Archive for the ‘Devon’ Category

One morning Sue and I went to Bude Marshes, an area of marsh and reed-beds on the edge of the town of Bude in North Cornwall. This nature reserve is Bordered on one side by Bude canal and on the other by a river.

A Cetti’s Warbler was calling stridently from the reed-bed and we had a brief view of a Kingfisher as it flashed past. 2 Chiffchaffs were also seen, this once summer visitor is now increasingly overwintering, especially in the Southaven’s and south-west. Apart from these sightings, the most striking sighting was the flock of over 300 Canada geese present on the canal.

In the afternoon we went to Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre, a rather eclectic collection of animals in a beautiful valley setting. Its free-roaming Fallow Deer (a native species) and Wallabies (not a native species although there was once a feral population in Derbyshire) are semi-tame and some will approach you for food.

There are a number of European Otters at the centre. The centre was a breeding colony during the 20 year reintroduction programme (which ended around 2000) and now houses captive bred and rescued Otters. The centre also has Asian short-clawed otters, which unlike European otters live in family groups – the largest family in the centre has 17 members.

Day 5: Our location today was the RSPB reserve at Bowling Green Marsh, just outside Exeter in Devon. The reserve sits at the confluence of two rivers, the River Exe and the River Clyst.

There were around 500 Black-tailed Godwits and 100 Eurasian Teal on the scrape with smaller numbers of Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and Pintail. Sue spotted a Common Sandpiper on one of the islands and a Marsh Harrier over the Reed-bed. Also present were Grey Heron and Little Egret. Walking back to the car along the River Exe, we saw more Black-tailed Godwits and a couple of Eurasian Curlew feeding along the mudflats.

Black-tailed Godwits
Eurasian Curlew
Common Sandpiper

This monument to Sir Francis Drake, Elizabethan explorer, privateer, slave-trader and naval Admiral can be found on Plymouth Hoo.

In a story, which may be apocryphal, it is recorded that Drake received the news of the approaching Spanish invasion fleet, the Armarda, whilst playing bowls on the Hoo. He is reported to have told his companions that there was plenty of time to finish their game and still beat the Spaniards too. A combination of the English navies tactics and the weather conspired to force the fleet to sail north up the English coast and around Scotland in order to escape. More than a third of the fleet of 130 ships never made it back to Spain.

Statues and Monuments: The Anchor

Posted: August 6, 2019 in Devon, History, UK
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The Anchor from HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier was presented by the Royal Navy to the City of Plymouth in April 1980

Statues and Monuments: The Messenger

Posted: August 2, 2019 in Devon, UK
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The Messenger is a large bronze statue of a crouching woman which stands outside The Theatre Royal in Plymouth. It is by the Cornish sculptor Joseph Hillier.

It is based on an actress in the play Orthello, which Hillier observed when attending a rehearsal at the theatre. Others have been less kind dubbing it as a skateboarder, a surfer or even a female sumo wrestler.

The National Maritime Aquarium in Plymouth is based around 3 large tanks. The first depicts the coastal region off the British coast, the second the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the third which contains sharks. In addition, there are a number of other displays of sea-life from around the world.

Around the Sound

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Devon, UK
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The harbour trip around Plymouth’s harbours leaves from Sutton Harbour near to the place from where the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to the new world in 1620 in the ship Mayflower, where they founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Sutton Harbour
The Citadel

Making our way past the Hoo, where Frances Drake is reputed to have been playing bowls in 1588 when he heard that the Spanish Armada fleet was approaching England.

Crossing Plymouth Sound, a large natural harbour, we first pass the Old Dockyard and Provisioning centre, which has now been converted to residential and business use.

We then pass the current Naval Harbour with ships being maintained or awaiting decommissioning.

Travelling back across the sound there are views of HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the two new Aircraft Carriers in the Royal Navy, which is moored outside the harbour.

The entrance to the Royal Citadel

Just outside the entrance to the Royal Citadel at Plymouth Hoo stands the memorial to 29 Commando Royal Artillery, who are based at the Citadel. It was unveiled in 2011 and commemorates the men of 29 Commando who have died in service since the regiment was formed in 1962.

St Martin, Exeter

Posted: March 27, 2019 in Devon, History, Medieval History, UK
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The site of an ancient church in the Cathedral Close, most of the current church dates to the 15th century. Its furnishings reflect the 17th and 18th-century low-church tradition.

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St Stephen, Exeter

Posted: March 25, 2019 in Devon, History, UK
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This church on the High Street was founded in Anglo-Saxon times but has been remodelled over the centuries, the latest being in 2012 when the church interior was redesigned to enable it to function as a space for community activities as well as church services