Walking Woolacombe beach – 3 miles

woolacombe beach

As I spend so much of my time cooped up indoors at home sitting in front of a screen, there’s nothing I appreciate more than a good walk to stretch my legs and Woolacombe beach offers the perfect setting.

The photo above is taken from the road and gives an excellent idea of the 3 mile long beach.

woolacombe beach food vans

Fortunately, with the girls growing up and being able to amuse themselves with buckets and spades for hours on end I can now snatch back half an hour to myself and during our last break to Devon I did precisely that.

woolacombe beach huts

 

I left the family playing on the beach, picked up my camera Canon SX500 IS and set off on my mission of walking Woolacombe.

woolacombe beach huts

Apart from wanting to get some good shots of the beach and stretch my legs, I find walking an excellent time for thinking and clearing out all the junk that’s often hurtling around my brain and it allows me to connect with nature which is so important.

Watch the beach huts get smaller as I keep up my bare footed pace across the sands of Woolacombe.

Atlantic sea woolacombe

The tide goes out a long way leaving a hard flat beach to walk.

feet in sea

 

Woolacombe is known for it’s dramatic landscape carved out from the Atlantic waves. In fact the waves are excellent for belly boarding and surfing as any local will tell you. Don’t be fooled by the photo, that sea was freezing and wetsuits were the way forward if you wanted to enter.

woolacombe beach look back

The further you walk to ‘the other end’ the less people you meet, the occasional dog walker as dogs are only allowed on this side of the stream which splits the beach in two – see the food vans above to see the stream.

woolacombe walker on beach

I was overtaken by a walker dressed suitably for the occasion, unlike me barefooted and fancy free. My toes ached for a while after all that scratchy sand but I’m sure it was a perfect pedicure.

woolacombe beach

 

That is Baggy Point in the distance, meta for walkers as there are many beautiful walks in the area for exploring the coastline. I didn’t make it that far though.

woolacombe

Looking back I was amazed at the difference in the view, whereas before the beach had been packed and busy now there was a mile of sand stretching out in front of me.

woolcombe sand dune

I was amused to see people walking/sliding down the steep sand dunes with as much their beach kit as they could carry to save another walk to the top.

woolacombe beach

I didn’t make it all the way to the end but this was my start back point when I realised I’d been gone for a while and husband would be itching to get in the surf with his brothers.

I loved this little snatch of me time, I hope it worked off a few calories. I know for sure I was exhausted that night and left husband sitting listening to music as I curled up under my covers and fell into a deep contented sleep. I will definitely do this again.

Twitchen House – Woolacombe, Devon

Twitchen House woolacoombe

Twitchen House must have been a family home one time, a huge beautiful family home. It’s a breathtaking Edwardian building and still looking grand today. It is part of the Woolacombe Bay  holiday parks and this is our second visit to Twitchen House as last year we stayed at Golden Coast.

Since our last stay Twitchen House has undergone a massive £2.5 million renovation in keeping with the manor house and surroundings they have done a fantastic job.

This time we took our caravan for a five night stay and we can’t wait to return, see why …

twitchen house outside pool

Journey

Half term week is the busiest week to travel but we decided to leave at 6am and journey down on the Tuesday. This proved to be very successful as we arrived at Twitchen House around midday. To get to Woolacombe you use the Barnstaple ring road which is very straightforward, we drove along the A361 which is a great road only travelling through Broughton at peak times can be slow.

We turned into the B3343 to Woolacombe, again no problems towing the van. After about 2 miles you have to turn right towards Mortehoe and this is a small country lane with hedges either side. The only hiccup we had was when the Woolacombe Bay double decker bus was travelling in the opposite direction, it made for some very slow manoeuvres inching past each other but it can be done and we all arrived safe and sound with the caravan intact.

twitchen house outside pool

Check in

Very simple and very quick, check in is in Twitchen House. You are assigned your plot, given a map and told directions. It was very easy to get to and on booking there are three pitches to choose from, Basic, Electric and Super. We chose a Super Pitch which has the following amenities

A concrete hard standing or all weather base:

  • 16 amp electrical hook-up
  • Awning space
  • TV aerial point
  • Drinking water
  • Waste water drainage
  • Night light
  • Parking on your pitch

