From: Okehampton, Devon
To: Tinhay, Devon
Distance: 16.4 miles / 26.4 km
Total distance so far: 994.3 miles / 1,600 km
Date: 22 June 2021
I’d planned to cross the border into Cornwall today, but instead I’m still in Devon, camped at a site just three miles away from the Tamar, the river that marks the dividing line between England’s two westernmost counties. There was a distinct lack of campsites or B&Bs available in Launceston, the Cornish town I’d originally been heading for, and I’m pleased it worked out this way – Tinhay Retreat is a gem of a place. It’s got the calmness you’d expect of a place with the word ‘retreat’ in its name – and a lovely hot shower in a converted horse box. Originality AND calm – I need nothing more, at least not this evening!
I’d spent the first five miles or so of my day on the northwest borders of Dartmoor, following the Granite Way cycle track alongside the old railway line to Meldon, where the former railway viaduct offers up fabulous views of the moor. I came off the route at Sourton, a tiny place which managed to offer up a pretty church with an unexpected, and very low level, labyrinth right next to it, and the most extraordinary looking entrance to a now, apparently closed, pub. I deeply regret not having the opportunity to walk through those (stagecoach) doors, especially as the rest if the day – save for a snack stop in Bridestow – was a pretty dull amble along country lanes.
I couldn’t write up my final full day in Devon without giving its ferns a shoutout. We’ve previously had a difficult relationship, after a 17th birthday that involved getting pretty lost in them on my Duke of Edinburgh Award Silver Expedition, but after the nettles of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Somerset, they have been a delight, framing the narrow country lanes and footpaths with their fronds, showing off the morning dew to full artistic effect, and having the good grace not to sting me in the Way their pesky nettle-y friends do. The fern and I are reconciled; I may even buy one as a houseplant once I’m back in London.