Tuesday 13 August Betty Cottle’s Inn to Sampford Courtenay

Miles walked: today 12 miles cumulative 208.9miles

Unusual road names 1

This was meant to be a very short day but I backtracked to the Meldon viaduct. This double viaduct spans a 165 metre gorge, phenomenal when you consider the technology that was available to build it in 1874.

The viaduct was built to run a rail service from London to Plymouth via Oakhampton. This was shut to passenger trains in 1962 although it continued to transport stone from Meldon quarry until the 1980’s. The view from the viaduct is stunning. The Meldon dam was a controversial project to form a reservoir by damming the West Oakmont river in 1970.

Meldon dam

The granite trail runs to Okehampton. I had a wander round Okehampton and picked up some food for the following day’s lunch before an uphill, tedious road walk to Stokley Hamlet. I then followed field paths and lanes east and then north with pretty views of the surrounding countryside. In the distance I could see a smudge on the horizon which was Exmoor, still two and a half days walk away.

I arrived in Stamford Courtenay. This is a beautiful little village in central Devon. It was the site where the rebels of the Prayerbook Rebellion made their last stand in 1549. After the reform of the church by Henry VII, his son, Edward VI, introduced an English prayer book.this replaced Latin with English as the language for church services. This particularly annoyed Cornwall where most people still spoke Cornish rather than English. The rebels laid siege to Exeter and the government sent troops to put down the rebellion. The final battle was at Stamford Courtenay.

There is a scarecrow competition going on at the moment. My favourites are shown below. I particularly like Lewis Appleton.

Many thanks to Nicky and Kevin for their B & B. They own a beautiful thatched farmhouse in the middle of the village. I was welcomed with a cream tea. My room was lovely. I wandered down to the New Inn for a wonderful fish dinner.