Walking With Bailey - Portbridge to the Church House Inn Stoke Gabriel Devon
We’ve started our dog walk at Portbridge, a place steeped in history yet still remarkably looking as it must have done centuries ago, back in the days wheeled ploughs and iron bar currency. We’ve turned left by the Old Forge Cottage onto Byter Mill Lane which was originally a stony track and to be honest still looks as though it’s seen better days. We're heading to Byter Mill, the last mill standing in Stoke Gabriel which, in conjunction with the long gone Tidal Mill on the quay, used to deal with all the flour and corn products used in the villages and farms in the area - whether it was for animal or human consumption. It’s a very picturesque spot and exceptionally noisy as fresh water rapidly tumbles down towards the Mill Pool.
I’ve kept Bailey on her lead along here as it is more of a walking route than an ‘off the lead’ adventure. We venture on, and to our left is the start of the Mill Pool and to our right a varied selection of private properties. At the end of the lane there are several route options – heading left depends on the tide, but is great for dog as the path leads you around to under-shore where you can walk on towards Mill Point. Right lets you nip up through the gate to an apple orchard, which is just in front of Stoke Gabriel Church with its infamous 1,000 year old Yew tree, the original old School House and the Church House Inn. The Inn was once used to accommodate the masons who constructed the church and also served as a courthouse, complete with back bar, inglenook fire place and old village tales aplenty. Bailey obviously decided this was the best idea, although she wasn’t allowed in the children’s play-area - much to her dismay as it seemed ok for a ginger and white cat...
After a short stay in the stocks outside the pub (photoshoot opportunity not to be missed) we carried on past the Post Office and onto the War Memorial. At this point we went up the steps and turned right, then left onto a road called Broad Path. It was lovely to walk along there, bringing back happy memories of sledging down one of the very steep fields (now home to five Alpacas) which Bailey would have loved! This road took us past another orchard, a cider farm outlet, an old garden centre and the sloping field where Stoke Gabriel Football Club used to play. Turning right we were back on the road to Portbridge and time to head home for a nice pint...of water.