Travelling usually means looking to other countries for our trips; we often forget what’s on our doorstep. I’m lucky that on mine there’s forests, beaches, rivers and my favourite – the misty moors. We spend nights in the van parked up with a view of the hills, with Highland cattle and Dartmoor ponies to keep us company.
These are my favourite places. Some are well known and frequented by tourists on summer bank holidays. Others are known only by locals, and are perfect secret spots – aren’t you glad there’s a local to tell you about them?
Golden Dagger Mine, Postbridge
This part of the moors is filled with colour in the spring and summer, but I love it best in the autumn, with the last of the purple heather making a final stand against the barren landscape and bleak weather. The area is filled with things to explore, from old mine entrances and stone ruins to bogs and gnarly, lichen-covered woods.
Scanniclift Copse Nature Reserve, Shaldon
Just down the road from my parents’, Scanniclift is where we head for dog walks in the spring. April is the best time to go, as the woods are bursting with bluebells and the wild garlic is flowering. It’s only a short walk, following a narrow path through the trees, but can be made into more of a trip by going to the nearby pub for lunch. Keep an eye out for massive ant nests and glimpses of deer through the trees.
Bellever Forest, Postbridge
On bank holidays and school breaks Bellever is best avoided, but if you can spend a day (or night) there during the week it’s an amazing place to swim or camp. There’s a river for swimming, flat areas (for Devon!) for setting up your tent, and woods to explore on the other side. There’s also a car park with toilets.
River Teign, Teign Valley
I have a river right on the doorstep, and in the summer we walk or cycle down the road for a dip. It’s pretty cold, but there are pools deep enough for swimming, waterfalls and weirs to play in, and slabs of rock for sunbathing.