Minis, Westward Ho, UK, Jo Castro

Minis and Marching Bands.

I love the sound of a marching band. Bagpipes and big bass drums beating into the open air often sonorous, sometimes uplifting, always inspiring like the prelude to a day filled with promise.

Westward Ho, Jo Castro

UK Bank Holiday Sunday in August was one of those days crammed with promise and expectation when over 240 brightly coloured minis invaded North Devon for their annual holiday weekend ‘mini run’ in aid of the Children’s Hospice South West.

Minis, North Devon, Jo Castro

I didn’t expect such a riot of colour . It was like an explosion on an artist’s pallette, and the promise of raising money from the event resulted in twenty thousand English Pounds for the hospice. Although I wasn’t actually in one of the minis, I enjoyed walking amongst them, little jewels that they seemed, all parked along the promenade at Westward Ho before they set off around North Devon in a convoy that allegedly stretched for up to an estimated eight miles long.

It was a fair summer’s day in a season of little sunny weather. The white horses of the Atlantic Ocean rolled towards Pebble Ridge, across the wide stretch of Westward Ho’s beach and provided a cinematographic back-drop. Horns of all descriptions tooted, marshalls collected money and the brisk air was bright with unexpected sunshine.

Minis, North Devon, Jo Castro

If you’ve never been to North Devon though, it’s well worth a visit. Granted, if you have sunny weather it’s so much more pleasant because the best pursuits are definitely the outdoors-ey ones, many to do with the beach.

Westward Ho, North Devon by Jo Castro

Take Westward Ho for instance, a Victorian coastal resort best known for its long sandy beach banded by a huge pebble ridge – oh and and for being named after the swashbuckling novel,  Westward Ho! written by Charles Kingsley. Then there’s the south West Coast Path from which you’ll have great views across the Taw and Torridge estuary towards Saunton and Northam Burrows Country park, and if you’re of hardy nature, then the area is great for surfing, canoeing, kitesurfing and para-karting.

Westward Ho by Jo Castro

I love walking along the clifftop paths along Kipling Tors, the backdrop to the village, which were named after writer Rudyard Kipling who spent time at Westward Ho during his childhood. Many’s the time I’ve wandered with our old cocker spaniel along the sea front, past the gaily painted beach huts, along the coastal path by Haunted House perhaps eventually turning back down to The Royal North Devon Golf Club, the oldest course in England (1864) situated on the Northam Burrows where it is possible to be hindered more by sheep than bunkers.

Ah, yes, Westward Ho was once my home, and its memory lingers like a sweet fragrance each time I leave.

6 Top Things to do in North Devon

Go surfing or take active teens to one of the best beach breaks in the country at Croyde.

Beach walk – Saunton beach is over three miles long and sheltered from the headland and Westward Ho is a great walk when the tide is out.

Enjoy a coastal or deep sea fishing trip from Ilfracombe

Hike on beautiful Exmoor

Take a trip to dramatic Lundy island on the M S Oldenburg

Hire a bike and cycle the Tarka Trail through landscape immortalised by Henry Williamson in his novel Tarka the Otter.

Minis, North Devon, Jo Castro

Have you enjoyed this post? Have you been to Devon? Or would you like to know more about England’s green West Country,  it’s hidden lanes and pirate past? Please let me know below in the comments section 🙂

This post is linked to Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.

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  1. sadly no, never been to Devon, Cornwall yes, Devon no. Those pebbly beaches in the UK amaze me – beaches? no! Give me the long white sand of WA’s coast anytime! Loved the idea of the minis! so cute! and so fitting it seems for an English sea-side town. And I love those little painted beach huts. Is there a pier to stroll along? Glad to see you posting from the UK Jo. Have a wonderful time.

  2. The original pier was washed away in the last century, when there was a railway line at Westward Ho too. Now there is a beach promenade by those cute beach huts, which you would do a much better photo montage of than me! Yes the minis are so cute, characterful! Thanks for popping by.

  3. No, I’ve never been to North Devon though Westwood Ho looks a cute town. I love the painted beach huts. I glad the sun was shining for you on your visit home but I’m sure you’ll be glad to get back to the sandy beaches here after all those pebbles! Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  4. Thanks Jenny. Yes, Westward Ho is a quirky seaside town/village and the painted beach huts are great to photograph – you’d love them for that! The beach here is long and sandy at low tide but very different to the soft sand of WA’s beaches.

  5. My daughter was hiking the Southwest Coast path this summer but gave up 19 days in and went to Spain – not because it wasn’t beautiful but accommodation was becoming harder & harder t find and the weather had been horrible. It looks like you got one of those rare sunny days.

  6. Ahh that’s too bad 🙁 Devon has had a miserable summer, just rain and more rain. We also had the experience of a very boggy walk to Clovelly one day in August. I didn’t realise accommodation would be such a problem to find. Yes, I was lucky, did have one or two days of lovely weather. Hope your daughter had better weather in Spain!

  7. I would love to go to Devon some day. My mum lived and worked there for several months when she was backpacking around Europe (many years ago!) so I’ve heard a lot about it. According to Mum it’s the most beautiful part of England. Funny, I didn’t realise it was such a beachy place!

  8. It is gorgeous, Bonny! I wonder if I ever came across your Mum when I was younger and living in Devon too! That would be funny 🙂

  9. Lundy Island! That brings back memories. I once spent a week there studying seagulls as part of my degree course. I had tickets to see Queen but was forced to go and watch seagulls instead! I’ve been to Devon many times but only to the south as I had relatives there. I must explore the north some day.

  10. Studying seagulls on Lundy! Fabulous Kathryn – though perhaps not for a young person who had the option of going to a Queen concert!!

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