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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Coastal Break to Hartland - Part 1: Spectacular Harbour walks and the lifecycle of the honey bee

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Hartland is a part of the South West Coastal Path that I have wanted to explore for some time, so I set this down as the area to explore for this Easter's half term. It did not disappoint any of us, despite the 60mph winds that hit on our second nights stay!

We arrived on the Monday, and quickly set up camp before the rain set in. We had bought a new Glawning with a stove this year, the set up took longer than normal, in part for it being our first time; but once we were done, we quickly visited the local pub 2 minutes walk away from the Hartland Camping and Caravan site we were staying at this week. That was such a relief as the bad weather took hold.

As soon as we set foot in the Kings Arms we were given such a warm reception which is really great when you walk in with a small family. The landlord was lovely and although with only 10 minutes left for ordering food, he said it was no problem at all. We had some very delicious pizzas that we were told we can order as a takeaway whilst staying at the campsite.

The next day the storm took hold. We sat in our new Glawning in the morning with the stove on, feeling dare I say quite smug. The new Glawning is a complete game changer for us. It is akin to having a living room on your travels, and the warm and cosiness is delightful.

However come lunchtime, the boys were getting restless, so we donned our wet weather gear and took a walk to the quay. Halfway there (about a 2.5 mile walk) a car pulls up and lo and behold it was the landlord from last night taking his children out (who were equally restless) and wondered if we wanted a lift. We jumped at it as we did have the walk back and people were starting to get a bit fed up about the weather already.

We explored the quay and the very blowy beach and visited the small museum, which sites all the shipwrecks that have occurred over time, around the Hartland Peninsula. The quay was also a filming site for the film Rebecca, which has some documentation showcased as a point of pride about the area. We decided to seek shelter in the Wreckers Retreat for lunch, to which we were invited to sit with our new landlord friend (who amazingly gave us a lift home), we made a point of having dinner there again that night and put a couple of drinks behind the bar for him.

After quite a disrupted sleep and the storm still in full force we decided to visit Clovelly as I had booked dinner there after our children's day out (that I had to move due to the bad weather.) It was not a bad shout as the village descends a steep hill to the harbour and it naturally sheltered you against the winds. Clovelly is a village that looks beautiful in whatever weather, we visited local artists, and walked down to the harbour and across the beach to a beautiful waterfall that was in full force due to the weather we were having. We had dinner at the restaurant at the Red Lion hotel, it was a perfect place to while away a few hours, as there were many board games, we found the perfect nook to see out the storm before some delicious food.

The next day the storm had passed and we were off to Quince Honey Farm to learn all about bees and honey. My youngest was the inspiration for this day trip as he wanted to know how honey was made... what a perfect place to demonstrate that!

The visit was remarkably well organised and really educational. It also had a lovely cafe and soft play and outdoor play for when the tour was not happening, so it pays to come here earlier than your allotted time or be prepared to stay after to make use of the play equipment, which the kids loved.

We started off with the tour of the gardens which shows how different plants are planted to allow the bees to make all sorts of different types of honey. Yes, there is also a way of telling in a hive which sort of honey comes from what as the bees cleverly compartmentalise the honey from different pollens! As well as other cunning and sometimes downright cruel ways of managing the hive... I will give no more spoilers here, but it's fascinating stuff.

Next up we planted a bee friendly seed that we could take home at the end of our visit before seeing beekeeping in action in a safe environment. The talk here was really educational and I came away knowing loads more about bees than I did before with a whole new level of respect.

Then we are off to the honey factory where we can see how honey is extracted from the hive before getting to sample 4 different types of honey. It really is amazing how different honeys can taste, it really is a foodie thing, like cheese or wine.

The tour finished with looking at the by-product - wax, and all the things that can be done with it, before making our own beeswax candles to take home. All in all the day out was enjoyed by all the family and I am inspired to do more to help our furry black and yellow friends. In fact, did you know if you planted a Linden Tree, it will produce enough pollen to fill half a football pitch, so if you haven't got space for a flower garden, plant a tree instead!

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