Wednesday 14 August Sampford Courtenay to Eggesford

Miles walked: today 14; cumulative 222.9

Bovines of no threat to anyone Several.

Outside the Taw valley dairy

I started with a detour to North Tawton post office. Most people pack too much for lejog and I was no exception. I posted surplus stuff and some used maps back home (I am in trouble, Angela thinks it is a present!). My pack is certainly psychologically lighter.

There are several medieval crosses around Sampford Courtenay and North Tawton

Historic England say that most of these were erected from the 10th to 16th century. They served several functions including religious, marking boundaries, places for making public proclamations and others. The web site goes into much more detail and is well worth a look if you are interested.

North Tawton is a large village that, as I was to find, in common with many other central Devon villages, lies on top of a hill. It was Nanny Knights Revel week. Nanny Knight was a senior citizen who went missing about 100 years ago and the whole village searched for her. The North Tawton web site does not say whether she was found and,if so, what revels they had, the revels last for a week. The local primary school children had written poems for the revels and they were displayed in the front windows of the houses as I walked up the hill. The other event of the day was a snail race but I needed to get on.

In fact my progress was snail like. I started by leaving on the wrong road ( note to self USE YOUR COMPASS). After 20 minutes I arrived back in the village centre and left by the correct road. I followed a footpath sign into a housing estate and spent 15 minutes trying to find the exit path.

The path was very pretty, passing through trees. it passed over Bouchers Hill which would have afforded good views of northern Dartmoor except the tors were covered by low cloud. It then dropped into the Taw valley which I followed for much of the day

This is the Tarka trail. Shockingly, I know, I have never read the book or seen the film but the trail passes through mid and north Devon. (As an aside, when researching this, I read that the author, Henry Williamson, was seriously wounded at Passschendale, became a pacifist after the war but then was a Nazi sympathiser and joined the British Union of Fascists; bet they don’t say that when they show the film on TV).

I saw no otters.

I stopped for lunch by the Taw, near a house that was flying the Devon flag

I would like to report this was designed by the first Duke of Devonshire in 1500 as he mustered his army in some noble cause. NOT TRUE.

In 2002 BBC Radio Devon asked the public to send in designs for the flag and then held a poll to decide which one to use.

The flag is dedicated to St Petroc, a local saint. It is green because those are the colours of Plymouth Argyle, Exeter University and Devon County Rugby team.

I look forward to the design of a Manchester flag based on football ( no suggestions please).

The walk continued alternating between staying close to the river and crossing hills. Very pleasant and Dartmoor gradually receded into the distance as a Exmoor became more prominent.

Just before the end I passed the remote Eggesford church. This dates back to Norman times although most of the structure is 18th century. There was an impressive tomb of an important 16th century dignatory, Lord Chichester and his wife.

As I approached the Fox and Hounds I felt smug as there had only been light drizzle today. It then poured for the last 200 yards.