We were given a pitch in H field which has a fabulous play area in the centre for the kids however our plot, H49 was placed right by the grass area so we were right behind the kids goal when they were playing football, the ball did hit our van a couple of times so it might be worth taking note of that.

making friends in the park

Park Facilities

The newly revamped centre is gorgeous, a lot of thought has gone into the design and architecture, you won’t be disappointed. There is a a lovely all day cafe/restaurant area, where you can also buy food to take away – the chips were delicious! There is also a soft play area so easy to leave the children playing and have a coffee watching them.

twitchen house all day cafe

There is a club house with a stage, lots of seating and balconies opening up if you want to sit outside too

On the lower level which can be reached from outside you will find the site supermarket which is very fairly priced and holds everything you will need.

Twitchen house facilities

There is also The Art Shed and on a rainy day this was our saviour. A genius idea where you choose a piece of pottery from the many available, plates, bowls, mugs, princesses, robots and dinosaurs to name a few.

art shed twitchen house

On each table there is a centrepiece of paints, brushes and clean water. Each painter has a tile on which they squeeze their chosen colours and off you go.

the art shed twitchen house

It took us over an hour to complete our princesses, the girls loved it and there is also a bar where you can order tea, coffee or soft drinks too. Your finished piece will go in the kiln and will need 24 – 48 hours before it’s ready to pick up so worth doing at the beginning or middle of your stay. It gets busy so the earlier you go along the better chance you have of finding your preferred pottery piece and a table to work at.

twitchen house art shed

There is a cinema showing 2D and 3D films an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor swimming pool with a great fountain area to play in alongside and a marvellous adventure playground.

twitchen house play area

For older kids the area EX34 will keep them amused

woolacoombe bay ex 34

As the four parks are connected it is also possible to visit other parks to use their facilities like bowling at the Golden Coast for example.

bowling woolacoombe bay

Camping facilities

These are superb and we were very impressed. The shower blocks are huge, I think I counted 26 showers, all large enough for an adult and kids to go in, with hooks for hanging towels and dry clothes, a small sink and a mirror. There were shaving plugs too.

There are two hairdryers available with mirrors and they are free of charge.

There is also a sauna and a steam room which are turned on mornings and afternoon/evening, free of charge.

There was a separate area towards the back of the building with lots of toilets in both mens and ladies and plenty of sinks.

Every time I visited there was music playing which I really liked, it was clean, often with the cleaner present and I never had to wait long for a shower to come free.

twitchen house

Surroundings

This is a beautiful part of the world and one we return to whenever we can. Our favourite places include

Coombe Martin

Watermouth Castle

Mortehoe

Berrynarbour

Lynton and Lynmouth

Ilfracoombe with a pretty harbour and Damien Hirst’s Verity, a controversial statue worth taking a look at.

Ilfracoombe Other Criteria Damien Hirst

Woolacombe Beach and town is beautiful. I love eating at The Red Barn and we always stock up on pasties from the local shop. Woolacombe is a surfers paradise, the girls had lots of fun belly boarding in their wet suits in the sea.

woolacoombe beach

A bit of history on Twitchen House

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Twitchen like this:

TWITCHEN, a parish in South Molton district, Devon; 12 miles NE of South Molton Road r. station. Post town, South Molton, North Devon. Acres, 2,918. Real property, £1,889. Pop., 227. Houses, 45. The manor belongs to Lord Poltimore. The living is a p. curacy, annexed to North Molton. The church, excepting the tower, was rebuilt in 1848. There is a Wesleyan chapel.

Cost

We paid £170 for five nights in June half term week 2014. There is no disclosure as this isn’t a requested review just one I wanted to share with you because we loved it so much.

Devon, flowerpot men and birthday parties

twitchen house

I’ve been very quiet this week and I have a very valid reason too. Last week, half term, we took our caravan down to Devon, we left at the crack of dawn to avoid heavy traffic and it worked, we had the awning up and everything in place to enjoy this beautiful sunset. Devon excelled in every way but the internet connection was dire, hence I’ve had my head down this week catching up on work.

