Pick yourself a south Devon cottage near Burgh Island, don the walking boots and woolly hats before striding out across the clifftops...
‘Where Avon’s Waters with the sea are mixed, Saint Michael firmly on a rock is fixed.’
(Camden C 1610)
It goes without saying really; this gorgeous place is breathtaking from the moment you catch the first glimpse of it from the top of the winding hill that leads you down to a very spacious car park. Below this, a vast spread of golden sand entices you to kick off your shoes and socks; check out the rock pools, and indulge in a delicious ice cream. If the tide’s out you can walk across to Burgh Island, frequent the Pilchard Inn which was built in 1336 and once a watering hole for smugglers, pirates - and Bailey, who as you know is rather fond of treasure hunting! Take a wander around, picking up some interesting facts about Bigbury Bay while you're there; the life and times of a Huer, and the pilchard packers. Remember though, it is tidal! If you do find yourself surrounded by seawater, there’s a very nifty sea tractor that will taxi you back to the mainland for a small charge.
Many years ago you were allowed to walk anywhere on the Island, but the current owners have made some restrictions and constructed several permissible pathways on the lower and higher vestiges; all with stunning views. Dogs are allowed and welcome if well behaved and kept on a lead.
It’s a beautiful, warm and sunny day in October; children are splashing through the puddles, yachts are sailing across a sparkling blue sea, Bailey’s trying to chase a seagull and runs out of breath, and I have decided to sit on a rock and observe the scenery. One lady, who has just walked back from the island, walks past us, laughs and says, “I’ve just tripped over a sand-castle!” How many pilchards had she been eating...?
Once we’ve had some refreshment, it’s time to set off on another walk. There’s several estuary walks to choose from; all of them with stunning views and a bit of a climb, but we head back up the hill where, just to the right of some car-parking spaces, there is a shrubby coastal path which leads you to the River Avon and back (three miles in total). We meandered (Bailey wasn’t quite sure what a meander was and wanted to eat one) through a wooded area and past an old boat house, which lead us down to the beach at Cockleridge Point, eventually reaching the point where the ferry goes from (summer only) and the River Avon. Fantastic!
This walk was brought to you by Bailey the dog and Brenda his walker.