Holiday: Devon and Cornwall – Day 14/15:

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Morning reader. Thanks for coming back – I admire your stamina!😊. “Are we nearly there yet?” Yes, this is day 14; just one more Post to go and then you’re free! 😛

The view from our room

Here we are at the Mill End Hotel in Chagford, (population c1400), in the middle of Dartmoor on the penultimate day of our south-west adventure.

New Hotel, New breakfast! 👍

We enjoyed a really tasty start to the day in the Hotel! This place definitely gets our Award for ‘Best Toast of the Holiday‘. But you can’t just live on toast! 😉

A healthy start…
A not-so healthy ending…

On our list of places to visit today are: Castle Drogo (National Trust), Dartmoor Prison Museum and Hound Tor (a heavily weathered outcrop on Dartmoor). Depending on how the weather turns out, we might postpone Hound Tor.

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Well, it could be worse! 😎

Castle Drogo

The impressive Visitor Centre

10.20am: Castle Drogo is a country house and castle near Drewsteignton, Devon. By the time we arrived, the weather was very misty and we wondered whether we’d get any exterior shots at all. We did, but they were very limited. 🤔. Last time we were here was 25 years ago – and it’s another NT property that has grown significantly in that time.

‘Misty’ Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo’s claim to fame is that it was the last castle ever to be built in England. Construction began in 1911, and the owners – The Drewe family – moved in on Christmas Day 1926 with construction still going on. The House was designed by Edwyn Lutyens. He was the ‘go-to guy’ of the day for bespoke architecture. He is also known for playing an instrumental role in the designs and buildings of New Delhi!

The building was finally completed in 1930 and led the way in technological marvels of the time – telephone, telephone switchboard and the whole house powered by hydro-electricity. Impressive! 👍

What wasn’t so impressive was very much in evidence not long after the family settled in – water leaks! because of the flat battlements, the Castle leaked water IN like a sieve. In the family’s lifetime it was never solved.

In spite of its ‘Castle’ status, it all felt very homely and ‘lived in’.

The kitchen area was just as impressive…

This was a thoroughly enchanting building. In spite of the family’s wealth., it all felt very ‘down-to-earth’.

It was only in the early 70s, when the Castle was given to the National Trust, the water problem was re-addressed. The NT carried out a lot of work attempting to stem the ‘tide’ but it proved only temporary. In more recent years, they made a more detailed attempt – only time will tell as to whether the problem is now completely solved.

Some nice views from the Castle too!

11.23am: Our final stop at Castle Drogo was to look around the Gardens. We weren’t expecting much, given the time of year but…

…this was the most spectacular display (especially the roses) we’ve seen down here!

11.45am: We said goodbye to Castle Drago just as the weather forecast came true and it began to rain. We decided to add it an extra stop on the way to the Prison Museum in the shape of the The Clapper Bridge in Postbridge.

The Clapper Bridge Postbridge

12.17pm: When we arrived, we were expecting it to be busier than it was. Lucky for us then that there was no-one around – and that made the photography easier! 😁. Park just up the road in the National Parks car-park – just £1 for an hour.

This bridge is old, really old! It’s believed to have been built in the 13th century and is one of about 100 in Dartmoor.

Very close to the Clapper Bridge is the current bridge. It’s nowhere near as old (built in the 1780s) but just as picturesque…

Dartmoor Prison Museum

Built between 1806 and 1809, there is plenty to see here. With over 200 years of its turbulent history ranging from the beginning, when Dartmoor was a Prisoner of War Depot for French and American prisoners of war, to the later convict era, through to today. It’s now a Grade II Listed Building and now houses around 600 ‘guests’.

12.56pm: When we arrived at the Museum, it was light drizzle, and we were pleased to be heading inside. The car-park is very small here, so expect to spend a bit of time jostling for a space.

Oh, and unusually for a Museum, you are not allowed to take photographs of any sort once you’re inside. That was a real shame, because there is so much to see here (even if you’re not a criminal! 😊). Uniforms, homemade weapons, replica cells, contraband, handcuff designs, related documentation and historic photos – ‘comprehensive’ doesn’t really do it justice. (unlike the prisoners). It only cost £4 to get in, and it was superb value for money.

1.38pm: Wow! That was great! What wasn’t so great, was the weather, as it was now ‘serious mizzle’. ☔☔☔☔☔

Hound Tor

We decided to give Hound Tor a miss. This famous rock formation has been around for a long time and it’s certain to be still here next time we visit the area.

Next stop? The Hotel, whilst enjoying some stunning views across Dartmoor (carefully avoiding the local sheep and ponies who asserted their ‘right to roam’ by occasionally standing – and even sleeping – in the road! 😲).

7.00pm: It’s my birthday Dinner (just ahead of my Birthday, tomorrow) here in the Hotel’s restaurant. Excellent service and food from start to finish – they most definitely deserve their two AA Rosettes!

10.05pm: Nighty-night! 🥱😴🥱😴

On the cards tomorrow, our final day? Very little! 😁. We plan to visit National Trust’s Finch Foundary – The last working water-powered forge in England – and as it’s my birthday, we’re heading off for a special lunch at The Globe Inn, here in Chagford! 😁 After that, who knows, as I think a large amount of Gin is involved!!! 😋😋

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