I really don’t know why we don’t come here more often, it’s such a lovely place and only 20 minutes by car from our home.
I am speaking of Decoy Country Park which is situated on the edge of the market town of Newton Abbot. It is thought that Decoy was named after an earlier lake at which ducks were lured into a ‘decoy’ and then caught and killed for food. In the late 19th century, ball clay was found at Decoy and the area was turned into a quarry. After the clay had been removed it was taken to Newton Town Quay where it was loaded onto barges. Decoy was both quarried and mined for ball clay from 1850 until 1965. After the quarrying ceased the pit quickly filled with water and the bare clay surrounding much of it slowly became vegetated again. It is now a SSSI site, or Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Woodland area has a variety of trees including birch, hazel, oak, and holly and in the wetter part of the woodland around the lake, alder, willow, birch, and dogwood can be found.
And so this morning, which was bright and sunny, we decided to go to Decoy Country Park for a walk. The area immediately around the lake takes only about 20 to 25 minutes as a strolling pace, but it is sufficient for us although there are longer walks to explore and we might try one of these some other time.
The above photo is of an information board at the entrance to the park. We didn’t stop to buy an ice or have coffee, but followed the blue line (drawn above) of the path around the lake. There is a play area at the entrance to the park and many families with their little ones were having a lot of fun, it being the start of half term.
The woodland surrounding the lake is lovely, and we really enjoyed being in the almost-spring sunshine again, and we were beginning to feel the warmth of the sun on our backs.
This park is only a stone’s throw from the town of Newton Abbot, indeed some housing estates back onto the park, but how lovely to have this on one’s doorstep. In the bottom right photo, you can perhaps see some of the swans that, along with ducks, ‘live’ here.
After our stroll we decided to drive to The Linny, a thatched pub in the little village of Coffinswell, a mile or two from Decoy. Coffinswell is a pretty village with many thatched cottages, but when we got to The Linny, about 11.30am, we found it was closed. There was no indication (or we didn’t see any) of the opening hours, so we could only assume that it was open at around midday for lunches, or just open in the evenings. I shall have to Google it!
We were sorry it was closed, it’s a lovely old pub full of ancient beams and of course, the thatched roof. The other two photos are of other thatched properties in the village.
And so we decided to drive to the Headland Hotel, Torquay, which is as the name suggests, right on a headland looking out to sea.
This hotel was originally built as a holiday home for the Romanov family (the Russian royal family.)
This, above, is the view from the terrace, and we sat at the table you can see on the left. Those aren’t a row of crosses, either, although they do look suspiciously like them! They are the supports between the glass barrier between the terrace and the public footpath the other side. You can just see Berry Head across Tor Bay in the distance.
Soon after we arrived a whole lot of others arrived, too. They had obviously attended a funeral as they were all dressed in shades of grey and black, but my goodness, what a lot of people, at a rough guess between 60 and 100. The place was suddenly crowded but for an avid people-watcher like me, I found it all wonderfully entertaining (but please don’t think I’m being disrespectful; I was sorry that anyone who had so obviously been held in such high esteem had died.)
There were so many there, all shapes and sizes, and in all manner of dress. It was as if some of them – and I hope this doesn’t sound unkind – had delved deep into their wardrobes and taken out what they could find that was remotely suitable for a funeral: anything that was black or grey and with a smattering of white. And so, for example, I noticed a black leather mini skirt with black jeggings topped by a grey fleece all draped about by long glittery scarf … well, I suppose it was just suitable as the basic colour was pastel grey. And, I have to concede, that not everyone can afford to splash out on clothes to attend a funeral, they have to use whatever they have. One couple stood out as being truly smartly dressed, though. The young man had a smart charcoal grey suit with white shirt and black tie (knotted correctly … it’s surprising how today few men can knot a tie properly; the top button must be done up and the button must not be showing) and the young woman was wearing a dark charcoal grey pencil slim skirt, a pretty grey top tucked in, black opaque tights and black high heeled shoes (and with a neat hairstyle, no messy dangly bits no matter how fashionable they are.)
Just before the crowd arrived, and while as I was pretending to examine the menu, one late-middle-aged chap strolled out from the conservatory onto the terrace holding a pint or beer. I hadn’t realized that the black trousers and black shirt he was wearing were because he’d just attended a funeral as the shirt was open almost to the waist to show off his man tan with what looked like a Fort Knox array of gold dangling around his neck. Then I saw his shoes. How I kept a straight face, I do not know. Husband fortunately had gone to the loo otherwise we’d have set each other off. The shoes, dear readers, were white patent leather winkle pickers, Very 1960s. I thought at first that he was part of an Elvis tribute band.
We decided we’d better hurry and order something to eat if we wanted to be served this side of the Christmas, so we chose a light bite from the starter menu, duck liver pate with crostini. It was very nice, but I was so engaged in people-watching, such an enjoyable activity for nosy people like me, that I forgot to take any photos. So these below I took on a previous occasion:
Here are the bi-fold doors to the conservatory area, which are open to the terrace on hot summer days.
Here, they serve light meals
Here is the view from the side of the hotel. In the middle distance you can see the lovely Hesketh Crescent, and beyond, on the headland, Kilmorie flats (build 1961)
We then made our way home, via Torquay sea front, passing the clock tower, the harbour and the sea front road (not good photos but I was taking these as husband was driving).
As we had had an overnight frost, I thought it might’ve been a tad chilly around the lake this morning and so, rather than a short jacket, I wore my navy quilted coat, with a cerise cotton polo neck. I thought I’d show you because several readers have asked to see me in my new(ish) clothes. This was from Crew Clothing (not to be confused with J Crew, an American company) and one thing I like about it is that it has decent-size pockets and so I could pile into them my small purse for some change and my Visa card, my glasses, my mobile and my phone. I don’t like having to carry any kind of bag, not even a cross-body bag, on a country walk.
I must say, I look grumpy on these shots, but I’m trying to concentrate on getting myself in focus. As I don’t have a smart phone I have to use my camera and I never know whether to look at the camera or into the mirror; whichever I do, it looks wrong! Anyway, this is the quilted coat (it’s not down or fleece lined, just quilted, but is quite warm.)
I hope you have also had a pleasant day and that you will have a lovely weekend. It is now almost 8 pm on Friday evening and at 9 pm will be the 4th episode of the 6-part series of Grantchester. I’m looking forward to that.
Until next time.