September 26, 2016

England's West Country

One of the many places I’ve dreamed of visiting is Cornwall and this summer my dream became reality. After two days in London we departed for the West Country, the southwestern region of England that includes the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. The first day of our week-long tour took us to the city of Wells and Dartmoor National Park.


Dartmoor National Park


We were travelling on the popular Corners of Cornwall tour with Back-Roads Touring, a British company that specializes in small group travel. A short while after hitting the open road we drove past the prehistoric stone circle, Stonehenge.



Stonehenge


The first stop on our itinerary was Wells, the smallest city in England. This historic town in the county of Somerset has the earliest English cathedral to be built in the Gothic style.


Wells Cathedral


The medieval Bishop’s Palace with its drawbridge and moat is the residence of the Bishops of Bath and Wells.


Bishop's Palace, Wells

Bishop's Palace Moat




Vicars’ Close is thought to be the only complete medieval street in Europe. These homes have been continually occupied for 700 years.


Vicars' Close, Wells


Three ancient springs (wella in Anglo-Saxon) gave the city of Wells its name. One spring is located in the Market Place and its waters flow down a narrow channel along High Street. The other two springs bubble up in the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace.


Wells Market Place Fountain

Wells High Street

Water Channel along High Street


Our final destination for the day was Dartmoor National Park in the moorlands of Devon. The rugged, open terrain is dotted with granite tors, outcroppings of rock. A chill wind swept the hilltop when we got off the coach but the wild Dartmoor ponies grazing at the roadside paid us no mind.


The Moors of Dartmoor National Park

Granite Tor

Paragliding in Dartmoor National Park

Wild Dartmoor Ponies


We made a brief rest stop in the village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. The village church, Saint Pancras, is known as the ‘Cathedral of the Moor’.


Village Sign

Saint Pancras Church, Widecombe-in-the-Moor




Our hotel for the night was Two Bridges, where Wallis Simpson and Winston Churchill are said to have been guests (but not together). This traditional country inn was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle we’d left behind in London. We joined the members of our tour group for a pre-dinner drink in the lobby and then sat down to a delicious meal prepared by the hotel’s chef.


Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor National Park




I slept well that night in the heart of the moors, dreaming of a hearty English breakfast and our morning visit to the Cornish coastal village of Port Isaac.


2 comments:

  1. I am so envious that you got to Port Isaac . I look forward to that post. BTW - 'but not together' - love it.

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  2. Thanks, Denise. I loved Port Isaac.

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