There’s really nothing like a bracing walk on the beach in winter to give you an appetite on Sunday lunchtime so, after fortifying ourselves with bacon and French toast for breakfast, we made our way to Instow, a twenty minute drive along the estuary, to where the rivers Taw and Torridge reach the sea at Bideford bay.
A small fishing village with a large and attractive beach at low tide, Instow is always popular, no matter what the season.
Whether it’s tourists flooding the area in summer or dog walkers and locals like us taking advantage of the vacated sands in winter, the flat expanse of the beach and undulating, grass covered dunes make for an ever-changing landscape that has a wild and natural grandeur of its own, even in January.
The nearby village of Appledore makes a colourful backdrop to the panoramic views across the river and there are many juxtapositions of colour and texture, both natural and man-made, wherever you look.
From the elegant colonial styling of the old Commodore Hotel…
…to the ancient stone of the sea wall and flood defences…
…and the strange organic shapes made by the ever-present driftwood, dune grass and spiny buckthorn.
After an hour or so of clambering around amongst the dunes and hunting for seashells on the blustery sands of the beach, it was pleasant to rest for a drink in a local beer garden, after which we strolled into the village to sample the mouth-watering wares at the fabulous delicatessen on the harbour before heading home.
I can’t think of more fitting musical offerings to accompany a Sunday stroll on the beach than these two, so close your eyes and picture the waves lapping on the sand to enjoy Travis with Driftwood and the Bloom album in its wondrous entirety from Beach House.
Happy Sunday everyone.