2020, what a strange old year! unfortunately my wife Jayne & I had to cancel a long planned trip to south America due to lockdown & a subsequent drop in finances so we looked closer to home for a holiday, or staycation ,as they have come to be known. My initial thoughts were to venture forth to the highlands of Scotland but Jayne suggested we try Devon or Cornwall, an area I knew little about but after a bit of research I found what looked like the perfect location to visit both counties, Ivy leaf hill, Stratton.
Close to the A39 and only a couple of miles from Bude it’s a great base to start exploring the area for hidden gems. Ivy leaf combe lodges were our home for a few days and the local walks to the river Neet and beyond were spectacular. Not far away on the outskirts of the town is the beautiful Bude marshes nature reserve, possibly Cornwall’s best kept secret, here you can walk along the Bude canal and into the marsh area where it’s possible to spot otters, Kingfishers and a large assortment of wildlife. This area is wheelchair accessible and free, an ideal place for a picnic & as Bude is known as the sunniest area in Britain you stand a high chance of fine weather.
From here we walked back into the town to visit the famous Bude sea pool, a semi natural tidal swimming pool on Summerleaze beach, this is a brilliant place to swim in relative safety and was surprisingly warm. This is yet another free attraction, though there is a donation box to help with the upkeep of the lido.
Time for a spot of lunch & this is where it becomes difficult for me, I will eat pretty much anything and that is the issue, in Bude you can get pretty much anything, ranging from sandwiches to 5* restaurant meals, with a good smattering of chip shops thrown in for good measure. We had though heard of the Cornish pie company on Belle Vue so we took a wander there to sample their offerings, if you’re in Cornwall, you have to have a pasty & we were not disappointed, they were brilliant,
something to do with the crimping… apparently!, though I was more interested in the filling. They also have a great vegan range in the shop for those that choose that option.
Our next port of call was the Hawkers hut in Morwenston near Higher Sharp Nose point, originally built by the poet Robert Hawker in the mid 1800’s, it nestles in the side of the cliffs and is constructed of flotsam and jetsam collected from the beach, it is incidentally the smallest property owned by the national trust. It is quite a fascinating little place & made me ponder what stories it could tell.
After spending time walking the beach and visiting coves that wouldn’t look out of place in the mediterranean we headed back to Combe lodges to chill and watch the sunset.
Up bright and early the following morning we decided to leave the car and catch the bus across the county border with Devon to Clovelly, a little village with no access for cars that seems to teeter on the edge of a rift in the cliffs. It is completely pedestrianised with a very steep cobbled street with donkeys to convey people around, if you so choose. We decided to walk and it indeed very steep but the views were amazing and the village incredibly beautiful, so was the £7 entrance fee worth it? I think so, we spent hours walking around and chilling out in the sunshine before walking back up to the bus stop for the return to Bude. We did find out that there is normally a land Rover that ferries people back up the hill (so much for complete pedestrianisation) though it’s not currently running.
I could talk forever about this area and the beautiful coastline, awesome villages and fantastic food but this would turn into a guide book. I will though say, while you are in this region of Cornwall I would suggest using Bude as your jump off point to tour the area & if you can, visit possibly my favourite village, Boscastle, the scene of a terrible flood in 2004 that devastated the place, it has all been restored since and is the perfect place to sit on the cliffs spotting seals and occasionally sighting basking sharks cruising past on their migration. The options of places to see in north east Cornwall are limited only by the amount of time you can spend there, only one hour by car from the Eden project there are countless places to visit en route.