Monday, 27 July 2009

Rosemoor Scents and Sensibility

27th June
Glorious day so we had breakfast in the garden with the family then off to RHS Rosemoor near Torrington. The brochure promises you will be “spellbound by the spectacular display of 2,000 roses to stir your senses”. Well this magical garden lived up to all expectations. It was a hot and sultry June day perfect time of the year to see those famous roses in all their stunning glory. We were given a map at the entrance and proceeded to take a “tour” around the garden donated to the RHS by Lady Anne Berry in 1988. We set off along the winding path beside the wild flower meadow, towards Rosemoor House. Along the way we saw the Stream Garden and Rock Gully, the Mediterranean Garden and Stone Garden. Rosemoor House, a delightful period property has now been converted to luxury apartments. The Wisteria Room, aptly named, is open for tea and coffee. We continued to explore Lady Ann’s original gardens then sauntered back up the long sweeping lawn eventually arriving at an incredibly picturesque olde English Cottage Garden with a thatched shelter. An abundance of traditional English flowers, climbers, shrub roses and flowering bushes bordered the winding circular paths. Rosemoor is now licensed to hold Civil Weddings and Civil Partnership Ceremonies so this area makes for a truly romantic setting, the perfect backdrop for those important wedding photographs. From here one picture perfect garden followed another as we strolled through the formal borders. We were met with an explosion of colour and fragrance as we finally reached the Queen Mother’s Rose Garden. After tea and cakes in the Restaurant we continued to explore the Bog Garden, the Stream and the Lake, a tranquil place where damsel flies danced above and upon the water lillies. Nestling in a sheltered wooded valley, the garden covers 65 acres in all including the Arboretum and surrounding woodland. There is much to see so you really need to make a day of it. A new attraction for 2009 is “The Brash” a pretty picnic area on the edge of the woods where the kids can have a fun time spotting birds and learning about beetles and badgers. There are events running throughout the year including Family Fun Days in August. The layout and easy access makes it enjoyable for all, there are lots of benches in strategic places for those wishing to take a breather or merely admire the view. Wheelchair Access: Steps are clearly labelled on the Map. Elsewhere some gentle slopes may be encountered and surfaces could be soft in wet weather.
Photos copyright Pat Adams All rights reserved Click here to see more Rosemoor Garden Photos on our main site

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Peppercombe Light & Shade

24th June 2009
Midsummer and the swi
fts are soaring above the lane by the Coach and Horses.The vegetation either side of the Peppercombe trail is now at its fullest. At the start of the track the hedge is at least seven foot high with black bryony, flowering dog roses and honeysuckle climbing upwards through the leafy hedgerow. The verges now crammed with massive hogweed, thistle, red campion, foxgloves and sorrel spiking up from low lying buttercups and clover. The leaves on the ancient trees are now fully formed creating a canopy over the valley. Compared to Springtime the trail down is now in shade except for the occasional sunlit patches where wonky foxgloves bend over instead of upwards probing for the light. The massive fungus, pictured, was high up in an ivy clad tree. By the pink cottage rhododendrons are in flower but the stream by the bridge has all but dried up. Further on down past the old stables, the huge bank by the wooden bungalow is now full of ferns. This area was carpeted by primroses in March and April followed by bluebells in May. In the past donkeys and ponies have grazed in the upper and lower meadows and this year’s summer visitors, the Belted Galloway cattle, have settled into Peppercombe Meadows, under the coast path. Pathways and glades are opened up as a result of them grazing allowing a much greater range of grasses and wild flowers to emerge in Spring and Summer. The dung left behind benefits beetles and other insects which in turn provides a source of food for birds. The cattle were chosen because they are extremely hardy and have a “generally docile nature”. While I was there they didn’t lift their heads up and continued grazing quietly so keep to the path and they won’t even notice you. Read the sign, keep dogs on the lead and shut the gate. Ferns seem to be in abundance at the further end by the steps but the rest as usual full of wild flowers and grasses. In earlier years this site had a large number of big old gorse bushes which were home to many spiders. I arrived down at the beach in glorious sunshine and was greeted by a couple of blokes sitting on the cobbles who, on seeing the camera, pointed out a seal bobbing off-shore. The black blob didn’t hang around. The only other life forms were three gulls and the elderly couple I had spoken to earlier who were on their way to Portledge the hard way. After a very slow descent down the steep cliff path they now began to traverse the cobbles, explorer style, with walking poles. In contrast a more nimble pair scampered down with nets aloft ready for shrimping. Clear blue sky and still blue sea so there was excellent light over Clovelly and Hartland Point to the left and Portledge meadows above the red cliffs to the right. Beyond Portledge the South West Coastal Path leads to Abbotsham Cliffs and Westward Ho!. Below the path, the lower cliff is clad in heather with new shoots so this will make for a colourful August. I have been taken photographs of Peppercombe Beach, Peppercombe Valley and its wild flowers for many years so please visit my web site to see more Peppercombe Seasons. There is a good hike along the South West Coast Path from Peppercombe to Bucks Mills. The most colourful time for this in May when the woods are full of bluebells. Photos copyright Pat Adams

Monday, 15 June 2009

Time out at Tamar Otter Sanctuary

I thought it was high time I got a photo of an otter considering my site, the North Devon Focus is all about the coast and countryside around Bideford Bay and the Torridge River which of course is most famous for being the location for Henry Williamson's novel "Tarka the Otter". Henry Williamson was inspired to write the novel when living in Georgeham a tiny village near Croyde Bay, now famous for it's glorious sandy beach and surfing. I know it's cheating but Otters are elusive and in all the years I have lived in North Devon I have never seen one on the river, so I headed out to see them up close at the Tamar Otter Sanctuary which is located at North Petherwin, Cornwall just over the Devon border. The centre is in a beautiful location and includes landscaped ponds in varying sizes for both British and Asian Short Clawed Otters. There are waterfowl lakes, owl aviaries, a nature walk and woodland walk. The most tranquil place was a spot by the old Quarry and waterfall within the woodland enclosure where Fallow Deer and Wallabies and smaller critters roam the grounds. Although I was looking forward to getting shots of the otters I was also delighted by the number and varied species of owls and waterfowl, many with tiny fluffy babies. The spectacular peacocks paraded around us in true carnival style. I shall be including a focus on the visit and more pictures on my main web site so check back for updates. Photos: Copyright Brett and Pat Adams