Dartmoor! thou wert to me, in childhood’s hour, A wild and wondrous region.

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. 

Roman Baths

Bath Abbey

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.

notice how the head is lower than the one below. at one point it was destroyed and they have carved a new face into the old beard.

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). 

flying buttresses just like in the saga “To the ends of the earth”

Pultney Bridge


Royal crescent 

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 Cathedral

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.


Glastonbury
 

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.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glastonbury_Tor

Glastonbury 

New Age capital of the UK. Some very weird shops that had me feeling quite uneasy.

The Willow Man


Devon 

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.

Dartmoor

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.

http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/kitty_jay.htm
 

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.


Postbridge 

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


New Bridge 

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


the little triangle areas are the equivalent of passing lanes for horse and cart.
Crossing the Brook

Dartmoor

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. 

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