Wayward Wanderers Walking Group

Sidford-Harcombe-Salcombe Regis

November 21, 2010, prb, Comments: 0

The afternoon turned out colder but drier than those of the recent past.   The group assembled at the Blue Ball, and for the first part included two members not seen for some while.  Since they were both nursing injuries they did not wish to do the whole route, but did grace us with their company for the first, gentle, mile. 

We left the car park at the Blue Ball, crossed the A3052, and headed up a residential road to the north.  At the top of this we moved onto a surfaced track.  This led gently all the way to Knowle House.  Here we parted company with our two long missing members, took a narrow path to the left of Knowle House and soon reached a boggy field.  This we needed to cross to arrive in the hamlet of Harcombe.  Here we turned up the lane towards Paccombe Farm, but soon turned into the steeply sloping field on our right.   Over a small wooden footbridge across a stream and then we started to climb.

Although steep, mercifully it was not too long.  At the top of the field we entered a short stretch of woodland.  Then we went over a high stile, and into another field, leaving it soon after for another wood.   This led us downwards in a generally southerly direction. Eventually we emerged onto a track crossing a field exhibiting the well-maintained fencing characteristic of the Donkey Sanctuary.   It was soon evident we had encountered one of their outlying farmland areas.  There was a large stabling block up to our right, and, naturally, a number of donkeys.   

Leaving this area, we moved gently uphill to emerge on the A3052.   Choosing our moment carefully we crossed it, and almost immediately took  a track on its south side that soon came out on the north side of the main Sanctuary complex.  We made a short detour to see the maze here.  Now its beech hedging is at design height, the maze is a sterner test than before.  We did not have time to try it properly, although two of the party did enter, only to exit very quickly asserting that it was a piece of cake.   Few of the others believed them.   We then went down the side of the  Sanctuary's main house, taking another fenced path on the south side of the main paddock area.  

Stopping to study the thronging donkeys for a short while, we discerned one animal that appears to be having an identity crisis.  Can you spot him in this photo? 

Our walk then moved away from the paddocks and down the slope of the valley leading towards Weston Mouth.  In view of the limited light we could not go all the way to the beach, much to the relief of those present.  Instead we doubled back and headed up another path and into the Dunscombe holiday caravan park. 

Exitting onto the lane at the top, we very soon took a short detour south, prefering a series of tracks to walking along the lane all the way to Salcombe Regis.  Eventually we had to rejoin the lane for a short way, emerging  by its church.  

To get out of the hamlet, we then had to endure another stiff climb.   At the top we met the lane from Trow to the Observatory, almost immediately leaving it for a field path across Soldier's Hill.   This took us to the wooded scarp of  Northern Hill, where we began a steep descent through the trees.   

On our emergence into open land we paused to enjoy the splendid view  towards  Sidmouth and Peak Hill, this time looking sombre in the failing light.   

The rest of the walk was gentle.  First we went downhill to join the road at Fortescue.  Now we were  on the level.  Turning right to cross the River Sid by a weir, .........

......... then crossing its flood plain, we arrived at the northern part of the path running up from The Byes.    The remainder of the walk was completely flat and quickly completed, the last part in the gathering gloom of a winter dusk.   

In all we covered 6 miles.   The track of the walk has been uploaded to GPSies and may be viewed at:


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