This was all about making the best of what we had. We’d already been on a walk around Slapton Sands and after a rest day we picked some locations, booked ourselves in and met up with some, and then all, of the family that would have been with us in The Lakes. We decided to take advantage of the National Trust card and gave it a few good outings alongside a zoo visit. Myself and the boys started at my former workplace, Buckland Abbey, which was the former home of Sir Francis Drake, before we went to Castle Drogo, near Moretonhampstead, the next day with my mum and dad and sister’s family. The day after we went to Knightshayes, near Tiverton, this was the full family meet up being nearly half way allowing my brother and family to join us all. Knightshayes was a good day and it gave a glimpse into what fun and enjoyment the boys get from messing about together. Finally we went to Paignton Zoo, a good day out with my sister and her family, we all really liked the Lego animals alongside each of the real animals and the effort that went into making them. A good week but just not quite what or where we wanted.
Buckland Abbey, this was an old Cistercian abbey prior to Henry VIII ripping them all apart. This one was spared and turned into a home by Sir Roger Grenville who lived here for a while before selling it to one Sir Francis Drake
We set off on the blue walk, which is shortened to allow a one way system and social distancing along with some work which is happening down by the bottom pond. This view is down towards the River Tamar, Drake would have moored down there allowing easy access to his boat and sail to London
Avenue of trees
The area is covered in large woodlands which some nice blue skies and white fluffy clouds above
This blue walk alongside the red leads you through some of the more substantial woodlands
The River Tavy is down below, this leads into the Tamar
Plenty of fields and views around this walk
We had a look in the Great Barn before we went in for cake and a drink. This was built by the monks to store and thresh grain and dates back to the 1200s
Buckland Abbey, a National trust property and a fine place to work and visit. The Great Hall inside still has the floor tiles which were in place when Sir Francis lived here, so if you visit, you will walk were he has.
The next day we headed to Castle Drogo, we are out on a short walk here to Sharp Tor
Dartmoor proper is just over that way, the Teign Gorge is below us
Castle Drogo peeps out of the trees on the right. The Castle itself is fenced off currently for some reason. It has been closed for years now to repair the roof and now it looks like they need to do some work around the castle. Drogo is the youngest castle in England
Hameldown is right at the back left with lots of other tors and hills to its right. Chagford village is on the right of the photo
Hunters Tor zoomed in. I was only using my phone on all these photos so they aren’t great. Kes Tor is the pimple sticking up in the distance
Sharp Tor and a full canopy of trees in the Teign Gorge
Teign Gorge looking in the direction of Hunters Tor
Now I got lucky with this one. This is a High Brown Fritillary, which is apparently the rarest butterfly in our lands. It has a decent stronghold still down on Dartmoor so I will keep an eye out for it.
This is Knightshayes and our 3rd National Trust property in 3 days, told you my card was getting a tanning
Not sure the folk of Knightshayes had this in mind when they built these banks, but after doing rolly pollies, both forwards and horizontally down the bank, all that is left is the slide, face first!!!
It was a fine race, which they adapted to have youngsters on their backs like a combination of horse racing and bank sliding. One pair even had a long stick and used it like a canoe. This is what happens when the cousins get together and probably my best memory of the week
Finally we headed to Paignton Zoo to see the animals
And some rather fine Lego models of the animals. Tens of thousands of bricks in this elephant
The tiger was stunning and huge. Hundreds of hours of work went into this which provided a bit extra alongside the animals and a well organised one way system and distancing effort. A good week but not quite as much of the banter, fun and play you get with meeting up with the family.