Saturday, August 10, 2013

A little jaunt down to Devon...

The Other Half's parents are very lucky to have friends who own a holiday lodge on a campsite down in North Devon, about 10 minutes drive from Ilfracombe. Last year we went with them for a few days away and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This year they let us go on our own!  It is the first time just the three of us - Roo, daddy and me - have been away together on holiday and although four days may not seem like much if you are used to two weeks in the sun every year, to us it was enough of a break away from the normal routine to return feeling refreshed and (almost) ready to get back to work...

The weather wasn't too unkind - hot sunshine the first day, warm and breezy on Friday and Saturday and then non-stop, pretty epic rain on Sunday (and Monday when we were trying to pack up the car!).
I couldn't get a decent wi-fi signal on my laptop and mobile signal was a bit touch and go too so, apart from a couple of checking in phone calls to the OH's mum who was looking after the shop, we did actually manage to stay away from work for the whole time we were away (no mean feat when you are self employed!).

Here are a few photos of our holiday. It's a beautiful area to stay. I just wish we could stay a little longer...

Ilfracombe Tunnels Beach and Harbour

Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe

surfs up!

Back through the tunnels...
Ilfracombe harbour
The controversial Damien Hirst sculpture 'Verity' stands guard at the entrance of Ilfracombe Harbour. Viewed from the landward side she is a very naked, very pregnant woman, standing on a pile of legal tomes with sword aloft in her left hand and scales of justice held in her right. On the seaward side her skin is pared back to reveal the anatomical details - including baby in womb. She is said to represent truth and justice. There was quite an uproar when the statue was first installed (as there usually is surrounding most of Hirst's work). Whilst I'm not too sure about the anatomical side I think from this angle she is quite stunning...

Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park

Wallaby welcoming committee
dinosaur walk through suitably primeval forest...
Spider monkey - so cute!
'you lookin' at me?' Marmoset with attitude...
raccoon feeding time!
beautiful Hudson Bay white wolf

grey wolf enclosure
One of the bonus attractions...
Roo particularly enjoyed the Dinosaur Show exhibit where an enclosure of life size dinosaur models, including a fearsome T-rex, comes to life every hour, on the hour. Right next door was a very clever parrot that is also a master mimic. He happily chirped, wolf whistled, did mobile phone ring tones and the most convincing seagull impression for his audience.

The highlight for me, apart from the wolves, which were simply magnificent, were the otters.
When we first arrived at their enclosure we could only see two of them on the far side of the river but they quickly spotted us watching them and trotted over, joined by the rest of the clan, and entertained us with their playfulness and adorable squeaks and cat-like meows for a good 15 mins while I took pictures...

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park was a great day out* with plenty to see (although we didn't see the lions as they were sleeping at the far side of their enclosure) and do. The park was recently taking under new management and the new owners are working on updating attractions and enclosures. They also hold regular talks and displays throughout the day - don't forget to check out the notice board near the entrance. We will definitely head back next time we stay in the area - if only so I can get some film of the adorable otter family!!

*here's a tip - whether you are staying on a campsite or hotel check out all the leaflets of local attractions usually found in the foyer/reception area. We found one that entitled us to one free child entry to the park with two paying adults, perfect for our family - it saved us a tenner!  The park also offered a deal whereby full paying entrants get 50% off a return visit.


  1. So pleased you had a good time! I know the weather was a possible concern, but it looks like it held and you found lots to do regardless. Yes, Damien Hirst does do exactly that! Glad you were able to let go of work too!

    1. Thanks Deborah - It really was a lovely little break :-)

  2. Looks like fun. Some great pictures. I quite like the Damien Hirst (in your picture at least).

  3. Looks like you had a great time. I have a friend in Ilfracombe that I keep meaning to visit...


Thanks for staying this long :) I would love to hear what you have to say. Don't be shy, this could be start of a beautiful friendship!

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