This Thursday saw our three oldest back at secondary school with all back at school next Monday. So Tuesday and Wednesday with such lovely weather we got out with the children and some of the dogs before they started back at school to two of the many beautiful scenic places we have here in North Devon. Looking around the world today (Don't worry I'm not going to start talking politics) and looking out my window as I type this, over the Taw Valley and can see the top of Exmoor, you have to count your blessings. If there is a God, I must of done something right.
The first outing on here is with my husband, the children, Smudge, Millie and me at Heddon Valley. Heddon Valley is on West Exmoor and I have been visiting this area to walk since a child, first with dogs, parents and siblings, then with my dogs, then with dogs and husband, and now with dogs, husband and children. Notice the one constant amongst my visits.
Heddon Valley is a lovely dramatic piece of the North Devon coast and is a very popular walking destination for locals and tourists from around the world, you can lose yourself in this enviroment and then find youself again in the friendly inns dotted along the way that are dog friendly.
This time rather than head down to the mouth, we took the path up over towards Woody Bay and although on the video the wind sounds very loud, it sounds worse than it was and after the ascension was welcome against our bodies to keep us from getting to hot, as the sun was strong that day.
When we walk with the children with us, so as to keep control of them and the dogs we normally take with us anything from one to four dogs. This day Millie and her daughter, Smudge had been bundled into the car. Smudge has got a little plump whilst on heat and not getting so much exercise, so it was felt she was in the most need of a good long leg stretch and her Mum, Millie came, as Millie will come straight away when called, so gives us a chance with returning to the car with at least one dog. Millie is my anchor dog, she is the one who teaches the others how to behave in company and to hopefully come back when called.
The footage and photo's were cut a bit short, as when we got up the top to where there used to be a Roman Fortlet, as we descended, the camera battery died on us.
Smudge and Millie really enjoyed themselves and on the descension we had a moment when Smudge disappeared off the path into the undergrowth and we spent a few moments wondering if the walk might turn into a search. Back at the car park up from Hunters Inn, we decided on an icecream from the little National Trust Shop. My husband and I spent time whilst eating our icecreams also removing several Black Legged Ticks at the nymph stage, from Millie and Smudge before we got back in the car and headed homewards.
With this surge of warm weather keep an eye out for a surge in ticks, at the moment we check our dogs every evening for these bloodsucking parasites.
If you want to know more about Heddon Valley click on this link
The next day after the walk at Heddon Valley being up top, my husband at work to late evening and with three children condemned to a return to school the next day, with yet another sunny day, at around 3.30 pm I told the six children to jump in the car with Henry and we would go to Heywood Forest down the below.
Heywood Forest is a recent discovery for us and funnily is not far from us and we often walk in Eggesford Forest not much more than a stones throw from this forest.
How we discovered it was, two brothers (who our friends with our oldest two boys) parents, help out with a private Beagle Pack and often ask our two boys along when they run them out on exercise and often they go to this forest and the boys go off and occupy themselves in the woods and as there is an old motte-and-bailey Norman Castle, what better place than for children to let their imagination come to life. This forest also has the river Taw running through it, so great for the children and for dogs.
We took just Henry and he does not go out on forest walks that often on his own. Heywood Forest is ideal for Henry who loves to run, as really good wide long paths for him to enjoy running back and forth to you. He is very obedient at coming back, although you have to be brave, as you watch him disappear at an alarming high speed, that he will return on call and so far he has always returned, touch wood.
We have just started using a harness with Henry, as he could pull on occasion with just a collar and lead, we tried a rope choker and he could still be a bit pulley at times, so before going down the route of a chain choker, which many may think cruel and I'm not so keen, but if it comes to controlling a dog and no other method works, using a chain choker, the cruelty can sometimes outweigh the benefit that can be made when all other avenues have been tried. There is some truth at times in the saying, "Sometimes you have to be cruel, to be kind."I thought lets give the harness a go and Henry although unsure of it on him to start with, as we let him wear it about the property first to get used to it, it seems to be doing the trick and if he forgets himself, one pull with the pressure across his shoulders rather than his neck, he checks back to walk at heal. Funnily he walks to heal no problem without a lead on.
It was yet again another lovely day here in North Devon on Wednesday and walking through the forest in the afternoon sun and watching the children playing in the river was a joy. When at the river, as you will see in the video, we got joined by a lovely Springer Spaniel, you will see Henry with our son Bert, watching him looking a little worried and that is because around a month ago down on Instow beach a very big Lurcher accidently knocked Henry flying and has made Henry a little concerned when dogs his size or a bit bigger approach him, he is getting over it though and although I did not catch it on camera, he did end up happily running about with the Springer Spaniel and on the walk back we also meet a collie pup, which Henry was quite taken with instantly.
If you would like to know more about Heywood Forest and it's very interesting history you will find out about it at this link
I think I should be working on the North Devon tourist board after the above, although the tourist trade does bring valuable revenue to the area, we don't want to many of you bugger's down yer. Lol. If you come to North Devon, us born and bred Devonian's tend to like to serve our sense of humour very dry.
Wind it up now, as I have a milking to get to. The last group of photos are at home with the dogs. David asleep with Jessica ,our daughter Florrie took those and David did not wake up until after she took the second one and she said, "He did not wake up and I had the flash on, on the camera." Lol
One photo is of Henry, when we put his harness on for the first time and you can see by his body language he is a little unsure. A sweet capture of mother and daughter, Ysobel and Primrose and a couple photos of David eating a late lunch with all the dogs watching and hoping, as I say on one of the photos, "Devotion is a sandwich and a yoghurt", well, that's if you are a dog, if it's a human you might need a bar of chocolate, some shinny metal and the promise of eternal life. Lol
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!