At the end of April we were lucky enough to be invited to come and try out a new luxury camping pod situated in the beautiful Devonshire countryside. We have gotten used to towing our accommodation around behind us, so this was going to be a different kind of adventure- but having looked around an Omnipod at the February Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, we knew we were in for a treat!
It was a Friday afternoon when we made our way to Devon. Storm Hannah was working her way in and the wind was really starting to pick up, although that didn’t diminish the beauty that greeted us. Bright blue and purple flowers lined the narrow roads, and behind them the long grass looked like green sea, dancing in the wind. As we got closer to our destination it got more and more rural, the roads got narrower and bendier, and we were thankful to not be towing our caravan!
After driving down the country lanes for some time we came across a very cosy but modern looking wooden pod- our accommodation! We eagerly went inside and it was even better than we had remembered it, it had been decorated so beautifully with scatter cushions, books and ornaments, and after unpacking we instantly felt at home. Being an “accessible to all” camping pod, the rest of the evening was spent settling in and getting to grips with all of the modern assistive devices, particularly enjoying the voice controlled smart home system and the button to close the electric blinds, finishing the night with “Okay Google, switch off the lights”.
We woke up the following morning feeling well rested after a very comfortable nights sleep, despite the 60mph+ winds from storm Hannah still blowing a gale outside. We enjoyed a relaxed morning in the pod then decided to face the weather and go into the coastal town of Salcombe for some lunch. Stopping at the scenic North Sands beach first, we got out for a stroll, taking in the views of the sea lapping up against the golden sands and the rugged Devonshire coastline surrounding us. Although it is possible to walk from the beach to the town, the winds were still extremely strong and very cold, so we opted to drive there instead.
Once there we stopped at an independent cafe, then took a stroll around, enjoying the views of the boats bobbing around on the sparkling harbour, and getting lost in all of the narrow and steep little high-streets full of boutique shops.
With the day still young and the winds still strong, we had the (not so) brilliant idea to take a drive out to Start Point for a coastal walk to a lovely little lighthouse. We parked up and braced ourselves for the winds, not knowing at the time that Start Point is one of the most exposed peninsulas on the English coast- and that’s without adding a storm into the mix!
Even from the carpark the uninterrupted views down across the dramatic Devonshire cliffs were incredible, but we were determined to take the walk out to the lighthouse. Passing through the gate we were straight onto a tarmac path that ran just over half a mile to the end. It was a slight downhill slope but being tarmac it was perfect for my wheelchair.
We strolled along, trying not to get blown over, but still enjoying the views. Then when we made it to the end we turned back to see a humongous black cloud quickly drifting in our direction. After snapping a few photos of the lighthouse we hurried back up the path, head on to a wind so strong I was using all of my strength just to keep my arms from flying off my controller… then the rain set in. And when I say rain, I mean horizontal icy rain that hit our skin so hard it stung!
It was certainly an experience, and my motto is “AN experience is better than NO experience”… Or so I kept telling myself at the time!
When we eventually made it back to the car, the dark cloud passed and we were presented with the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen! It was a crazy walk but well worth it, the views were spectacular and we had a good laugh. But now it was time to head back to the cosy pod to warm up and get dry.
The following day the wind had settled down a lot and all that was left of storm Hannah was a persistent drizzle that wasn’t going to go away any time soon. Not wanting to let a bit of light rain spoil our plans we headed north to explore Dartmoor for the day. Under the recommendation of our good friend John, we went to a lovely restaurant and tearoom in picturesque Dartmeet, called Badgers Holt. Nestled amongst trees, right next to a flowing rocky river and with peacocks running loose, it was an idyllic spot to stop for lunch. Once seated (Stephen, not me) Stephen ordered the Sunday roast and I went for the soup of the day- Carrot and Sweet Potato. Both were delicious and went down very well!
After our wonderful lunch we drove further along the river Dart, to Bellever Woods. We were rather looking forward to a nice walk but it was not meant to be, during storm Hannah a large tree had fallen over, completely blocking the entrance to the carpark. Although we couldn’t access the woods itself, the surrounding area was beautiful, so we parked up at the side of the road and got out for a quick walk down to the bridge. One of the perks of bad weather is that it was inhumanly peaceful, the only sound came from the fast flowing river water hopping over the rocks, and the bright yellow gorse bushes provided the only flash of colour on this bleak yet calm day.
Our drizzly day in Dartmoor was coming to a close but we wanted to take the scenic way back through the stunning national park. We found ourselves driving through valleys and over hills, getting magnificent views of the ancient landscape, before passing through miniature villages full of wisteria-covered cottages selling homemade jam outside. It was like something from an old English movie!
Back at the pod it was still drizzling but really mild in temperature, and not wanting to go inside yet I couldn’t resist sitting out on the veranda, under the canopy reading my book. I found my “happy place” right there, getting all the enjoyment from being outside, seeing the views of the hills and hearing the gentle pitter patter of the rain, without getting wet. Covered outdoor spaces are so underrated!
After another great nights sleep we had a relaxed morning before heading out for lunch. Taking the short drive into Kingsbridge we found ourselves at Coasters Coffee Company- a lovely independent coffee shop offering a wide selection of sandwiches and cakes. Inside the atmosphere was relaxed and Stephen enjoyed a ham and cheese panini while we made plans for our last afternoon in Devon. These plans started with a gentle stroll around the traditional market town, and then a walk around the harbour.
Last on our list was a visit to National Trusts Overbeck’s, and the sun was finally trying to make an appearance!
Nestled on the hillside, it felt like we had been transported to a hidden paradise. Much like a secret garden, every path we went down presented us with more amazing views, the sub-tropical microclimate allowing for palm trees that framed the sparkling sea in the background. We wandered up and down the steep but accessible paths taking in the strikingly colourful plants and the exotic scents. Too busy enjoying the incredible landscape we didn’t get a chance to explore the house, but that can be another adventure for another day. Overbeck’s turned out to be one of our favourite National Trust gardens that we’ve visited yet and we will certainly return!
We’d had an amazing time exploring Devon but it was time to head back to the pod for another relaxed evening. I spent the rest of the night in my new favourite place, on the veranda, with a book in hand, watching the sun sink down behind the hills. What a perfect way to end such a wonderful few days.
We would just like to say a huge thank you to Omnipods for inviting us to stay in their beautiful pod, we had the best time!