Tuesday, 12 May 2015

May 11th 2015: Cornwall: Away to the South West

Monty the Motorhome is parked up in what appears to be a walker’s car park, in the small village of Belstone, on the edge of Dartmoor.

We have travelled down today, en route to Cornwall, stopping off at the National Trust property of Castle Drogo in Devon. With a name like that it sounds like something from a science fiction movie, but in reality it is the last castle built in England. Built between 1910 and 1930 by renowned architect Sir Edward Lutyens for self-made millionaire Julius Drewe, it started to leak through the roof, the pointings and the windows almost as soon as it was completed. Now the whole structure is encased in a huge plastic tent, supported by a nest of scaffolding, and is undergoing a five year restoration. The Trust have made a viewing platform at the top of the house, which is only possible to visit in small groups. We joined one and had to don hard hats and a reflective jacket, before ascending multiple scaffold ladders. A volunteer guide gave an interesting account of the hive of activity that was going on all around us, all accompanied by the constant drone of power tools.
We’ve been to other buildings going through restoration and usually there is some static display of all the whats and whys of the project, but this approach is certainly much more dynamic and interesting.

Not too picturesque, but it gives an idea of what we were looking at

The Castle also has a Lutyens designed terrace garden, which was full of spring colour, and was planted with many herbaceous plants that promise a magnificent summer display. A small Rhododendron grove completed the plantings, but there are extensive grounds stretching through the nearby Teign gorge. 

Acer's and Azalea's - could be a scene from the Chelsea Flower Show

Our overnight stop is a wild camp. This will be the first one in such a location, having just overnighted on a lay-by last year. So there is a bit of trepidation as with any new venture, but so far so good.

Update 12/05/15: Published today, due to lack of internet last night. The night went well - no problems and we woke to a beautiful sunny day

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