As I drove through the village of Hartland and then through the parish of Stoke nothing prepared me for the awesome view that greeted my eyes as I reached the top of Hartland Quay.
As my trusty van meandered down the extremely steep hill and I tried to concentrate on the precarious route I couldn’t help but be conscious of the amazing picture of beauty before me. Surveying the panorama in my view I was mesmerized by the striking, contorted rock formations which eclipsed the small harbour. Whilst the extensive North Atlantic Ocean crashed mercilessly against the cliffs and the island of Lundy could be seen sitting proudly like a Queen on her throne in the distance.
Reaching the bottom of the road I parked my van and was overwhelmed by the wild, dramatic atmosphere that surrounded me. The lush Open cliff tops and moorland carpeted with the flora and fauna of nature and the meandering valleys and waterfalls. I was captivated by the utter rawness that this rugged peninsula evoked.
Venturing to the harbour the tide was out and I walked down the slipway to a small sandy beach. Standing there alone I was surrounded by the backdrop of awe inspiring cliffs which loomed majestically over me and I was utterly amazed at the sheer magnitude of my surroundings. The sense of solitude and isolation that these rock formations provoked and the mysterious strata of the rock patterns created an extraordinary Jurassic atmosphere. Then on the sand I noticed the long protruding gnarled fingers of rock that projected gloomily out to the sea.
As the tide moved ferociously over the craggy rocks the sun glistened and shone brightly and the red, greens and browns penetrated the surface of the cliffs. The sun kissed and danced over the incoming waves and they glistened like small diamonds. The tide moved further and further towards the shore until 6 foot waves pounded the harbour walls and the spray erupted like a fountain.
Since that time I have become a constant visitor to Hartland Quay and the sheer fascination that it instills within me. Walking the Coastal Path you can investigate all along the rugged shoreline, Spekes Mills in one direction and Hartland Point and Light House in the other You are not only met with breathtaking views but are surrounded by rugged heath land with its colourful blanket of sea thrifts, kidney vetch and natural Irises.
I am now compelled to frequent Hartland Quay on a regular basis with its atmospheric ambience and photographic potential. I just cannot resist its charms, whether it’s the stunning views, being blown by the invigorating winds or surveying the unpredictable weather that can go from calm and tranquil to wild and brutal. Then for me it always has to be the culmination of the day when you wonder whether the sun will set and radiate the skies with a rainbow of colour but it’s something I never know.
A wonderful place to visit 2020.