Woolacombe in caravan

We stayed at Twitchen House, one of Woolacombe Bay’s four parks and it has recently undergone a massive facelift which is pretty impressive, future post on its way because we loved it and I want to tell you all about it.

the art shed twitchen house

One of the new activities we discovered was the perfect solution to a rainy day, The Art Shed. A huge room kitted out for painting pottery pieces, all kinds of pieces – my girls chose princesses! Tables are laid out with separate tiles for your splodges of paint, paints, brushes and you can even order a coffee. We LOVED it and would have definitely returned if the weather hadn’t have picked up.

crabbing coombe martin

Devon is an old stomping ground for husband and one of his favourite things to do in this part of the world is a beach crawl or a trip back in time to see the places dear to him. One of those places is Coombe Martin where many a childhood holiday was spent. On our visit the skies were grey and there was a chill in the air so we dressed accordingly and tried our hand at crabbing. A LOT of fun was had but nothing was caught.

berrynarbour village

One of my favourite visits this year was to Berrynarbour, a tiny inland village which has won plenty of flower prizes for the prettiest village but what is even cuter are the flowerpot men! Can you spot the two flowerpot men in this photo? Separate post to follow on our walk around the village but it was a lot of fun!

Towards the end of the week the sun shone and husband took the girls belly boarding whereas I took a walk along Woolacombe beach almost to the end and it was fabulous. Quiet, beautiful and deserted.

woolacombe beach

To finish off half term we celebrated my brother’s 40th with an amazing Sunday roast at The Laughing Gravy in Blackfriars, London. If you are in the area pop in to this amazing restaurant.

Happy 40th Dom ;)

The week that was 365/23

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday last week saw us up at 6am and leaving Woolacombe by 7. We were well on our way home when we passed Stonehenge. I ask EVERY SINGLE TIME WE PASS if darling husband will stop so I can visit but going down – he’s getting tired of the journey and anxious to arrive and on returning, ‘Ah you can’t go right up to it anyway and LOOK there’s loads of people.’

sonehenge

So friggin what? Next time I’ve made him promise to stop or else I will quite simply take a trip down on my own – that’ll show him ;)

We arrived at Two Chimneys in Birchington on the North Kent Coast in very good time, set up, had dinner and visited the club house where the girls danced and asked to use the camera to take a photo of the squiggly disco lights

girls taking a photo

and their photo of the lights

squiggly lights

I knew you’d be impressed.

Sunday saw me cleaning the caravan top to toe as we won’t be going down for sometime, a part of me sad to go home but another part of me (quite a big part) looking forward to a proper double size bed. Being a very good bag lady I had bags full to the brim to go home. His job to pack it all in the car – and he did! I can’t tell you how long the grass was in our back garden when we arrived home, all afternoon spent gardening, weeding and planting my seedlings in the veggie plot. I also started the first of the 6 washing machine loads I would do to catch up.

packing the car

To finish off a fabulous Whitsun week a barbie, husband’s favourite pastime.

BBQ

Monday morning back to school. Now the girls are in term 6 I no longer have to accompany them to the door, as of September they will have to cross the playground to their new Year 1 classroom so now I leave them at the school gate so they have a chance to get used to the idea. Parents aren’t allowed to enter in the morning as the children are unaccompanied so I watched them set off through the gate and I let go of another tiny part of my gorgeous twins as they grow up a little bit more.

going to school

I went home to start on the 400+ emails; In Woolacombe I had had zero reception, I rolled my sleeves up and cracked on. My back was aching a little from the weeding and planting done on Sunday afternoon but take a look at my Veggie plot.

veggie plot

Tuesday I tried some of the India tea I had been sent to review. Black tea – I tried with milk and it was delicious, in the afternoon I tried Cardamom Chai, this one I had without milk as it has a distinctive flavour. I liked it but I’m more of a ‘proper’ tea girl at heart. I might have it with a hot curry though ;)

tea india

Wednesday I start to come out of the massive work load, a bit tired and in need of adult conversation, I allow myself a quick peek at Facebook and I go to the supermarket – I know I’m so rock and roll! I take a look in the garden; my rhododendron has passed, should have taken the photo on Sunday but the clematis is in full bloom with another 3 blooms yet to flower.

