© Noel Harrower 2018
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                                    A WALK THROUGH TIME 1. ORCOMBE POINT TO LADRAM COVE “High land of Orcombe” says the sign – it is the month of May.  Wild orchids flower here every year, as if to point our way.  This is a world of sky and sea, of booming breaking tides,  Of scudding clouds and eastern winds that gnaw. The Geoneedle points the path, with stone from every age. and as we walk we soar through time uncovering the story. We climb down steps of wood and iron - discover Rodney Bay. Triassic boulders on the beach and deep ridged cliffs display a tale of desert sands before the seas rolled in two five o million years ago when dinosaurs were young. Walk on through time to Sandy Bay where caravans now rule we’ll see erosion carved in rocks where amonites once swam in tropic seas – Jurassic times two million years ago when dinosaurs were kings. Climb the steeps beside Straight Point. Watch when the red flag flies  for rifles then will crack the air and violate the skies! Drop down the hill by Littleham Cove – which dreams of quieter times, and mount again through woods and cheynes to the beacon at West Down. We’ll hear the tide suck Budleigh beach where pebble beds are tossed. They sing of times before the tides divided us from Gaul and rivers carried them from France and they were bedded in our cliffs. Erosion made the fall. Now Budleigh pebbles, smoothly shaped are found beyond tides reach. They’re washed and cleaned and sunlight gleams upon the mounds. At White Bridge cross the Otter stream, a painter’s paradise - to find a bird-hide lost in pines, and watch the cormorant seek his prey in shallow waters every day, when tide is on the turn. The River Otter seeks the sea, by oxbow twists and pebble mounds. See here, above this red-stone cliff a wartime shelter sleeps – yet lives again for time adapts, provides a home for wintering bats – dark shelter through the storms. The path leads up, round twists and turns to skirt eroding cliffs. Climb the hill to Brandy Point, a lonely spot, where memories are stored, a smugglers’ and a soldiers’ haunt – a shattered building, lost and gaunt, where guns were tested for their power in England’s lone and darkest hour.   Drop gently down through open fields, where sows with piglets roam. Before you now is Ladram Bay, where red stacks soar and sea gulls ride the crest of waves that rise to crash upon the shore. Here gannets fly, and kittiwakes and guillemots find room to roost amongst the rocks. But here we’ll leave the coastal path – to return another day and walk towards Cretaceous times, just several million years away when dinosaurs had died. Then other creatures followed them in ebb and flow of tides. “And are these birds descended from those reptiles long ago?” A question we still ask ourselves and never really know!                                                                                                           -------------------------------------------- A WALK THROUGH TIME LADRAM COVE TO SALCOMBE HILL Beyond wild joys of Ladram Bay, where fulmars cry and gannets fly, lie wicket gates and woodland ways - a path that draws us up for High Peak rears its green clad head – a dragon petrified. And peace is found in this high ground, where Celtic people built their camp in quiet and shade and watched the waves for those who came to pillage and to raid. An ancient track-way leads us down to wait at Mutters Moor, where buzzards fly and stone-chats cry - on a summer afternoon and after dark, the night-jar calls And bats are on the wing. This is the time of the donkey train, with a cask on either haunch. This is the time of the old-wife’s rhyme of the man on the muffled horse. And perhaps, in the dawn of a hazy morn, there’ll be treats in the golden gorse. A wildflower meadow slopes the mound. Moths hover in the clover, - and here’s the sweep of Sidmouth Bay- stretching the blue horizon. Temptation tells us “Sit and stay” for there’s that restaurant in the sun - white tables and a well earned view. And as we rest, above the beach, we count the hills we’ve climbed – triassic rocks of red-rust hue. Down Jacob’s ladder, we descend To stroll Millennium Way – Jurassic entrance to the town Of genteel coffee-shops and clowns For this is Sidmouth Folk Dance time Of hobby horse and jingle rhyme – Horn dancers on the promenade And morris men in stableyard. We cross the footbridge by the quay to climb the steps of Salcombe cliff The music floats above the town Like flotsam in a rising tide. We sit and view – late afternoon with high tide waves below us, and west - a gray scar-face marks landslip, and further on, we see the white Beer stone with penciled line of lands beyond fading in lazy sun-drenched light. “We’ll do that walk another day” “A question though, before we go. Why did old Norman Lockyer come and choose this hill to site his own observatory when Greenwich days were done?” “If you come here in starlight when the moon is riding high, you’ll feel the pull that turns the tide and know the reason why.”                                                                                                          Noel Harrower
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