The last May bank holiday weekend was our first trip away in our VW camper van for the season, and as soon as we got back in it, we remembered all the things we meant to fix over the winter – including the sliding door! Anyway, we picked Devon as our road trip journey and destination and for three nights off we went exploring….
Our first stop was at Dartmoor National Park as we’d intended to walk to Foggintor Quarry on a previous Dartmoor day-trip, but hadn’t yet made it there. We had a very slow, lazy morning, and then parked a little nearer before we walked about a mile down a very rubbly track. Chris was carrying all his photography gear on his back, and I had all the clothes and accessories for a few photoshoots to do while we were there. It’s a pleasant level walk surrounded by several cute lambs running after their mothers, and wide open vistas of Dartmoor. As you approach the ruins of a stone building, you turn left off the track and the rocks part to reveal a beautiful lake in the disused quarry. My photo does not do it justice at all and I’d really wished I’d packed a polariser to take the glare off the water, but never mind.
Whilst there I climbed over the rocks by the shore to take photos of the bohemian-style dress I was wearing for a fashion blog post. Then we went back to the ruins and I changed into a lilac and grey special-occasion dress I’d made for Threads of a Fairytale, donned a tiara, set up a flash unit and did a photo-shoot there. We also went down to a very pretty grove of gnarly hawthorn trees that made a great fairytale background, then scrambled back up to eat our picnic lunch.
Another change of clothes, another photoshoot for When I Grow Up fashion blog pages, and back to the camper. After studying the National Trust handbook for their Devon beaches, we drove along some very narrow lanes to get to South Milton Sands. It was a lovely quiet bay with very few people, but the tide was in and the sand a bit gravelly, so we just wondered on and off – it was nice to stretch our legs again, but sadly the (cute but trendy) cafe didn’t serve anything we fancied to we went on our way. Just as we were leaving the area though, we spotted this gorgeous ruined church, covered in pink flowers growing from every nook and cranny. We screeched the camper van to a halt so we could have a look. Plans immediately altered and I climbed into the back to change into my second Threads of a Fairytale dress as we decided to do the photoshoot for that outfit there and then.
We were worried that we’d left it too late to find anywhere to feed us, but we headed to Salcombe (having no luck at a pub restaurant on the way) and luckily we ducked into a little pirate-themed cafe/restaurant that was luckily still serving food even though it was now past 9:30pm. We had a very nice dinner there, had a little wonder through the town and then off to Bigbury Beach for the night.
Our intention had been that Sunday would be our beach day, but we awoke to high cold winds and grey skies, so instead we went to Saltram National Trust house for a look around there. There were several rooms open, but it wasn’t my favourite National Trust stately home in the world – it was decorated with a bit too much gild and gold for my taste. However I had a little wander round the landscaped gardens and took some flower photos and several of a very obliging squirrel, while Chris had a nap in a deckchair. Then, although we had to move the table further under the shelter of a massive tree to protect us from a light shower, we enjoyed a very nice hot chocolate and brownie outside the tearoom orangery.
Again we used the National Trust handbook as our guide, and as we headed back inland, this time we found a beautiful river walk on the outskirts of Dartmoor. It was so pretty there, we took more outfit photos for the blog, and will no doubt return as it made a lovely photoshoot location. We walked for about and hour and a half, including quite a bit uphill, so we felt we deserved our pub dinner!
As the sun began to set we parked up the camper van at a disused airfield where sheep and ponies (including some very cute foals) roamed and there was always the sound of bees in the blossom. The following morning after the wind gushed up the hill, hawthorn confetti covered the grass.
On our final day our only stop was at Killerton – another National Trust property (seriously, they should sponsor me!), however there were only a handful of rooms open downstairs, and all of upstairs was just a historical fashion exhibition – which was interesting to me considering my enthusiasm for fashion, but it wasn’t great, and a lot of people might find it boring. Also, their restaurant had stopped serving lunch and their tearoom had run out of scones, which, considering I was very hungry, might have left me with an overall displeasure with Killerton!
The grounds were beautiful with plenty of wild flower areas and late rhododendrons still blooming, but there weren’t really gardens to look around. We had a little walk, but decided to get on our way home and returned to the camper relatively quickly. It was a shame there wasn’t more to see as it was our only attraction for the day. Never mind, we had a successful journey home ie. we drove the whole way by ourselves and didn’t need the assistance of a rescue truck, so that’s a bonus! And overall it was a lovely, and much needed break away. We’ll definitely return to the south of Devon and do more exploring of that area soon.
Please let me know if you have any recommendations for other places to visit in Devon ready for our next camper van trip! Thank you!