For those of you who have visited me elsewhere on this site it may come as no surprise to find out that I do enjoy a good walk. For those of you who haven't visited me elsewhere.......do so now...........I MEAN NOW!!........'cos if you don't I'm not going to continue with this tip.
OK, now that you've got an idea of where I'm coming from, I'll continue.....a good walk always involves a destination, and strangely enough the destination, for me, invariably involves a pub or restaurant and this walk is no different. The destination in this case is the Double Locks Hotel, a pub that does quite reasonable food and absolutely excellent beer.
If you go down to the river from the city centre there are various bridges which will take you across river to the Exeter Canal, along which are the old towpaths (from the days before the infernal combusting engine when horses did all the towing of the barges). Follow the path (either side of the canal) and about a mile ( a proper DEVON MILE!) out of the city there is a pair of canal locks and the aforementioned pub. This is one of my favourite walks, it usually takes me about 30 mins to get there and sometimes several hours to get back, but I have yet to fall into the canal - oh! dear! that's tempting fate!!
If this piques your curiosity have a look at the travelogue.
Parliament Street in Exeter is, allegedly, the narrowest street in the world. One end opens onto the High Street (opposite Halifax building society) - the other end opens into the Guildhall shopping centre just opposite Woolworths side entrance.
At its widest point it is only 1220mm across so if you want to walk along its length perhaps you should do it before lunch!!
In the northern tower of the cathedral, under the clock, there is a very old and tiny door. In the very old and tiny door there is an even tinier circular hole. Why?
Apparently, the bell rope hung there, its end greased with wax. Mice liked the wax. They ran about in the cathedral and the monks did not enjoy walking over them when they rse for early-morning prayers. So it was decided that there should be a cathedral cat, and the cat needed a hole so it could get at the mice who ate the wax.............
This is supposed to be the origin of the nursery rhyme 'Hickory, dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock............' . It might be; it's a good story anyway!
Medieval monks were allowed to use 'misericords' (small wooden ledges to rest one's buttocks on) to keep themselves focused and comfortable through the long hours of prayer. Many were beautifully carved and Exeter has some wonderful examples.
The one in the main picture has been put on show because it is an interesting example of how the Medieval mind worked. The woodcarver had probably never seen an elephant, and obviously did not know what its feet looked like. So he gave it the feet he thought it would have; if you look closely, you'll see this elephant has the hooves of an ox.
Although most of the choir stalls are inaccessible you can see one or two other misericords on the end of the rows...and if you are lucky (or ask nicely) a warden may lift more up for you to see.
The Exeter misericords date from the 1300s and are some of the best examples in England.
If you fancy an escape from the ubiquity of the city's infernal-combusting-engined machines then a wander down the Exeter Ship Canal is the ideal way to get away from them all and doublyplus ideal is the cracking pub at the end of the journey.
The Turf Hotel, located at the Turf Lock where the canal meets the Exe Estuary, is one of the few pubs in Britain that is not accessible by private motor vehicles. Instead the canal's towpath has been upgraded to form part of the new(ish and still under construction in parts) Exe Estuary Cycle/Walking Trail which loops traffic-free from Exmouth on the eastern side of the river to Dawlish on the west.
The six mile section from Exeter Quay to the pub makes for a pleasant canal-side stroll or cycle with the pub sitting on the spit of land where the canal and estuary meet. The immediate area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the pub's beer garden occupies a prime spot.
Not only is the location stunning but the pub itself manages to have a proper-pub feel offering a convivial welcome, a good range of local beers and home-cooked food using mostly local suppliers.
well worth a visit
near starcross the family was connected too henry the 8th
william of orange and cromwell .great setting also great west railway cross property
the late earl was tied to brunell builder of the railway
The Blackdown Hills of east Devon are famous for their many ancient churches and quaint towns. Many hundreds of miles of narrow lanes lined by tall hedges twist through the hills.
Along one of those lanes between Ottery St. Mary and Seaton you might come across Southleigh, where you'll find this old church. It overlooks a field where dairy cows graze during the day.
Unsurprisingly, Northleigh is just a couple miles north of Southleigh.
The church here is atop a hill with views over the surrounding village and farms. Its white rendered tower makes for a distinctive landmark.
On to Colyton, a small town a few miles north of the large resort town of Seaton. Antique doubledecker trams connect the towns.
Colyton's church is quite impressive. The flamboyant tower and windvane can be seen for miles.Inside Colyton's church is a chapel dedicated to an old local aristocratic family where you'll see several extravagant monuments.
Halfway between Seaton and Sidmouth is the scraggly village of Branscombe, a long string of houses tumbling down a deep but narrow valley.
At the top end of the village, about a mile from the pebble beach, is this church.
One of the many unique features of Branscombe's church is this fragment of a wall painting. It shows an embracing couple being impaled by a skeletal demon.
Apparently there used to be a whole series of these murals, depicting the punishments for the Seven Deadly Sins.
Day after John's birthday and everyone is recovering from the Russian Restaurant (and its 40plus varieties of vodka) so we head off to FIngal's Bridge. Take the A30 out of Exeter on the Oakhampton road. As you drive the land to the left becomes wilder; gorse and moorland, crowned by the occasional tor. Turning off the main road you end up on ever smaller roads to the tiny village of Drewsteignton and down the side of the valley to the Bridge. There is a nice pub with a furnace like fire that serves okay food, for (I thought!) a hefty price, but it's a good place to sit and watch the wildlife while you down a few beers. Inevitably my kids ended up in the River Dart so taking spare clothes is a good idea. There are also beautiful woodland walks up and down both sides of the river. Castle Drogo estate also starts here but I'm saving that walk for a non-hangover day as I have no idea how big a hike it is. Probably a very busy place in the summer, which might make car parking a problem.
Parliament Street in Exeter is officially (according the The Guiness Book of Records) the world's narrowest street and yet until yesterday I never even knew it was there! The street itself measures 25" at The High Street end (sandwiched between Nickleby's and Dr China)widening to 45" where it joins Waterbeer Street and by all accounts was originally called Small Lane before being renamed in a derisory fashion by The City Chambers after the passing of the 1832 reform bill.
So here it us under "Off The Beaten Path" as it is a place I must have passed thousands of times over the years and this is the first time I've actually noticed it!
The West front of the cathedral (the main entrance) is covered with Medieval carvings of saints, bishops and kings. Sadly, the stone from which they are carved has suffered heavily over the centuries and many are badly eroded.
Even so, in places you can still see traces of paint. Originally the whole frontage of the cathedral was painted in what we would now think of as a very gaudy fashion. How magnificently impressive it must have been to the Medieval inhabitants and visitors!
The cathedral dates from the 1200s so it is not surprising that there are examples of all the different fashions in memorials over the 800+ yeasr since then.
You will find Crusader tombs (legs crossed means they died in battle) , tombs of bishops over the centuries in their varying robes (many still with traces of their original paintwork), the tiny memorial chapel to Hugh Oldham with many carvings of owls (his symbol) on ceiling and walls, examples of classic Regency 'Greek' drapery and urns, Victorian ceramic-tiled memorials....
They are all examples of very skilled craftsmanship and tell us much not only about the skills of their time but also of the fashions, and of the way people thought about death.
I particularly like the two carved swans in the small photo. They are at the feet of the Medieval lady whose tomb lies in the southern tower. I could not find out who she and her knightly husband were nor why her beautiful swans are chained....but their carving is a wonderful example of Medieval skill.