Braunton – Instow/Appledore.
It was raining hard so I was happy to chat with my sociable B and B host over breakfast, So It was almost eleven when I was on my way. After a bit of clever navigating through streets and parks I was on the old railway track into Barnstable. Today was going to be virtually all walking on old railways, the Tarka Trail follows the same route. At first there were new houses built close to the track and then Chivenor Royal Marine barracks. Plenty of joggers and cyclists were using the flat track for their exercise. Somewhere along the line the sun came out and suddenly I was alongside the Taw estuary which at low tide wasn’t very attractive.
When I set off again it was hot and sunny, the weather has been so changeable this week. There is a cycle hire depot at the station so lots of cyclists of all shapes and sizes were using the old railway line. It was good to see whole family groups out and everyone seemed in a cheerful mood. A girl coming towards me was walking Land’s End to John o’Groats, she was just getting into her stride after two weeks on the trail. The tide was coming in and I was amazed at how quickly the channels filled with water. The old station halt at Fremington Quay has been converted to a cafe and was doing a great trade with the cyclists most of whom went no further. They were so busy I didn’t stop but was lucky to come across a mobile coffee stall further along. A young man had packed in his job bought the tricycle and set up shop. He’d obtained a license to trade and was hoping for a good summer, his coffee was excellent! The walking along the railways has not been as boring as I thought.
At Instow I took to the beach for a stretch with plenty of activity happening in the water. The sand dunes at Braunton were visible and a yacht race was in progress on the open water. I was now alongside the mouth of the River Torridge with Bideford downstream, just across the water was Appledore. I didn’t fancy the long detour down river to the first bridge and was in luck as the ferry was operating, it only does two hours either side of high tide. So for £1.50 I was soon stepping onto the quay in Appledore, the journey across delightful in the afternoon sunshine. The ice cream sellers were doing a roaring trade.
This old fishing and shipbuilding village was a delight with tiny houses in traffic free narrow winding streets. Most of the tourists disappeared in the early evening, so I enjoyed an exploratory stroll around in the warm sunshine with clear views across the coast.
A decent pub meal for a change and back to my stylish B and B for an early night.