We were in North Devon this week for a couple of days in the seaside resort of Ilfracombe.
Beautiful Exmoor tumbles into the Bristol Channel along the North Devon coastline and the jumble of houses and hotels in this pretty Victorian seaside town cling like limpets to the jumble of ragged crags where the land meets the restless Atlantic.
The drive home along the coast road was breathtaking, winding along the cliff-tops and up and down the rolling Devon hills. We passed Lynmouth, scene of the terrible flood of August 15th 1952. After continuous rain throughout the day, the East and West Lyn rivers rose suddenly and filled with the waters from the Exmoor catchment. Large boulders and rocks were carried in the flow towards the village, destroying houses, roads and bridges. Many lost their lives during that dark and terrifying night.
Between Lynmouth and Porlock, the road sweeps over the high cliff-top moors and you can often come across little herds of Exmoor ponies as we did yesterday. One of the world's oldest breeds, the Exmoor Pony has been preserved unchanged on Exmoor for centuries. This means that unlike most horses and ponies, they are all very alike. They are extremely hardy and are unworried by the most severe winter weather. They are charming and intelligent. They are strong and can easily carry an adult for a days riding but can show amazingunderstanding and sensitivity in the hands of a child. Sure-footed over any terrain, they are often described as the ultimate 4 x 4!
I came across the most wonderful trees that were coated in a rich, green moss hidden in a little wooded gulley beside the Porlock Hill toll road junction. It's said that moss on a tree is often an indicator of direction. In the northern hemisphere, the northern side of the trunk is more shadowy and therefore damp. Dampness favours the growth of mosses. The southern side of the same trunk is sunnier and drier and therefore has less moss.
All photos taken with a Lumix G3.