I thought a “holiday” wedged between the cycling in Cornwall and the walking in the Cotswolds would give the muscles a chance to recover and also allow us to transition from bike saddle to shoe soles. Devon seemed a handy spot, not too far from either location and we thought that a village would be a nice change. In fact we have booked a number of village stays so will be able to compare notes.
I found an airbnb in a village called Thorverton, in the Exe river valley in Devon. It looked great but we would need a car.
The decision has proven to be a good one although getting here proved a little more challenging that we anticipated, but not too much.
We caught the train from Bodmin back to Exeter, roughly an hour and half travel time, however, I was unable to reserve seat. The train destination was actually Glasgow and it appeared that for “short haul” you had to take pot luck. “Luck” turned out to be standing in the space between the train cars trying to keep our bags under control. That became much easier as the trip progressed and more “pot luckers” boarded .In the end we were doing a great sardine impression, getting to know the locals up close and personal. There was no way the bags were going to fall over given the passenger density in the “unreserved” section.
The motor vehicle collection went smoothly but we suddenly found ourselves driving down those narrow little lanes that we had been biking along. Even came across a few idiots on bikes. Ruth wisely opted out of being a driver and I have taken to drinking copoius quanties of alcohol to calm the nerves after each drive. Drinking a lot before driving would probably give you more options when you struck oncoming cars.
Navigation has been helped immensly by our maps.me app which has shown us parts of Devon we would not have otherwise seen but overall has made navigation relatively hassle free. Wrong turns are compensated for by the app recalculating the most efficient “new” route (on the fly) and it does seem to like short cuts which has resulted in us finding our way to those horrid little lanes (great for walking and biking, but not driving) more often than we would like. Even the roads with white lines down the middle seem to have an unnerving habit of morphing into single lanes every few miles. Overall, we are liking our app, without it we would probably still be looking for Thorverton.
We have not strayed too far from our accommodation, not because of the challenging roads, but because we don’t need too. We have walked the lanes to other villages and taken shortish (depends on the number of wrong turns) drives out to spots where we can spend the day strolling along tracks that we have largely found to be visitor free. We come across a few locals, often with their dogs, the odd fisherman and have even ended up getting invited to one couple’s house for a cup of tea and being dropped back to the track to resume our walk. If you ever do read the blog, thank you David and Monica for your friendship and hospitality, it is those things which we will remember from our travels. A very enjoyable detour.
If you are ever in Devon we certainly recommend you look up the self catering barn.
We are heading off to the Cotswolds in the morning for a 10 day hike. It is a drive to Oxford, train to Moreton-in-Marsh and then a bus to Chipping Campden. Could be a fun day.