Day 40: Budleigh Salterton to Topsham – Scarecrow & Commando

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Devon - South, England
Toffee Nosed, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

Toffee Nosed, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

‘Snow on Dartmoor, Sledges in Shop’ a chalk sign proclaims in Budleigh. There’s no snow here but plenty of mud on the winding path up and down the red cliffs. “It’s like skiing isn’t it!” I say to a fellow slip and slider “It’s like glissading” he corrects me.

Benches, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

Benches, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

East Devon Golf Club, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

East Devon Golf Club, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

Scarecrow, West Down Farm, Devon.

Scarecrow, West Down Farm, Devon.

Devon Cliffs Holiday Park.

Devon Cliffs Holiday Park.

On passing a notice welcoming me to the ‘East Devon Area of Natural Beauty’ a hail of gun fire patters urgently from Straight Point range. This must make a strange sonic accompaniment for the holidaymakers in the vast Holiday Park.

The Floors, Devon.

The Floors, Devon.

The Geoneedle at Orcombe Point by Michael Fairfax, Exmouth, Devon.

The Geoneedle at Orcombe Point by Michael Fairfax, Exmouth, Devon.

The rock here is the oldest part of the Jurassic Coast, 250 million years before the dinosaurs. This epic journey through time is celebrated in the Geoneedle, a monument that stacks the ancient stones of the Jurassic Coast so you can pass your hand over the millennia.

Orcombe Point sandstone, Devon.

Orcombe Point sandstone, Devon.

Iron Oxide, steel & sandstone, Orcombe Point, Devon.

Iron Oxide, steel & sandstone, Orcombe Point, Devon.

Shore line at Orcombe Point, Devon.

Shore line at Orcombe Point, Devon.

Colour coding (Beach Huts), Exmouth, Devon.

Colour coding (Beach Huts), Exmouth, Devon.

The long beach at Exmouth is a prime location for that most beloved of British activities: sitting in one’s car and staring at the sea expressionlessly. Many elderly and not so elderly couples sit, some with china mugs steaming up the windows. Others read the paper, many women sit alone in their car texting – nobody looks happy.

Lympstone Harbour, Devon.

Lympstone Harbour, Devon.

As the Jurassic Coast draws to an end the English Riviera begins. As has been the case throughout this journey one alluring sounding location delightfully follows the next.

But first I need to follow the River Exe to the first footbridge near Exeter. The path passes the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, the extensive ‘Bottom Field Assault Course’ looks like a monument to pain in brick and scaffolding. Due to their camouflage I only notice a group of Marines sitting like an incognito art class at the last minute. They are all studiously drawing while looking over the Exe with binoculars as an instructor intermittently issues instructions in a low voice.

Bowling Green Marsh Nature Reserve, Devon.

Bowling Green Marsh Nature Reserve, Devon.

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British Architectural & Landscape Photographer.

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