to spare and needing a bit of fresh air and a few bits shopping we decided to head for Tavistock then on to Pew Tor which is only 5 minutes drive from Tavistock Town centre.
We headed up over Whitchurch Golf Course and parked just off the road to Sampford Spiney with a view up towards Pew Tor showing a clear path.
A conveniently positioned stone bridge means you don't even have to jump the stream to get to the path.
It's just steep enough to get your heart going but not too challenging and the outstanding views from the top are well worth the effort. You can see all the way to Plymouth in the South and Cornwall in the West.
Looking back it seems that we have walked a long way from the car but only takes about 45 minutes and the drive back to Tavistock is full of surprises with golfers and sheep to negotiate around. It's a beautiful drive.
Cycling Dartmoor's Drakes Trail
One of my favourite ways to get out and enjoy Dartmoor when the suns shining and the skies are blue, is to get out on my bike and go for a ride along one of the fantastic new cycle paths that have been created using the old railway lines that criss-cross the county. The thing I really love about the cycle paths is that because they use the old railway lines, they're really flat, so even if you're not quite Bradley Wiggins, you can still cover a good distance with ease. Another great thing is that there's usually a pub on route for a bit of liquid refreshment.
On Monday it was a beautiful day, we were pretty busy early on but still wanted to make the most of the weather, so in the late afternoon we packed up the bikes and headed to Drakes trail. This is the section of the old railway line that runs between Tavistock and Plymouth and takes in some beautiful scenery over the moors from Yelverton to Plymouth and the valley through Grenfen to Tavistock. It's wonderful this time of year with the bluebells out in bloom through the woods and moors coming alive in spring.
We covered the section of the track from Yelverton through to Bickleigh. It starts in Yelverton by the church and runs over the moors to Clearbrook, before dropping into the valley and taking you through to Bickleigh.
The history in this area is very interesting with various engineering works from the Victorian era and when you see how hard people used to work, dragging granite out of mines and hauling materials up from Plymouth, it makes me feel very lucky I live in this day and age.
Although the cycling is pretty easy going, the Skylark Inn around halfway through the ride is still a welcome sight. It's a nice old pub with a good beer garden, good choice of local ales and a reasonably priced and pretty standard pub menu. It looks like it's a popular stop for people using the trail, so it was a good atmosphere with friendly staff. We enjoyed a nice pint in the garden before getting back on the bikes and heading for home. All in all it was a lovely end to the afternoon. It only took a couple of hours including the pub stop, so it's easily done in the evening or as part of busy stay in West Devon. The easy cycling and great views make it a relaxing way to see a bit of Dartmoor and take in some history, with a good pub stop along the way.
Lunch in the sun on Plymouth Hoe
On Thursday we made the most of a routine trip to Plymouth with a visit to the historic Barbican and Hoe area. The sun was shining and there was a real holiday atmosphere, lots of people were sitting out enjoying the sun eating and drinking. We parked in the car park and strolled along the Barbican soaking up the atmosphere. With cobbled streets, bars and cafes overlooking boats in the marina give it a real holiday feel. We considered fish and chips or a burger from the famous Captain Jaspers (a particular favourite for bikers) but it was full and so we decided to walk on and take in more of the views. There are now some lovely places to eat overlooking the Mayflower Steps that offer all kinds of coffee and very tasty looking light snacks.
Walking on to work up an appetite we stopped in to look at the Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to discover America. There are loads of tour boats that go from here and in the past we have enjoyed cruises up the River Tamar to Calstock, a lovely little village on the river about an hour away.
We carried on up the hill to the Hoe and it was now getting pretty hot, with people sunbathing on the grass beneath the fort. As we climbed the hill Plymouth Sound and Drakes Island came into view, it's a stunning panorama where you just want to stop a while and take in the views. With busy harbour there is always something of interest to take you eye.
We decided to stop at The Terrace café on the cliff side overlooking the newly renovated Art Deco Tinside Lido Pool. It's a beautiful spot for lazing in the sun and we remonised on the days we use to go to the pool when the children were young.
The Café offers a menu that is well priced (from £6 - £12) with lots of options from cooked breakfast to light lunches. We opted for the Panini's which were very tasty and accompanied by a small salad. The coffee was good and the service excellent and although it's not fine dining it's a great spot, good value for money and clearly popular with locals, which usually says a lot. We worked off our food with a walk up to the lighthouse admiring the views, we then wound our way back to the car again, considering an ice cream on route but managed to resist as we are attending a wedding tomorrow and have to worry about getting into our outfits!