The travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic of 2020 made me appreciate more the places nearer home that have been taken for granted. This frame of mind prompted me to turn the annual visit to Devon, where my partner comes from, from a perfunctory stay to a more interesting break. This year I discovered a gem of stately home and rediscovered an old favourite
The Lamb Inn
Last year we based ourselves in Barnstaple in north Devon. This year, we stayed in a quaint village pub in mid Devon.
The choice of The Lamb Inn was rather random. It’s a 16th Century former Posting House in the quiet village in Sandford. I was swayed by the fact that it had won accolades such as “the best pub in Devon” and one of the “Best 20 British country pubs”.
By and large this quaint country pub lived up to my expectations except for the fact that not only was there no on-site parking but off street parking spaces were pretty scarce too. Still, I don’t suppose they had parking problems for horses and carts in the 16th century!
Sandford is a couple of miles from the market town Crediton. It’s an archetypal Devonshire village surrounded by rolling hills with pretty cottages.
Powderham Castle, Exeter
In the years that I have visited Devon, Powderham Castle was never on my radar, probably because it’s not owned by National Trust of which I am a member.
This remarkable 600-years-old stately home has been in the Courtenay family in its entire history. It is still the home of the 19th Earl & Countess of Devon
There’s nothing as pretty as an English Garden in summer. Rose Garden at the back of the castle was a marvellous sight to behold on a sunny June day when roses were in full bloom, providing a perfect foreground for the vista of River Exe in a distance
There’s a rather long walk from the castle to the far side of the grounds consisting of American Garden, Secret Garden, Pavilion and the ultimate challenge, Belvedere.
American Garden was large and shady but nothing interesting. It’s perhaps useful for a picnic on a really hot summer day.
We found the pavilion which was under renovation, but could be a really relaxing place when finished.
We rose to the challenge of taking the “worthwhile climb” to Belvedere. It was a rather steep slope to negotiate but the reward was finding this imposing folly towering over a fantastic view of River Exe!
Afterwards we had a well-earned al fresco lunch at Courtyard Café on the side of the castle.
Then we had a leisurely browse in the interiors of the castle with some majestic features:
Like the spectacular main staircase with its elaborate plasterwork and the impressive dining hall…
….. The subtle grandeur of the library with its secret door disguised with leather-bound book spine as part of the bookcase.
What a perfect day out!
RHS Garden Rosemoor – Great Torrington
It must have been over ten years since I was last at Rosemoor to have lunch with friends at the restaurant there. This time we set aside a whole afternoon to enjoy the garden
There’s something quintessentially English about a rose garden. A blossoming rose garden is an arresting sight and it’s hard not to be smitten by its charms!
The striking display of flowers and shrubs is like like a bevy of hopefuls at a beauty pageant vying for attention ….
Elsewhere at Rosemoor there’s the lake and plenty of peaceful grounds for a relaxing stroll. Quite mesmerising!
Finally, no visit is complete without my being captured on the scenes!!