Spring develops a little earlier down here in the South West, and following a mild winter the countryside is splashed with yellow daffodils and sprinkled with dots of primroses. There may still be a chill in the air around February but the sparkle of frost covered hilltops and the twinkle of winter sun on the sea encourage the effort of a long walk. It’s a good time of year for exploring without the crowds, invigorating moorland hikes with the West Country wind in your hair, or wandering romantic trails of snowdrop covered woodland before hunkering down in front of an open fire with a glass of wine for a Valentines break.
There is a lot of coastline to discover and even though Saint Valentine’s Day falls during February half term, it won’t be hard to find an empty beach to sit and listen to the waves breaking. Or after dinner take a moonlit stroll along the sand dunes. Wherever you choose to go, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset or Dorset, you are never too far away from the sea so there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Sandy, pebbly, remote or in a town. If it’s just the two of you there is many a secluded cove to huddle in. If you’ve brought the family, there are wide open spaces a-plenty to let the brood run free. Even if you’d prefer not to venture outside, a holiday cottage by the sea will provide a view worth watching the sun set over.
How about embracing the wilds of West Country moorlands. It’s the stuff novels are made of. Rolling countryside, hilltop panoramic views and horizons disappearing in to the mist. Forget the Beast of Bodmin and think Black Beauty with pony treks for the family, or galloping steeds with which to rescue a fair maiden. Stay in a holiday cottage on Dartmoor to truly appreciate why Steven Spielberg described the landscape as ‘an abundance of natural beauty…and visual opportunities’, having filmed more than expected on location there during the making of his latest film, ‘War Horse’.