Holiday: Devon and Cornwall – Day 15/15: My Birthday 2021

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Hello reader! Try to contain your excitement – today is the final Post for this holiday! There’s also a birthday to be celebrated in the group (Clue: it’s NOT Ann’s!) πŸ€”

7.25am: As we’re away, most of my cards and gifts are sitting at home, but I did bring some of them with me. For now, I opened the Cards, and I plan to tackle the gifts after breakfast.

Now 65 years-old on the outside (but 12ΒΎ on the inside) we’ve cranked down the activities – just a little – so that I can concentrate on celebrating my milestone!

9.36am: After another rather excellent breakfast, it was time to open my gifts…

9.37am: Thanks folks, there’s a lot of generosity (and condolences!) in this room right now!, but enough sentimentality, it’s time to think about heading out for our final booked attraction of the holiday…

…and that attraction is National Trust’s Finch Foundary in Sticklepath near Okehampton. It’s the last working water-powered forge in England.

Afterwards, it’s back to the Chagford and The Globe Inn for 1pm and my Birthday lunch!

Does the weather know it’s my Birthday? Yes, the numbers are in our favour and there’s no rain forecast!

10.36am: We’re off!

Finch Foundary (National Trust)

10.58am: In keeping with a lot of the NT properties at the moment, this one needed to be pre-booked and we’d bagged the 11 o’clock slot.

According to NT’s website: “[Albany} George Finch ran the business as a mining implement maker during the boom of the mining industry in West Devon. Although he did quite well, he spent a lot of money on building a house for his family and was also the victim of a small local financial downturn. Towards the end of his life, he was sued by the local pub after accidentally flooding it. He died in 1885, after an overdose of laudanum for toothache, although according to his death certificate there were underlying health issues”.

As I mentioned earlier, the significance of this property is that it’s the last working water-powered forge in England. In fact, as Andy, our Guide explained, technically it’s NOT a Foundary, it’s a Forge. It was a one-industry village as they owned the Post Office, the village stores and the local pub as well as quite a few properties (rented out to their workers). The company turned out tools for agriculture, farming and industry at the rate of 400 tools per day!

Tools of the trade!

Ellen Finch played a large part in the success of the business and in the equivalent of today’s jobs, she’d be the equivalent of their travelling salesforce! That was in addition to raising the family! There is one account where she walked all the way to Tavistock (complete with tools) – 19 miles – but did not return home as expected. She turned up the following day having given birth!

She would not have understood the current definition of the word ‘snowflake’! 😍

It was great to see that all this old machinery had been rescued/restored – and all powered by water!

Even better to see it in action, courtesy of Volunteer, Andy πŸ‘

Sticklepath, opposite the Foundary Forge

11.55am: It had been a great tour around Finch Foundry, and seeing it all working really brought it all to life. As we left and looked at the sleepy high street, it was hard to imagine this was the route of the old A30!

Just time for a quick top-up of electrons at nearby Red Lion in Tenburn St Mary, before heading back to Chagford for my Birthday lunch.

12.59pm: I feel the call of a Birthday lunch… πŸ‘

The Globe Inn, Chagford

The Globe Inn at Chagford

Chagford was a very pretty town. It was popular too and finding a parking space looked like it might be a problem. Someone was smiling on us though, and we found an empty space just a two-minute walk from the Inn.


The menu was straightforward, but the more observant of you will immediately notice something missing…

…yes, that’s right, Dessert… of ANY sort! It appeared that the Pub had ‘misplaced’ their Dessert Chef and were still looking for a replacement!

…but the main course went down a treat – Ann’s Roast Beef and my Steak & Ale Pie – a fantastic Birthday lunch (even without Dessert).

…together with a local Cider that I’d not heard of – Sam’s Devon Cider! A great Birthday treat!.

Around the Town

2.06pm: The Sun was out, we’d had a tasty lunch, so we took a quick walk around the local Church just opposite – St Michael the Archangel.

Back at the Hotel

14.25pm: “3-2-1, back in the room”.

Holiday, “by the numbers”

To finish the series of Posts for this holiday, here’s a none-too-serious summary of our fifteen-day break in the south-west.Miles from home… 200+

Miles driven in Devon & Cornwall… 907

Cost of electricity to cover 907 miles… Β£19.08

Photos taken… 685 (see them HERE)

Miles walked… 45

Pedigree Pooches… 500,000 (approx)

Mutt Mongrellus… 0

Pirates seen… 1

Cornish Pasties tasted… 0 πŸ˜ͺ

Ice Cream stops… 3

Pilchards eaten… 0

Cream Teas taken… 1

National Trust properties visited… 9

English Heritage properties visited… 2

Beautiful beaches, harbours & coves seen… 4000+

Inches of motorways in Cornwall… 0

Twisty roads negotiated… 10000+

RNLI Stations seen… 6

Padstow ‘loveliness’… 0/10

Average speed of oncoming local motorists on narrow roads… 105mph (estimated)

Tractors overtaken… 3

Caravans holding up the traffic… 0

Teslas spied… 6

Potholes swerved… 3

Inches of rain… 0.0002

Thanks for your readership! The stats show that Day 5 (Tintagel & Port Isaac) was the most popular- close to 100 of you got around to reading it! Big thanks! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

We’ve enjoyed re-discovering the south-west area of England. Choosing multiple stops along the route was a definite advantage (given our overall journey was ‘long and thin’). Going electric for our transport was a no-brainer (even if you ignore the current petrol/diesel panic buying) – under Β£20 to cover over 900 miles is great value in anyone’s book. Being an early(ish) adopter, meant that a lot of the locations offered charging for free!

The roads, generally, have been a mix of long, smooth and direct to narrow, twisty and down-right scary, especially when many of the locals showed no awareness of vehicles from the opposite direction! We covered a lot of places, but there is still plenty left to see down here!

All that’s left to do is to pilfer all the toiletries, carefully pack our bags, making sure we don’t leave anything behind!

I’m now signing off as we’re travelling home after breakfast tomorrow. See you on the other side! πŸ‘πŸ‘

2020: Scotland
2019: London
8: France
2017: Stroud House
2016: Scotland
2015: Corby, Harrogate, York
2014: Monmouth
2013: London
2012: Home
2011: Ipswich (aborted)
2010: Bury St Edmunds
2009: Worthing
2008: Chinese Meal in Market Harborough
2007: Home
2006: Naxos/Messina (My 50th)
2005: Home
2004: Home

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