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History & Folklore

Emily in Wistman's Wood, Dartmoor

Exploring the wilds of Dartmoor

If you’re in search of tiny picturesque villages, miles of rambling over open heathland and more local folklore than you can shake a stick at, then Dartmoor is the place to go.  I spent a week swimming in rivers, exploring the wild moors, and generally pretending I was in a gothic horror mystery novel.

Spoiler alert: at no point was I eaten by a giant hound.

We were staying at Budleigh Farm Cottages, just a two-minute drive or fifteen-minute stroll from…

Porthgwarra Cove

A Poldark Tour of Cornwall

As anyone who knows me could tell you, I love a bit of Poldark. Admittedly it’s a recent obsession: before last year I’d never read the books, but when the new BBC adaptation started my Sunday evenings soon became dominated by watching Ross Poldark gallop around on clifftops.

When I was little most of my family holidays were spent in Cornwall, so seeing the beautiful coastline, beaches and moorland on the screen gave me a real craving to go back….

Blackthorn blossom in spring

May Day folklore

So spring is apparently here, although in the past week I’ve been rained on, snowed on, and so cold that I’ve considered going back to my winter jacket. Still, as this is a Bank Holiday weekend I was determined to make the most of it, so between the showers and storm clouds I spent my May Day morning out hunting for signs of the season.

Unfortunately the heavens opened at lunchtime and I got soaked to the skin, so elected…

Mulled cider winter warmer

According to most people I know, January is the worst month of the year. The Christmas holidays are long gone, it’s dark, it’s cold and summer still seems like a long way off.

Fortunately my birthday at the end of January usually cheers me up, but even if you don’t have presents to look forward to there’s still a way to cure the winter blues (clue: it involves booze).

Ok so this might make things tricky if you’re attempting ‘dry January’,…

Horseback archery

Horseback Archery

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you want me to wake up pre-8am, the best tactic is to bribe me with ponies. If you then add another quirky sport into the mix I might even be enthusiastic about it – which explains why I was up at the ungodly hour of 5am a few weeks ago so that my lovely co-adventurer Siân and I could drive over to Hertfordshire for a day of Horseback Archery. (Yes it…

Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye

The Misty Isle (of Skye)

The Norse apparently referred to it as Skuy, which translates as ‘Misty Isle’, and I am told that the reason for this is usually pretty obvious. Certainly when I arrived on the Isle of Skye the sun that I had basked in on the mainland suddenly disappeared, replaced by a sheet of thunderous grey that rolled overhead. I resigned myself to being soaked to the skin for the entire visit (not easy when I’d just spent a week in…

Sloe Berries

Foraging for Sloes

Its getting towards that time of year when everything begins to feel autumnal. My thoughts are already turning towards knitwear, cosy nests made of blankets, and curling up in a windowseat with a cup of tea and a good book. It’s also nice to imagine cold, crisp mornings walking along paths scattered with crunchy russet-coloured leaves, seeing your breath spiralling into the air. Of course living in England it is equally possible that autumn will end up wet and…