Question: What do you get when you combine wild ponies in a national park, a cream tea by a stone courthouse, and a new church in an ancient monastery? Answer: A tour of Devon.

River in Dartmoor National Park

In the same way that Durdle Door was exactly what I least expected to find in England, Dartmoor National Park was exactly what I most expected find. The dense fog, the stone bridges, the rolling hills, the wild ponies, and the prison. Okay, so I wasn’t expecting to find the prison, but it did add a bit of Great Expectations to the mix, and it doesn’t get more English than Dickens.

Ponies in Dartmoor National Park

My trip to Dartmoor was a continuation of my three-day southwest England tour with Rabbie’s. We drove across bridges so narrow I worried we would get stuck, followed the trails of wild ponies as they roamed the hillsides, and walked along rushing rivers full of kayakers. We even drove past the prison.

Valley in Dartmoor National Park

The weather was grey and the skies threatened, so eventually we sought shelter in nearby Tavistock, a pretty town with a beautiful stone churchyard and colorful boutiques lining the high street.

Tavistock, England

We made our way to a cafe for cream tea, another English tradition that left us pleasantly stuffed full of scones, jam, and clotted cream.

Clotted Cream

From there we continued our tour with a stop at the Buckfast monastery, home of a certain it’s-an-acquired-taste kind of tonic wine that I tried on a trip to Newcastle a few years back.

Buckfast Monastery

The monastery was a pleasant place, with beautiful gardens, a sparkling new church (that, incidentally, was built to look like a very old church), and several gift shops.

Buckfast Monastery

One of them sold goods produced by monasteries and convents from around the world. From anti-ageing remedies (is that really something the church should be promoting?) and honey to soaps (cleanliness is next to godliness) and liqueurs, there was no end to what the religious orders could produce.

Vines at Buckfast Monastery

Back on the bus, we made our way through Devon to spend our second night in Exeter. It had been a big day, but our tour of southwest England wasn’t over yet. To be continued…

10 Comments on Lady in Devon

  1. I had never thought until this moment how much I really need to go to Devon. Ponies, the perfect tea and beautiful landscapes are all right up my alley.

  2. The bridge looks just like one I saw on a four day guided tour of South West England. We stayed in Lyme Regis and Tavistock actually before moving on to Glastonbury and Stonehenge on the way back to London. Winchester was also included. The countryside in Dorset and Devon was fascinating and loved the homemade ice cream.

  3. Taking quality fun time in new surroundings together is important for creating memories and drawing the family closer to each other. This place is just awesome!

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