Monday, 24 September 2012

Drama and Inspiration in Devon

I am not a great fan of holiday snaps, but I have just come back from a week staying on one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in England.  In Tudor times Hartland Quay in Devon was a bustling port but with the arrival of the railway at Bideford in 1855 there was  less need to transport heavy goods in and out of the area by sea. When a storm destroyed the pierhead in 1887 it was not rebuilt and the harbour fell into disuse.

I only discovered Hartland Quay a few years ago when I was researching for Snowbound with the Notorious Rake and wanted somewhere remote for the purposes of my story.  One visit was enough for me to fall in love with this desolate place so this year I returned to stay at the Hartland Quay Hotel - the first picture here is the view that greets any visitor making the descent to the promontory which is just big enough to hold the small hotel, one  shop and a tiny but fascinating museum.

The coastline here is so very dramatic and with the light constantly changing the view is always different - these next two photos show the small beach where the harbour used to be - the one above is the view from the Quay just as the tide is coming in. The rock strata show very clearly here, and the picture below is a close up of a small cave on the far left of the beach - I say small, but if you look very closely at the picture below you can just see me standing to one side of the opening!

We were very lucky with our hotel room, too, which overlooks this glorious coast. The last photo is a view from the window just as the evening tide was coming in.  I went to sleep and awoke to the sound of the sea crashing over the rocks - although this is Devon, not Cornwall, it reminded me very much of the Daphne Du Maurier stories or those old tales of pirates and shipwrecks, so look out for dramatic scenes in future books!

Coming soon - The Illegitimate Montague - book 5 in the Castonbury Park Series