North Devon – Hartland’s Hanging Valleys

Well here goes with the second part of my North Devon trip.  If you missed the first part “Rocky Ramparts and Beautiful Beaches” you may care to take a look at that before continuing.
 
On my way to the second base of the trip on the Hartland Peninsula, I stopped off to visit Peppercombe Beach which is approached down a steep path through a picturesque wooded valley.  It leads to the impressive cliffs which are carved from red Triassic stone and which provides vantage points from which to view the grand sweep of the coastline to the east and the westward arc to Hartland Point which I will visit next.
 

Peppercombe

The Hartland Peninsula forms part of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere.  Biosphere Reserves are places with world-class environments designated by the United Nations to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature.  North Devon is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of its blend of special landscapes and wildlife areas, rich cultural heritage and communities that care about it and want to sustain it into the future.
 
From my forward planning, it seems that the coastline from Hartland Point southwards would provide the most photo opportunities so I decided to head there first.  From Hartland village, I headed out onto the coast via Exmansworthy and along the coastal path to Hartland Point.  Although there were magnificent views along this stretch of coast the majority of the beaches are inaccessible from the high cliffs.  Feeling slightly disappointed my spirits were lifted after arriving at the Point and the wonderful view beyond to Lundy – seen centrally in the far distance below.
 

Hartland Point

The 325-foot high rocky outcrop on the northwestern tip of the Devon coast marks the western limit, on the English side, of the Bristol Channel with the Atlantic Ocean continuing to the west.  This location was known to the Romans as the “Promontory of Hercules”.  The lighthouse was built in 1874 under the direction of Sir James Douglass but today there is no public access due to problems with the access road.
 
Beyond the Point is the start of the hanging valleys and waterfalls.  By now it was lunchtime and despite the glorious weather trying to find a suitable sheltered spot for my packed lunch was proving rather difficult.  I then came across a piece of land which provided the shelter but was precariously separating itself from the mainland but needs must in the circumstances.  Suitably refreshed I set off again and within a few yards came across the first waterfall in a lovely sheltered spot – pity I hadn’t noticed it before.
 

Titchberry Waterfall

I have not been able to find the name of this fall but seeing as it is the seaward termination of Titchberry Water which starts live near Exmansworthy I have named it Titchberry Waterfall – very original and no doubt if anyone knows the correct name they will let me know.
 
Although there are other waterfalls and hanging valleys before reaching Hartland Quay, just beyond is the most impressive and possibly the finest in the South West at Speke’s Mill Mouth where Milford Waters enters the sea and falls to the shore down five waterfalls, of which the first at 50 feet is the highest and most famous.  It must be because this time it does have a name – Speke’s Mill Waterfall.  Not the easiest location to get the right point of view but I am reasonably satisfied with the result – hope you agree.
 

Speake’s Mill Waterfall

The beach at Speke’s Mill Mouth is also worth risking the rather precarious trip down over the rickety steps and slick rock face.  The tide was coming in whilst I was there and boy did it come quickly as you can see from the image below and yes I did get caught with wet feet.  Still, it was worth it.
 

Speake’s Mill Mouth

The following day’s main objective was to photograph Blackchurch Rock on the northern coast of the Peninsula at Mouth Mill near Clovelly.  One of the better-known landscape features in the area best visited at low tide so the full extent of its imposing and spectacular formation can be appreciated, it has been created by the ravages of nature and the perpetual action of the waves.  I was hoping that I would be able to just continue the walk into Clovelly village but unless I was mistaken access only seemed to be allowed from the Visitors Centre by paying a fee and then being transported down by Land Rover.  Not that I object to paying a fee but getting transported with lots of other tourists was not my ideal way of spending the rest of the day.  Still, I got to Mouth Mill at low tide and after scrambling over the boulder covered beach managed to capture the Rock.
 

Blackchurch Rock

The final day of the trip was spent around the Devon/Cornwall county boundary taking in Marsland Mouth and Welcombe Mouth.  The stream at Marsland Mouth forms the boundary but Welcombe Mouth is one of Devon’s hidden coastal gems.  With the wave cut platforms and folded rocks of the beach and cliffs facing the full might of the Atlantic Ocean and a wild, rugged and unspoilt valley behind, it is all too easy to imagine it as the haunt of smugglers and wreckers in years gone by.
 

Welcombe Mouth

So another photo trip comes to an end and I hope you have enjoyed sharing it with me.  Planning for my next trip is already well underway but any suggestions of locations that you feel may be of interest to me are always welcome. Just contact me.
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