Monday, 16 May 2011

Days Out in Devon: Old Walls; Old Walls

No, I don't need the firm hand of a copy editor to get to work on my title today as the duplication is intentional.  There really are two places to visit in Devon with the phrase 'Old Walls' in their title. Both are family farms where diversification has been needed to make the land  pay.  The owners of each venture have two very different solutions.

My old friend Ranger Ralph came up trumps again when he suggested a visit to Old Walls Hydro, where the owners Miles and Gail have been devillishly inventive, made use of the river running through the land and built a hydro-electric power plant with their own fair hands.  They are proud to say that this supplies the bulk of the electricity to a few of the surrounding Dartmoor villages through the National Grid.  What's more, this is not an ugly industrial eyesore. There's plenty of wildlife conservation measures to boot.  No dormouse or fish gets hurt in the process and even the butterflies seem to know that no-one's going to harm them here!

Miles and Gail give highly informative educational walks for visiting groups in a beautiful part of the county complete with some natty science demonstrations!   However, Old Walls is a working farm and not a tourist attraction so it's not possible just to turn up and visit.  However, I see that the Dartmoor National Park authority include tours of the farm in their programmes of walks. Needless, to say these come highly recommended from two members of the Lovelygrey family.

And the second place?  Well, that too provided a fascinating day out when I visited a couple of years ago with Mr Lovelygrey.  However it's not somewhere that would  grab Louis' attention as it's a small scale  vineyard  perched on a sunny hill near  Bishopsteignton which offers tours and tastings!

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