clematis

Thursday I picked the girls up from school and was informed by two of their classmates that Alice had taken Abigail’s sweetie when she went to the toilet. This was obviously something quite naughty that they deemed I needed to know and I did. I know why she did it, she has an incredibly sweet tooth ‘Era piu’ forte di lei’ they say in Italian which basically means ‘It was stronger than her’ the pull of the sweet being IT. I did chide her and told it was wrong, I said she’d lose all her friends and it was called stealing. She said nothing but she listened (I hope) The next morning I sent her in with a small packet of Moam sweets (5 in a packet) I told her I would ask Abigail if she’d been given a sweetie. Abigail smiled at me and said yes she’d been given two, she was delighted with the exchange…but the other 3? I haven’t managed to discover who got them so I imagine Alice ate them all. *sigh* I also made some ice lollies with the girls using juice and some lolly moulds from M&S for £2.50

lolly moulds

Friday Coffee with my school mums which was my first real conversation (husband not counting) in a whole week and I loved it, we talked summer holidays, school. As Paul was out I made a risotto for me and the girls dinner (he doesn’t like rice) it was delicious and luckily the girls really enjoyed it. I also rewrote last year’s script for the BiB ceremony at BritMums Live. I am also amazed at how much my potatoes have grown!

potato plants in a bag

Right Now I need to do the ironing of the 6 washing machine loads so toodlepip and see you next week

Mari x

North Devon: Verity, pasties and sandcastles

Our half term break was spent in North Devon at Woolacombe to be precise where we have visited before but never tire of returning.

North Devon section

This break was unique in as much we towed our caravan down there for the very first time so a massive step for us and it all went amazingly well apart from putting up the awning inside out after an 8 hour journey but *ahem* moving on …

We booked into Woolacombe Golden Coast resort as other family members were staying there and it has some excellent facilities onsite for us and the kids to use, three swimming pools to start with, an amazing adventure playground and the beach balls that our girls tried and LOVED.

Woolacombe Golden Coast

On the Wednesday we took to the coast and starting at Combe Martin a beach dear to my husband’s heart as he spent a lot of his childhood there, it was a cold grey day but we managed to play on the sand and the tide was out so we went to look at the rock pools.

combe martin beach

When the tide goes out, there is a cement walkway to the right looking out to sea that takes you round to some fabulous rock formations, caves and rock pools.

combe martin rock pools and sea views

We jumped back in the cars and drove a short distance to Hele Bay passing Watermouth Castle and stopped for lunch at the beach cafe – £5 for scampi and chips and delicious it was too. We played ‘Pooh’ sticks before leaving and the dads got very competitive :)

hele bay north devon

Our next stop was Ilfracombe, we drove down and parked by the harbour and were able to see Damien Hirst’s controversial statue that upset the locals when erected in October 2012.

verity ilfracombe

I like it. Yes, it’s different, some say macabre, I say unusual, in fact it got me thinking. There was no plaque and no information so I added the photo to my Facebook stream and there I learnt her name, Verity and her meaning. I find her protective over the baby she is carrying and trying to do the right thing, but that’s just my definition, each has their own.

The statue of Verity pregnant holding a sword aloft and standing on a base of legal books is meant to be a ‘modern allegory of truth and justice’

The figure’s stance is taken from Edgar Degas’ late 19th Century Little Dancer of Fourteen Years and is referenced by Damien Hirst in his earlier bronze Virgin Mother from 2005.

The title ‘Verity’ is from the Italian word of Truth, while she holds the traditional symbols denoting justice – a sword and scales. – Visit Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe was also an ice cream stop, I tried Tia Maria.

ilfracombe harbout

Our next journey was down the narrowest country lanes, with husband moaning a little bit whenever someone dared come in the opposite direction but the end was Lee Beach. The tide was out, the sky was grey and it was very cold but what a picturesque spot and well worthy of a day trip with a picnic on the beach. When you do get down there, there’s a car park but if it’s packed you will then have to retrace your steps or take the other single file lane out, might be worth leaving this spot for a quiet day ;)

Lee Beach Devon

Last stop on this tour was Woolacombe for some fudge and some pasties

fudge and pasties woolacombe

But before we got there I asked husband to stop at the top of the hill descending into the village to get this shot, if you take a look at the map at the top you’ll see how large Woolacombe beach is.

wollacombe north devon

If you’re passing on a sunny day of course it would look like this …

woolacombe beach