Day 20: Bath, Dartmoor, Cornwall
We messed up today and reception called us to tell us our bags should have been outside the room at 7 and it was 7:20. I thought it was bags at 8 but I messed up the days so we had to rush. Luckily I was super organized last night and everything was ready to go. We made it with time to spare.
We crossed the River Severn from Wales to England via the newer bridge and arrived in Bath for a tour of the Roman Baths.
The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is commonly known as Bath Abbey. It is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery. It’s had quite a history. Abbey turned Cathedral, fires, suppressions, rebuilds, add ons etc. you can read all about it Here.
The west front, which was originally constructed in 1520, has a large arched window and detailed carvings. Above the window are carvings of angels and to either side long stone ladders with angels climbing up them. this is a direct reference to the dream of the prophet Jacob mentioned in the Bible and commonly called Jacobs Ladder.
The tree, crown and bishops hat was the mark that Bishop Oliver King left behind on the abbey to show his work in rebuilding it after it was neglected after the Norman invasion.The carvings are symbols for his name – Bishop (the bishop hat), Oliver (the olive tree), King (the crown surrounding the tree).
There was so much traffic that even the short tour on the bus was cut short. We had two hours free including the Baths but we really needed a week. This little city has so much to see.
Wells smallest city in England and has the most beautiful cathedral. Wells is Mentioned in the 1086 Doomsday book. Josh was the first off the bus and stood around the corner to watch people’s expressions as they first saw it. Their faces and words were ones of awe and amazement.
We had a view of Glastonbury Tor from a far as we came into the town. These pictures are thanks to Google!
There are many legends surrounding the Tor, mostly to do with King Arthur and the Holy Grail.
New Age capital of the UK. Some very weird shops that had me feeling quite uneasy.
Every shade of green you can imagine in this shire! The home of Devonshire teas and narrow hedged roads that our coach expertly navigated not without incident though! A few cars had to reverse out of our way, and a horse with rider was spooked by our presence and reared up. Rider and horse both ok but we passed a logging truck further on and I hope they met on friendly terms.
But by far the most interesting part is the moors. The poem at the end of this post really captures it’s vastness and diversity.
Ghost stories abound and the inspiration for the Hound of the Baskervilles and the modern classic An American Werewolf in London.
You might like this particular ghost story told to us by our guide.
The animals have right of way!
An area mentioned by Darren but that we didn’t see was Wistman Woods. I had a quick google and they look stunning! Another treasure for next time.
12th century bridge
Dartmoor prison 1806 French prisoners from napoleonic wars and war of independence
Passed through Tavistock tannery and tin mining town where Sir Francis Drake was born. A World heritage site. Also famous for its traditional Goosey fair. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goosey_Fair
From Devon Into Cornwall you need to cross the Tamar River over a very old bridge called Newbridge at Gunnislake. The toll house doesn’t extract a fee any longer though the Cornish people might prefer it!
The bridge we crossed is the one you can see in the distance in the famous painting by Turner ‘Crossing the Brook’ exhibited in 1815. Newbridge was built ca. 1520: it is 182 feet long and has seven arches. It is built of large regular granite blocks and is the best of the Cornish granite bridges
Dartmoor! Thou wert to me, in childhood’s hour,
A wild and wondrous region. Day by day
Arose upon my youthful eye they belt
Of hills mysterious, shadowy, clasping all
The green and cheerful landscape sweetly spread
Around my home; and with a stern delight
I gazed upon thee. How often on the speech
Of the half-savage peasant have I hung,
To hear of rock-crowned heights on which the cloud
For ever rests; and wilds stupendous swept
By mightiest storms; of glen, and gorge, and cliff,
Terrific, beetling o’er the stone-strewed vale;
And giant masses, by the midnight flash
Struck from the mountain’s hissing brow, and hurled
Into the foaming torrent; and of forms
That rose amid the desert, rudely shaped
By Superstition’s hands when time was young;
And of the dead, the warrior dead, who sleep
Beneath the hollowed cairn! My native fields,
Though peerless, ceased to please. The flowery vale,
The breezy hill, the river and the wood,
Island, reef, headland, and the circling sea,
Associated by the sportful hand
Of Nature, in a thousand views diverse,
Or grand, or lovely, – to my roving eye
Displayed in vain their infinite of charms;
I thought on thy wild world, – to me a world, –
Mysterious Dartmoor, dimly seen, and prized
For being distant and untrod; and still
Where’er I wander’d, – still my wayward eye
Rested on thee!
In sunlight and in shade,
Repose and storm, wide waste! I since have trod
Thy hill and dale magnificent. Again
I seek thy solitudes profound, in this
Thy hour of deep tranquillity, when rests
The sunbeam on thee, and thy desert seems
To sleep in the unwonted brightness, calm,
But stern; for though the spirit of the Spring
Breathes on thee, to the charmer’s whisper kind
Thou listenest not, nor ever puttest on
A robe of beauty, as the fields that bud
And blossom hear thee. Yet I love to tread
They central wastes when not a sound intrudes
Upon the ear, but rush of wing or leap
Of the hoarse waterfall. And oh, ’tis sweet
To list the music of thy torrent-streams;
For thou too hast thy minstrelsies fro him
Who from their liberal mountain-urn delights
To trace thy waters, as from source to sea
They rush tumultuous. Yet for other fields
Thy bounty flows eternal. From thy sides
Devonia’s rivers flow; a thousand brooks
Roll o’er they rugged slopes; -’tis but to cheer
Yon Austral meads unrivalled, fair as aught
That bards have sung, or Fancy has conceived
‘Mid all her rich imaginings: whilst thou,
The source of half their beauty, wearest still
Through centuries, upon they blasted brow,
The curse of barrenness.
(Noel Thomas Carrington)
Our accommodation tonight was in the Jack Niklaus golf resort at Saltash.