531: There is a Donkey Sanctuary at Slade House Farm, which is about three miles west of Baldash Cottage. On the A3052 road towards Sidmouth, look for the signed turning to the left, just before the turning to Salcombe Regis. The Donkey Sanctuary is a UK based charity working worldwide to improve conditions for donkeys and mules. There are no commercial attractions at Slade House Farm - just gently rolling countryside with walks around the fields where you can meet the donkeys, who adore the fuss and attention received from visitors. The Sanctuary is open 365 days a year from 9:00 a.m to dusk with free admission and parking. The Sanctuary, of course, greatly appreciates donations from visitors.

532: Pecorama Gardens offers a range of attractions to suit many interests and age groups. It is probably most famous for the Beer Heights Light Railway, an extensive 7¼inch gauge railway with miniature locomotives hauling trains for visitors. Some of the model railways in the exhibition hall can be operated by visiting children. Gardeners will enjoy the Millennium Garden, with its flower displays, scented walkways and water features. For refreshment, you can choose between the Orion Pullman Car, (home made cakes and cream teas) and the Garden Room Restaurant (hot and cold dishes). Pecorama is open at Easter and late May to early September (except Sat p.m). Check opening times locally. Pecorama is on a hillside above Beer and thus only a few miles from Baldash Cottage. Follow the brown tourist signs (Pecorama) at the Beer turning from the A3052.

533: If you have never ridden on a tram, the Seaton Tramway is a unique attraction, running from the town-centre terminus at Seaton up the valley of the River Axe through Colyford to the small town of Colyton. The tramway uses the track bed of the former branch railway from Seaton Junction to Seaton Town (the railway closed in 1966). Following the conversion to a tramway, the line has amassed a growing fleet of trams - now numbering 14. These represent the designs used on many of the UK's former tramway systems. The Colyton terminus includes a gift shop and small restaurant serving snacks, as well as providing easy parking. Trams run daily from April to October, with a reduced service in winter. Colyton is about 5 miles from Baldash Cottage.

534: Beer Quarry Caves are an underground quarry, first worked by the Romans some 2,000 years ago.  Beer Stone has the valuable quality that, freshly quarried, it is ideal for finely detailed carving. Thereafter, it hardens by exposure to air, taking on a soft creamy-white colour.  Over the centuries, it has thus been much prized, being used at the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Westminster Hall and in some twenty-four UK catherals, including Exeter, Winchester and St.Pauls in London. Hour-long visits are conducted by guides, covering the extensive complex of man-made underground caverns. There is a small museum containing examples of carved stone, ancient manuscripts and traditional tools. Light refreshments are available. Guided tours daily from April to October - check opening hours and admission charges locally. The caves are about three miles from Baldash Cottage, roughly midway along the minor road between Branscombe and Beer.

541: While you are in the fishing village of Beer, don't miss the Steam Gallery, located in Fore Street in the centre of town. Together with the nearby Marine House, these art galleries form Devon's leading centre for fine and applied arts from local and national artists and crafts people. Selections of the work of more than one hundred artists are always available for viewing and purchase. Several times a year, the galleries host major solo shows from leading artists - check details locally.

542: The programme of events at the Wiscombe Park Hillclimb offers the opportunity to experience the thrill and atmosphere of modern and historic cars, as well as motorcycles, in competition on a fantastic course 900 metre course.  Speed hillclimbing is one of the oldest forms of motor sport but it continues to thrill and excite drivers, riders and spectators alike. Eleven exciting meetings were held during the summer season 2009. Wiscombe Park is less than 10 minutes by car from Baldash Cottage, being just off the B3174 road towards Farway and Ottery St.Mary. It is located between Farway Country Park and Blackbury Castle. On race weekends, you can follow signposts from the main A3052 road.

551: Branscombe Village boasts two excellent pubs as well as a beach restaurant and snack bar. At the western end of the village, about half a mile beyond the church, you will find the Fountain Head, which provides traditional fare and bar snacks. On the road down to Branscombe Mouth is the Masons' Arms, which offers a range of eating options, from bar snacks, through tradional country dishes, to a restaurant offering fine dining. Down at Branscombe Mouth, you will find The Sea Shanty. This is a beach restaurant and snack bar offering refreshments and light meals during daylight hours at most times throughout the year. And don't overlook the Tea Rooms at Branscombe Bakery in the centre of the village, offering Devon Cream Teas and other refreshments during the summer months.

552: The Wheelwright Inn at Colyford is a traditional establishment offering a cosy, friendly atmosphere. Depending on the time of day, you might want to enjoy a traditional Devon Cream Tea, a Sunday Lunch special, or choose from the menu which extends from bar snacks and meals to a full a la carte menu. The inn is open every day, with food served daily from 12:00 noon until 9:30 p.m. It can be busy at certain times of year and you should book a table if required. The Wheelwright Inn is about 10 minute's drive from Baldash Cottage, at Colyford on the main A3052 road in the direction of Lyme Regis.

553: At the Golden Lion, you will be made equally at home whether dropping in for a pint of locally brewed ale, filling up on home-made steak-&-ale pie after a hard day's walking, or relaxing al fresco with moules marinières and a cold glass of Chablis. The hosts, François and Michelle Teissier, offer an extensive menu comprising the highest quality British, Mediterranean and rustic French cooking. Tipton St.John is about 8 miles from Baldash Cottage. Take the main road (A3052) towards Exeter. About 3½ miles beyond Sidford, turn right at the Bowd Inn towards Ottery St.Mary. After 2 miles you will see signs for Tipton. Turn left and the Golden Lion is ¼ mile on the left. There are detailed directions and sample menus on the inn's web site.

999: Full website at http://www.baldash.co.uk

 

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Paul & Bru Bainbridge e-mail to: Info@baldash.co.uk