‘Camping on edge of Dartmoor was a tale of two Bows’

September 26, 2016

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RURAL IDYLL: Here I’m front of my new house – no seriously it is one of the thatched-roof immaculately kept properties in the heart of Lustleigh. Steve is investigating another property in the background.

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GRUB’S UP: On a brisk but not freezing morning Dave gets to work on preparing breakfast before one of the seminars at the Bush Conference.

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TENT CITY: Our crowd have our rural, settlement zone neatly arranged. In the background is the barn where various seminars took place and where breakfast was served and where the temporary tuck shop and book shop parked up.

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WARM FEELING: The Cleave is the local pub in Lustleigh. With the nights drawing in and getting colder, the interior boasts a log fire within a traditional snug bar complete with granites and beams. The rear of the Cleave is an old station waiting room to create an airy and light bistro atmosphere with access to al-fresco dining in the rear garden.

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WORD ALIVE: The Gospel Hall in Lustleigh below the village green next to the Primrose Cottage tea rooms. The building has been owned and used by the congregation since 1971.

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HARBOUR LIGHTS: This image captures West Bay Marina in West Dorset with its moored boats on the backdrop of a Bank Holiday Monday evening.

 

CAMPING for the first time in over a decade, catching up with rest and spiritual replenishment and enjoying the South West coast took up my August Bank Holiday weekend.

Dave, Steve and I packed up our gazebos, tents, camping stoves and all essential gizmos from east Dorset to live with nature for three nights and two days of the Bush Conference, that was taking place for the 20th year. We later were joined on our pitch by Lucy, a Devon local.

Adapting to basic living conditions wasn’t quite as bad as I first feared but three nights was enough in the end, but I am willing to go back to it again.

Back then 20 Christian friends persuaded a farmer to let them use a field for a weekend campsite. In the course of those two decades there have been plenty of changes and still that same venue is where they continue to meet (albeit in larger numbers) on the outskirts of the village of Bow.

A divine appointment must have been had in mind as the Rev Kris Rogers of the parish of All Hallows, Bow, Tower Hamlets, was the keynote speaker on all the six morning and evening sessions, starting from Friday and going through till Monday morning. A bookshop was on site sourced by the Aquilla Fellowship.

On taking on the parish, he and his wife has seen the parish expand from a group of seven upwards to a thriving parish of nearly 100 people and it is within one of the toughest housing estates in London.

Hosted on a working farm, the barn is annually converted into a centre for worship and teaching with a burger bar served lunch and breakfast over the weekend with a tuck shop serving tea, confectionary and soft drinks.

On our way back, it was agreed to pay a visit to the village of Lustleigh which is off that A382. One of our party insisted it was on par the “Devon Sandbanks” but there were very few comparisons that could be met with the original one in Poole. We ended up stumbling upon the Lustleigh Show that is annually held on the August Bank Holiday and were met with a parade of young people preparing to do dressage and show jumping on horseback.

It is a small parish of 700 people nestled just inside the Dartmoor National Park and sits between the towns of Newton Abbot, where I used to live and Moretonhampsted.

The village boasts a refurbished village hall from 2005; a village dairy and shop that has also accommodated a post office that previously closed in 2009 and a pub that our party frequented called The Cleave, which has a number of heirlooms inside and outside, including examples of taxidermy. There are a number of smart properties with lovely thatched roofs.

The physical cleave – which the pub takes its name from – is the physical feature of the valley in which the village lies and within it is an ancient burial monument that dates back before 600AD.

Up until the beginning of the 19th Century the village was still being used as an Estate Manor and then it was sold off and broken up.

The Bank Holiday Monday was near journey’s end but was worth a pit stop to see what is reputed to be a major gateway to the Jurassic Coast and this is West Bay. The Coast covers 95 miles of coast from Studland Bay opposite Sandbanks) to the Orcombe Rocks in Exmouth, Devon.

West Bay is known for being a popular holiday destination for sun seekers and day trippers doing coastal and countryside walks; fossil hunting, fishing and angling trips, scuba diving, paragliding and river boating.

West Bay (Bridport Harbour) has an outer harbour with facilities to launch private boats. The marina has a dual width slipway and can launch two boats simultaneously. If anyone arrives wanting to launch a private boat, he or she must go to the harbour master’s office to pay a fee before doing so.

 

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