The first trip out of Cornwall this year was a treat in more ways than one when we ventured into the neighbouring county of Devon. Mr Word Loft and I met up with my sister and brother-in-law to explore part of Drake’s Trail, and to catch up with normal day-to-day chit chat. Messages, phone, and video calls are all well and good, but nothing beats spontaneous conversation when with someone, and we talked a lot while we walked.

With the sun beaming down and a chilly breeze keeping us cool, we strode along the route from Yelverton to Tavistock.

At the start, the path is steep and downhill but firm and wide enough to keep a distance from other folks. Sheep with lambs along the way gazed on at the edges and then skipped off as we passed, especially if cyclists whirred by, tinkling bells to warn pedestrians of their approach.

The way is well signposted and we noticed that Horrabridge has much to investigate, including historical buildings, bridges, and when spawning, salmon leap up River Walkham’s weir. Bearing all this in mind, I made a mental note to visit the old copper mining village another day.

Carrying on to Tavistock, there are more bridges, and I was particularly impressed with the view to distant tors and the river running below the Magpie viaduct.

The modern and elegant Gem Bridge, further along, replaced the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Victorian viaduct. Its name sounds whimsical but comes from the Little Gem copper mine which operated in the 19th century. At the Tavistock end, there are stones and masonry left from the bygone era, ideal for resting on, and a time capsule is buried there to commemorate the bridge’s completion in 2012. We also discovered an extraordinarily long roped swing through a gate into woodland close-by, where our inner child became evident and we took turns to clamber on and swung back and forth to guffaws of laughter.

It was good to feel the coolness of Grenofen Tunnel soon after, its arched stone ceiling dripping with water where in some places, small stalactites hang down above scenes so different to when trains rushed through before it closed to transport services over fifty years ago.

At lunchtime, thoughts of the takeaway ordered at Black Sheep Brew motivated us and we soon reached the ancient stannary town. From an important part of Devon’s recreational network, we trudged through a park and located the food outlet on Pepper Street. The sandwiches and wraps were delicious but huge. All the better enjoyed sitting in spacious gardens of the parish church just off of Tavistock market square. Thankfully, the next time we visit, the shops will be open and the area busy again, but it was pleasant appreciating the peaceful ambience just once more.

Until next time.
Sue. X