Friday 14th June and on Brighton station for the 9am train heading west. Change at Westbury
and arrive at Exeter for lunch at the Old Fire Station (handy for the bus station and the 52 for Newton Poppleford).
A ten minute walk north, parallel to the river Otter, gets us to Harpford and our thatched cottage for the week. At 6pm the Waitrose van arrives with our stores. Boy! this is feeling like a holiday. Then Fred cooks for us whilst we drink wine – will the holiday mood never end?
Saturday morning and we wander along the river bank to Newton Poppleford. The Otter is meandering wildly in its sand and pebble bed. We hear that winter flooding has boosted the process, and see evidence of infrastructure loss as pipework is disrupted by encroaching meanders. New water mains have recently been laid further from the river.
The popple of Poppleford is the same as pebble or cobble, and they have made their way down to the valley floor from the heathlands west of the valley. Heaths formed on the acid and fast draining Buddleigh Salterton Pebblebeds. Thus the ford at Newton is a pebbly one.
In the Cannon have a glass of Robinson’s Trooper and Hoard from the Backyard brewery in Walsall before bussing to Sidmouth for lunch and exploration – and more wine.