After last years fantastic trip to Cornwall, we decided this year to head down to Devon.
For Christmas we’d received a vineyard tour and wine tasting event, so we used that as a framework for the trip and off we went.
We drove down early and spent the afternoon exploring.
We stayed at a place called Shaldon. I’m sure some tweed wearing people would describe it as sleepy and quaint.
I thought it was pretentious and expensive and far preferred Teignmouth across the bridge..
Throughout the trip, the weather was either too windy or too wet, but our high spirits made for a fab trip.
The following day, up bright and early and off to the Old Walls Vineyard. We decided to walk the 2 miles from our campsite (it was alcohol based after all, and neither of us wanted to drive).
The owner (a charismatic chap, very comfortable in the countryside and at least in his seventy’s) told the history of the area and how he’d arrived at the decision to setup a vineyard.
As we wandered around, he explained how a vineyard is constructed and that its 3 years before the “yard” starts to produce anything.
We also saw some “thin” tractors, designed for work on Vineyards.
After a while, we were taken inside and shown how wine is made (they make white, red and sparkling (which to anyone else, would be champagne)).
The grapes are pressed using a sort of air bag. He said you normally just press the automatic setting, and the machine does the rest.
We had a chance to taste all the different wines. I was surprised, as none of the wines seemed to be blended, they just came out as they were, and then bottled.
The and tasting came to and end and we were taken to the terrace restaurant for out inclusive lunch and a complimentary bottle of wine for each couple.
I thought for the money, a half day activity and everything included, it represented outstanding value for money.
Leaving them with a sincere goodbye, we head on our way.
But the adventure doesn’t end there.
We were in the mood for exploring (and drinking) so we headed back to Teignmouth.
The wind was very strong, and on the front, waves splashed onto the road and pavement.
A few drinks around Teignmouth in some local pubs with friendly people and good atmosphere.
Afterwards, what more appropriate for a seaside town than Fish & Chips, before we head home to our tent.
We wander back through the banality of Shaldon and relax in our tent.
The following day, we head out walking (after the vineyard, that’s the main reason we’d come).
It was a first for me, as I’d never been walking on Dartmoor.
Using the now famous Walking World, we do a long circular walk around Maldon reservoir and up into the moor.
Windy, but spectacular views, a cracking 12 mile walk, with lunch & coffee on the hill.
Made me sad that we were only there for 3 days. I could have spent weeks exploring the hills around there.
We head back to Longmeadow Farm (the superb campsite where were staying) and the Sun has come out.
After a hard day on the hill, a more localised evening is planned.
There is a caravan park nearby with a sort of Hi Di Hi type social club attached.
I shouldn’t complain, the drinks were very reasonably priced and my curry was delicious.
Just before bed, the heavens open (its at moments like that, you’re glad you paid a bit more for your tent and aside from the sound of rain hitting the ceiling, slept in perfect comfort.
In the morning we pack up and and head out of the campsite to do another walk on our way home.
As we leave, I see the farm animals have found improvised shelter in the picknick area.
This must be where the phrase “acting the goat” comes from.
Another walk suggested by Walking World, is around Haytor rocks.
Only 8 miles this time, but the area is famous for having these stone tracks in the ground for its granite tramway.
I’ve been walking on Dartmoore, and drank British made wine. Result.