This afternoon we went out with some friends for a walk through one of Devon’s prettiest villages – Lustleigh near Bovey Tracey. My hubby went there the other day and knew I would love it, and told me that it was full of thatched cottages, every one of them fit to go on a chocolate box! May is the loveliest month in our part of the world, with all the wild flowers coming out in the hedgerows, and as it was such a beautiful sunny spring day, we decided to grab the opportunity and go. Of course, later in the year, there will probably be more flowers in the village proper, and lots of roses around the doors of the cottages, in true choccie box style!
As we walked along the lane approaching the village, we saw the first of an absolute profusion of wall pennyworts growing out of the stone walls. These insignificant little plants with their tall green inflorescences are one of my favourite plants – they have round fleshy leaves and grow bravely in the most inhospitable of environments! They love shady, slightly damp places, stone walls under the trees, and as such, they often don’t get noticed.
Dry stone wall. All held together purely by the skilful placing of stones of different sizes, these walls go back many hundreds of years.
A mossy roof with wall pennyworts growing on it. This was the entrance to a cottage garden; it looks like a church lych gate.
The lane winding down the hill towards the village.
Wild honesty growing in the hedgerows.
One of many thatched cottages in the village.
A narrow lane leading to more thatched cottages.
The beautiful entrance to a thatched cottage.
To the left of the gate, another thatched cottage, with a beautiful ceanothus shrub growing against the wall.
This was an interesting cottage with a picket fence at the front.
Beside the front entrance is the old stone trough and water pump.
The stone doorway. On the left at the top of the stonework, the date, 1680, has been cut into the stonework.
Another thatched cottage with a pretty garden.
Pink campions growing in the hedgerow, another of my favourite wild flowers.
A beautiful red acer growing in a cottage garden.
Little white stitchworts, and blue speedwells.
Don’t our British wild flowers have charming names?
Walking further on, we crossed over the stream.
A view towards a larger house, possibly the manor house of the village, with the church beyond.
A long stone wall. This one is not a dry stone wall as it is constructed with mortar.
Under the railway bridge.
An ancient water runnel.
Entering the village entre, with the green, and the church beyond.
More thatched cottages. The one straight ahead has a Clematis montana growing on it.
The church and the war memorial. This made me think of the young men who went off to fight in two world wars; they left this idyllic and quintessentially English village with its peaceful atmosphere and ancient roots, to mortal danger and scenes of unspeakable carnage and horror, never to return.
Primrose Cottage and tea room.
The steps in front of Primrose Cottage – such pretty flowers.
Looking down on the village from the green.
The curious iron and glass lamp outside the church.
Looking through into the pub garden.
A couple of painted sheep!
My hubby opening the gate into the orchard.
The orchard, with seats, picnic area and children’s playground, is a perfect place for recreation in the village. The trees were covered with apple blossom.
The throne of the May Queen. This is an ancient English tradition, rooted in paganism – the most beautiful young girl in the village is crowned queen and enthroned.
The names of the May Queens since the 1950s, cut into the stone.
In the orchard.
The view as we left the village.
Such a lovely afternoon out! We are so glad that we grabbed the opportunity to go, because the weather is probably not going to be so good this week, and we didn’t want to miss seeing this gorgeous village at its best. We are so fortunate to live with such beauty within easy reach, and to have the opportunity to visit, in the company of lovely friends.
To finish, here is a photo I took of Phoebe, dead to the world, sunbathing on the concrete path at the back of our house.