"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 27 June 2016

East Devon Day 2 - Saturday, 18th June - Part 2: Otterton and St Michael's Church

Leaving Budleigh Salterton we drove back to Otterton and the Mill.

The River Otter - you can walk from here along the river back to the reserve at Budleigh Salterton I mentioned in the last post.

Grey Wagtails were spotted on the river and a Tree-creeper on trees in the Mill car park.

More plants on walls - Herb Robert

I left the family looking round the Mill and had a quick look round the Church of St Michael which was close by.

There has been a church on the site since Saxon times. In the 11th Century the Manor of Otterton was handed over to the Benedictine Abbey of St Michael in Normandy by William the Conqueror in return for the use of their vessels to transport some of the army from France. Otterton was an important sea port in the 12th century and a Prior and 4 monks were sent to Otterton at this time to take charge of temporal affairs. The monastery, part of which still remains, was on the North side of the church. The original Saxon church was replaced by a Priory church. In 1414 the manor was given to the Syon Abbey by Henry V and the Abbey remained in possession until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. By the early 1800's the church was in a state of disrepair following years of neglect and, although it was repaired, in 1868 the old church was replaced by a new one at the expense of the Rt. Hon Louisa Lady Rolle and this is the building which can be seen today.

The organ was installed in 1879. I did buy a booklet on the history of the church which covers the earlier days but there wasn't a lot of information on the present day church.


I didn't have time to visit the churchyard to see how wildlife friendly it was but there was a nice little overgrown area of trees and shrubs at the front of the church.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

East Devon: Day 2 - Sat 18th June - Part 1: Budleigh Salterton

On Saturday we decided to visit Budleigh Salterton. The town (formerly known as Salterton or Salterne) took its name from salt workings in the Otter Valley. During the 18th century the inhabitants of what was then a small hamlet were farmers, fishermen and lacemakers. By the mid 19th century it had developed into a town and seaside resort. The renowned Elizabethan, Sir Walter Raleigh, was born in East Budleigh in 1552 in a farmhouse called Hayes Barton. He would have played on the beach at Budleigh Salterton as a young boy and his father was church warden at All Saints Church, East Budleigh. The artist John G Millais lived for a time in a house called Octagon on South Parade where he painted his famous painting "The Boyhood of Raleigh".

Flowers galore sprawled up a hillside opposite to where we had parked the car and when the sun came out

so did the insects :)

Fat-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

I could spend weeks studying the geology of the Jurassic coast World Heritage Site

The cliffs at Budleigh Salterton are 250 million year old Triassic rocks - the oldest to be found along the Jurassic coast. In Triassic times this coast was part of the super-continent of Pangaea - which would eventually split to form the continents of today. The coasts of Dorset and East Devon were located withing the arid centre of Pangaea in hot, desert conditions. Following the Mass Extinction at the end of the Permian the first dinosaurs evolved during the Triassic as did the first true mammals. The rocks are red because there is hardly any organic material in deserts and therefore iron forms iron oxides.

Sorry for so many photos looking the same but I was in seventh heaven over the fossilised roots :)

Another Fat-thighed Beetle.

Further along the sea front than we ventured the famous Budleigh Salterton Pebble Beds occur. The pebbles, composed of hard quartzite, were originally formed and carried in a river that flowed into the Triassic desert. During the course of the last few thousand years the pebbles have been gradually eroded from today's cliffs and form most of the beach at Budleigh Salterton. The pebbles are found all along the south coast as they have been transported to other areas by the sea.

Whenever I see a wall I have to see what I can find growing there :)

The Fairlynch Museum and Art Centre was superb with displays on geology, smuggling, Sir Walter Raleigh, local history, lacemaking and exhibitions on the Art of Joyce Dennys. The building where the museum is housed was built in 1811 for ship owner Matthew Lee Yeates and was originally called Primrose Cottage.

D's take on Budleigh Salterton

Unlike my Fat-thighed Beetle photos, this one taken with the Canon is uncropped.

D taking a photo of me taking a photo of my ice-cream.

A few from the Museum - I do wish we could have had more time there as there was much to see.

In the Tourist Information Centre I had picked up a leaflet on the Lower Otter Riverside Walk at the mouth of the Otter Estuary and I was hoping we could pay the nature reserve a visit. But this was a family holiday and I was out-numbered as everyone wanted to return to visit the village of Otterton we had driven through on the way.

It was only when I got home and read the booklet on Budleigh Salterton I had picked up that I saw the headline "We have Beavers in Budleigh". Some of you will know that beavers have been living on the River Otter since 2007. No-one knows where they came from but when they started to breed the Government initially planned to remove them from the river (no comment!!!!!!) but, following a local campaign, and once they were proved to be fit and healthy Devon Wildlife Trust was given a licence to re-release them. I suspect The Riverside Walk we didn't go on may have been the best chance to have seen beavers during the holiday.

I'll do a short post on Otterton and the church tomorrow - I think I have uploaded more than enough photos for one post!!!