Cuckoos calling on Dartmoor

Although the call of a cuckoo is getting rare these days, we were treated to a whole day of calls on Dartmoor!

Many other birds were very much in evidence too; a hive of activity and birdsong.

Always splendid, the moor was particularly colourful today with new bright green foliage, bluebells, and the striking yellow gorse.

Canonteign

We had a wonderful visit to Canonteign today, managing to do both a Historic Houses Association tour of Canonteign Manor, and to also visit nearby Canonteign Falls. 

Canonteign is an historic tything in the Teign valley and Dartmoor National Park near Chudleigh, aprox 40 minutes by car from Sandays.

Canonteign Falls is an enchanting place to visit. The waterfall itself is dramatic but there is far more to see, both natural and man-made! It was looking very beautiful today with the trees in bright spring green, lots of bluebells, delicate new ferns and mossy boulders. Just the sort of place to find fairies and other creatures and there are plenty to spot. Away from the falls there is space to roam and there you can find the poetry corner: a ring of illustrated poems circling a giant oak tree overlooking the lakes. Delightful.

The Manor House has a long and interesting history and is currently for sale, so the next chapter may be about to begin.

Lots happening around here!

With the weekend, and for some the Easter holidays, fast approaching there is lots happening around here. 

In our immediate area here are a few things to look out for:

Our local farm shop, Forest Fungi, has just re-opened after a winter re-fit, hurrah!

The other shops around the Warren are also getting back to business, and of course the wonderful Funder Park will be in full swing (literally!).

The Starcross – Exmouth ferry is planning to start for the season on Saturday, weather permitting.

There is a Plant Sale in St.Mary’s Church Hall on Saturday afternoon 2 – 5pm. A good opportunity to grab some quality but bargain plants to help the garden along, not to mention some advice about how to keep them alive! Refreshments also available.

Always a lot to see on the Warren with plenty of crocus this year, early butterflies, and this week some Red- rumped swallows causing interest. 

Powderham Castle has reopened for the season (closed Saturdays) and has a Sheep Show included as part of their entertainment over the Easter holidays.

Enjoy!

10% off For English Tourism Week

English Tourism Week starts tomorrow, Saturday 30th March.
We have vacancies during the week at Sandays and are knocking 10% off the bill, so why not come and enjoy some sea air.
We have had some glorious Spring weather this week and hopefully lots more to come.
Lots of Mother’s Day events around the area on Sunday.

Spring Equinox on Wednesday

It is the Spring Equinox this Wednesday 20th March, when the day and the night are of equal length.

The gusty gale force winds of last week have disappeared and the sunshine is lighting up the signs of spring in every hedgerow and garden. The first Warren Crocus have been spotted (a bit earlier than usual), birds are building nests, and blossom is bursting out all over and attracting bees. 

Those businesses that have been closed over the winter are starting to show signs of preparation for Easter, and here at Sandays we have just had a busy weekend!

Fisherman’s Friends

The movie “Fisherman’s Friends” is in the cinemas now and bringing coastal life and shanty singing into the public eye. We went to see the film yesterday: very good, lots of laugh-out-loud moments and of course wonderful lusty singing.

The Fisherman’s Friends shanty singers were “discovered” some years ago now and despite national fame are still singing in their native St. Ives. However there are lots of other shanty groups, many based in Devon.  If you like what you see in the film, why not head to Sandays for the Teign Shanty festival in September where the scenery and the singing is just as good!

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September 2019, at various venues in Teignmouth and Shaldon, will be heard around 20 shanty groups providing over 70 hours of “free to attend” shanty singing. Confirmed crews so far are Alan Whitbread; Anchors Aweigh; Back Beach Boyz; Baldrick’s Plan; Barnacle Buoys; Dorset Wrecks; Exmouth Shantymen; Figurehead; The Last Watch; LocTup Together; The Longest Johns; Mariners Away; Missin’ Tackle; The Nauti Bouys; The Old Gaffers; The Press Gang; The Severn Whalers; Stamp and Go; Stuns’l; Tavy Tars.

Of course you can catch sessions from these groups at any time of the year. We have seen both the Exmouth Shanty Men and the Back Beach Boyz recently and they are great fun as well as great singers.

Daffodils for St.David’s Day?

It may be St.David’s Day today, but the daffodils are for every day around here! The mini-daffs are blooming bright at Sandays and along every verge between Dawlish Warren and Dawlish, and beyond too in every direction. It is a really lovely sight. 

Lots of the more standard daffodils around too of course. I took this pic at Bicton Park Gardens this morning as a nod to St. David, but look out for the banks by the pond there that are covered in crocuses and primroses as well as some daffs; absolutely stunning.

Starcross and St.Paul’s Church featuring in the national news.

Starcross and in particular St.Paul’s Church have been featuring in the national news during February. A long project to repair the clock and the bells of the church is nearing fruition and caught the attention of the BBC because the bells could be used at times of flooding to ring out an SOS warning across the village.

Hopefully the £4 million tidal defence scheme to protect both Cockwood and Starcross will play a big part in ensuring that the bells are only needed to chime the hour and the church services.

Starcross is only a short distance from Sandays and, like the rest of the Exe Estuary, very much part of our lives here. Many of our guests seek out the Starcross to Exmouth ferry and spend some time in the village too. St. Paul’s church is very active in the local community and host many local groups and events. We have been to two excellent folk concerts recently, and there is Open Church every Tuesday morning 9-11am.

Spring in February

We have been enjoying the unseasonably warm weather over the last week, and the unusual delight of strolling along the beach at this time of year. Vast amount of wood of one sort or another along the beach; these are a couple of the larger pieces.

More about Snowdrops

In the last post we were talking about NGS Open Gardens some of which are opening in February because they have large numbers of snowdrops.

Yesterday we stumbled on a walk which is one of the best we have ever done for enjoying snowdrops. We did a circular walk from Dartington hall, taking in Staverton along the way. Very pleasant walk, long stretches by the river Dart but also turned out to have stunning displays of snowdrops for a large part of the route. Staverton is worth the detour: an impressive medieval bridge, a steam train station, and a refreshments at the lovely Sea Trout Inn.