London to Dartmouth Long Weekend Trip

Starting out from West London it was a one and a half hours drive to the world heritage site of Stonehenge. Despite having lived in the southern part of England most of my life I have never actually visited Stonehenge.

From the road it looks quite impressive and indeed once up and close it certainly is.

However I can’t say I felt moved or awe struck by the Henge. It would really help if the road was not there and the Henge was commanding complete control of the landscape that it sits in.

The nitty gritty bit, the entry fee is rather high £23.50 for each person (July 2019) two teas and two sausage rolls £13. Hmm way over priced for what it is. If you have National Trust membership then you get affiliate rights and you don’t pay. But you need to book, as the location has timed entry slots.

The new visitors centre is impressive and well designed, but at the end of the tour your ushered into the gift shop before you go anywhere else. They have a museum that tries to explain the site and a time line that compares Stonehenge to other wonders of the world. 

I took some photos but getting shots of the Henge without people dressed in bright clothing is a challenge. If your photographically inclined person then try to get there early. But to make the image really pop your going to need a very interesting sky, my guess is that spring and autumn would yield the best results. Or a really cold crisp high pressure mornings where the light makes everything razor sharp.

After visiting Stonehenge it was a further 2hrs drive to the costal village of Beer on the Devon coast. This would be my second quick visit to this quaint location. Though it does deserve much more attention than a two and a half hour stopover.

After some lunch, a mooch about the art shops, sometime sitting on the beach watching the water it was time to head off to our final destination the naval costal town on Dartmouth. I say Naval as this is where the Royal Navy have an officer training college. Britannia Royal Navy College, is a very impressive building over looking the town and the River Dart.

As we came from the east you have to use the higher or lower ferry to cross the River Dart, its readily apparent that Dartmouth attracts a lot of sailors as the river has hundreds of small and large vessels moored up. With some river boats plying their trade. All rather attractive and reasonably photogenic. The town is a mixture of mainly old and some new buildings.

A collection of photos follow with some explanations below the image.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge
You cant walk right up to the stones but you can get reasonably close. The Henge is roped off and you can walk around it. As you can see it is possible to get a photo without people in the shot just be patient and try to get there early.
Zooming into the stones. It obviously leaves you scratching your head.
How ? Why ? Would I bother ? This is where the Olympus 12/100 f4 lens comes into its own. Reasonably small compact and really useful variable focal length.

Beer Devon

One of the many sweet properties in Beer.
And another.
Once you have parked your car had a spot of lunch and decided to walk down towards the sae to the left and right are a series of very cute properties and small shops to pop into.
Empty deckchairs waiting for the sun and some customers, to the left and right are cliffs that frame this sweet village. As you can see Beer has a pebble beach.
Repeating pattern of Costal Cottages built on the steep hill side.
Flower power in a small front garden.

Dartmouth

Once you cross the River Dart the view opposite is of Kingswear.
At the edge of the photo on the right side is Dartmouth Castle built to protect the river entrance from the impending invaders on the other side of the channel.

The following morning I decided to leave the comfort of my bed and get up very early 0400hrs to try and get some soft light photos .

The faint warm glow of the early morning sun just creeping over the distant hill behind Kingsbridge.
Street lamp illuminating the cobbles at Bayards Cove Dartmouth.
Dartmouth housing built on the hillside above Bayards Cove.
Early morning light on the River Dart. Looking up stream, Dartmouth is on the left side and Kingswear is on the right.
Warfleet Creek. Dartmouth.
Red fishing boat with Kingswear as the back drop.
Sailing boat on the river Dart heading out to sea.

From Dartmouth quayside you can get a ferry (read small boat) up stream to the charming village of Dittisham. Once at Dittisham quay side ring the bell and the ferry man will come over from Greenway to collect and convey you to Agatha Christies house (note there is a fee for doing so).

Dittisham side of the River dart.
Greenway boat house.
Old boat tied up next to the Greenway Quay.
Kitchen window light inside Greenway.
Oriental statue in the garden

Although its a nice building / house and has a commanding view point of the River Dart it is also rather plain and functional property. Inside it is filled with various collections. Greenway is a National Trust property a simple Google search will yield plenty of images.

After catching the retuning ferry back to Dartmouth quayside. We then went for a walk on the undulating South West Coast Path that starts near Dartmouth Castle, heading up through dense woodland and past the coastguard cottages into farming territory before turning left for some lovely views of the coast line.

looking from the Dartmouth towards farmland on the Kingswear side.
View of the craggy coastline. The third indentation is the entrance to the River Dart.
After going up hill and down dale for a few hours you come back to Dartmouth Castle.
A strategically placed tea shop is there welcoming you with a cuppa and a seat to soak up the view. The above photo is of Dartmouth Castle and the grave yard of the church next to it .
The 14th century Cherub pub and restaurant (recommended) in Dartmouth.
The Dolphin public house is located in the centre of town in an area mainly pedestrianised where a number of art and craft shops are located.

Salcombe

The following day we headed for Salcombe to walk another section of the South West coast path. The weather was not that great being slightly cooler and overcast with the feeling of impending rain drops falling on your head.

To start the walk in East Portlemouth you have to cross the river via a small ferry boat.
This is the view of Salcombe from the ferry boat as we cross Salcombe harbour.
The walk starts on the soft sandy beach then winds its way through dense woodland with the occasional view to the Salcombe side.
White house set amongst the dense woodland.
Craggy coastline on the South West Coast path.
More craggy coastline, here is where we turn off and head inland towards the Gara Rock Hotel to walk through some dense woodland.
The path back towards the ferry has lots of these old trees.

Coleton Fishacre

The last day involved the full English breakfast and checking out of the hotel. Our plan was to catch the Lower Ferry to Kingswear and then dive onto Coleton Fishacre before driving the four hours back to West London.

Coleton Fishacre. A arts and crafts house with a 24 acre garden in a superb Devon setting.
Light coming through the window, striking the handrail.
Vase of flowers.
The garden is beautifully laid out and has hundreds of flowers.
To do them justice you would need to be there for many hours.

For the photographically inclined.
The main camera used and simply the most versatile combination was the Olympus OMD EM1 X and 12/100 f 4 lens. For a couple of the really early morning shots they were done with a tripod, Nikon Z6 and a 35mm S Z lens.