Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Winter Visit to Dartmoor National Park, England

Happy New Year! We just got back from England.

Eleven of us gathered at my in-laws' house in Goring-on-Thames to celebrate a green Christmas. After all the rain and flooding, it felt more like Thames-on-Goring. Luckily it dried up somewhat over the week.

Last weekend, we headed to Dartmoor in Devon. England is densely cultivated so this 368 square mile wild moor is quite special. It was my first visit to Dartmoor National Park, but it won't be my last.

We met
up with
old friends
for a pub lunch
and a walk
on the moors.

Our son (far right),
back from
his first term at
Middlebury College,
is an eager hiker,
as is his
younger sister.

My daughter led the way to the peak. We could see Bristol Bay glimmering on the horizon.

Ponies and sheep grazed in the open moors. Without a local guide, it would be easy to get lost.

Henry had been at Oxford University with Roddy, who now works in Devon as an ER doctor.

Roddy lives with his family in the house that was once his grandmother's. Henry's grandparents lived in Devon too, but on the coast. We love the West Country. A house party of old friends felt very P. G. Wodehouse, except we changed out of our hiking clothes into thick sweaters and jeans instead of dinner jackets and evening gowns. Roddy's wife prepared a delicious stew. As the candles burnt low, Roddy stuck new ones on the flaming stubs. We stayed up past midnight talking, laughing and drinking. Fortunately, nobody needed to drive anywhere.

In the morning I awoke to a light frost,

...followed by rare blue skies on our last day. I already miss England.

Back home in Maine, it was quite a shock to wake up to minus eight Fahrenheit (-22 C), 
but now it's warmed up to plus nineteen. Time to hit the ski trails. Enjoy the New Year!


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, the perfect English Christmas! Sounds like so much fun! Wishing you all good things for the New Year! xoxo

Shaista said...

Happy New Year Sarah!
Glad you had such a beautiful Christmas - nope no snow and as a result it has felt quite warm and summery for England :)
At least none here in Cambridge... I've never been to Devon - I need to travel around England!

Hope you have a wonderful year ahead of you...

troutbirder said...

What an interesting landscape and vistas. And to be able to share the with old friends....

SG said...

Lovely, picturesque post, Sarah! Wish you a great year.

Rose said...

Sounds like a lovely holiday visit! Wishing you a very Happy New Year, Sarah!

Les said...

Your post gave me a small case of wanderlust. Happy new year to you and your family.

Amanda Summer said...

I love this part of England - terrific photos of what looked like a wonderful trip. Stay warm now that you are back in the deep freeze - we in the midwest are currently getting a dose of it as well.

Happy New Year!

Barrie said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Sarah! Loved seeing your trip in pictures!

☆sapphire said...

I enjoyed this post a lot.
Fascinating nature there!!
Happy New Year to you too!!


A Cuban In London said...

Brilliant photos. I drove through Dartmoor en route to Cornwall. Breath-taking landscape. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Carol said...

Belated Best Wishes for the New Year Sarah! Your trip to England looks and sounds like a great time. Beautiful photos of the landscapes. It has been a wild winter ride here too. Hardly any snow left right now.

Donna said...

I love your pictures! I am fascinated with England and I can't wait to go there someday.