As predicted It was a great start to the new year as the sun came out in the South West and many people stepped out to blow away the cobwebs on the coast.
Bantham in South Devon was a popular choice for the 3-mile circular walk to Thurlestone we discovered. The upshot of the crowd was the celebratory atmosphere with teenagers taking a New Year dip in the sea and families setting up barbeques on the beach.
This is a fairly easy walk but getting to the start proved challenging. Anyone who’s been here will appreciate the patience required to navigate the narrow country road leading to the beautiful beach, where the River Avon meets the sea. This is not to be confused with the Bristol Avon river or any other river of the same name for that matter, of which there are many. The name derives from old English, or rather the Welsh word for river, so it literally translates to River River.
The Coast Path walk to Thurlestone begins with a steep hill where the views out towards Burgh Island and beyond are simply stunning. It soon becomes a gentle stroll that passes through a golf course. A giant rock stack balances precariously on its point and the Thurlestone Rock arch that gave the village its name is equally impressive.
Lunch was had at the Village Inn in Thurlestone where everyone was well catered for, from the dog who received a bowl of water on arrival to the baby who was happy in his high chair. Fellow customers were friendly and the fireplace offered a warm welcome.
The return to Bantham via the inland route was unofficially diverted back to the Coast Path as conditions were too muddy and the electric fences were not very inviting. This was a bonus as we now had the coastline to ourselves and the New Year sun was setting.
At the end of a truly revitalising walk to get off on the right foot in 2013, our spirits were lifted further by the first signs of Spring lurking beneath a Christmas tree. The days are officially getting longer. Roll on British Summertime!