Around Exmoor


To celebrate yesterday’s second blogiversary a nice hobby outside my bedroom window made it 68 species for Port Marine. It just shows you don’t have to travel to the end of the country to score neat birds. Indeed on Saturday I more or less raced back from Cornwall to get to the western edge of my home county – somewhere the better part of two hours away from this northern end.

It’s a long run up the Atlantic Highway, aka the A39, especially via Newquay, which surprised me by being on cliffs. I made good enough time, with pee and coffee stops at places like Bude and Bideford, to be having lunch at Arlington Court. This National Trust house is between Barnstaple and Lynton and has the best entrance hall. It was so satisfying from every angle. A Blake watercolour is another treasure and as for the views…

This corner of Devon and Somerset is spectacular and nowhere more so than at Lynton and its harbour town of Lynmouth. I must have been there once but have no recollection of it. On the avian front the odd fulmar boded well for the next section of coast by Porlock. I was looking forward to boosting the county list with seabirds.

Parking there was a problem. I never carry change for these blasted pay and display machines. My feeling is that if places can’t cater to my vagaries, they don’t get my business. It didn’t matter: Holnicote was nearby and the trusty old National Trust card could have got more use. Except that the rules there stated that parking stickers were needed. Hmm, not too sure about that and not wanting some Jobsworth to slap a penalty notice on me and the clouds looking very, very black, I moved on to Minehead.

I’ll have another go. Soon. It sounds like I actually missed the best birding in the area, just a short way up to Dunkery Beacon, between Horner and Webbers Post. There be wood warblers, pied flycatchers and maybe further on the odd moorland bird?

I wasn’t finished even then. Although getting late I motored on to Stolford but that’ll keep for the next post…

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