This weekend I was lucky enough to bag a visit to rural county Devon, staying with my cousin and her other half in their new(ish) home. They relocated from our home town in November, and it was my first visit.
Despite leaving loved ones behind, I can see why they easily had no regrets with their decision. Their secluded village sits atop a hill, overlooking the beautiful Devonshire countryside. Woolacombe Beach (dubbed the ‘best beach in the UK’ and I’d say easily comparable to a beach in Spain) is just an hour’s drive, and an array of other touristic gems are dotted around, an even shorter distance away.
It’s experiences like these that remind me England isn’t the dull, grey image that a lot of us often have. It’s brimming with stunning scenery, wildlife and nature spots. At one point near a place called Castle Drogo, I couldn’t believe I was still in the UK. A giant valley filled with luscious green trees, and a convenient path that lets you admire the view from different angles, literally took my breath away.
Another trip took us into the heart of a huge gorge, with gushing waterfalls and mossy trees surrounding us on upward spiraling paths.
Lydford Gorge was around 3 miles of massive woodland, ancient tree roots underfoot and an enclosed rock cove/cavern at a spot called the Devil’s Couldron. Standing on a bridge above, you can watch the water bubble and whirlpool madly around below your feet.
Amongst scrambling up rocks, hiking up steep hills and sitting on the edge of cliff faces, I found a sense of tranquility I haven’t experienced in a while. The freedom felt while trekking across fields hundreds of miles from home, from anywhere familiar, was exciting and exhilarating. Living in each moment to moment, taking it as it comes and accepting the fact that it all ‘is what it is’, was an emotional release, to say the least. The fresh air definitely went to my head.
Devon is a beautiful place and as a ‘Brit’ I feel truly blessed to know we have such serenity on our doorstep- we don’t need to skip countries to get a dose of escapism from the everyday England we’re used to. We just need to know where to look… and the drive to want to find the rest of the hidden gems the UK has to offer.