Today I walked up an extinct volcano. Right here in the UK… and in the heart of Devon of all places.
I know, I didn’t believe it either, but I’ve done some research, and it is true: there used to be volcanoes in the UK that helped to form various parts of the landscape… including an area aptly named “The Clump” at Killerton House on the outskirts of Exeter.
It was a wonderfully sunny day (spring is well and truly on it’s way) and it was the day-out-venue chosen by my Mum for Mother’s Day. I could not recommend it enough. I’m a member of the National Trust, so I didn’t pay anything to go in, and we took a picnic so we didn’t even have to get any food or drinks… it was brilliant. There is truly nothing I like more than going for a walk in some sprawling grounds, with good company, good food and my camera. And that is just what today entailed. We arrived before 11, wondered for a little bit and went into Killerton House itself (which at the moment isn’t at its full grandeur because the roof is leaking so the upstairs portion of the house is off limits to visitors; a great shame really because the downstairs is quite a small area, covered in about 30 minutes). We went to go and see the old summer house, where the Baronet of the estate (one of them, anyway) kept the bear cub he was given as a wedding present… It was made largely of wicker, with pine cones in the roof, and circles of wood on the floor. In one section, the floor was made entirely of the knuckle
bones of an animal (a deer perhaps) but I didn’t photograph that!!
Pretty soon after that, we decided that we were ravenous and decided it was high time for our picnic. And what a picnic it was. Meals like that are something my family and I do best. Some of my most vivid and memorable childhood memories are of going off somewhere in the car, and having a wonderful ‘boot picnic’ in the back of the car (self-explanatory really…). Anyway, I was accountable for the sweet part of the picnic, my parents supplying the savoury. And we had everything: ham rolls, cheeses, boiled eggs, several varieties of crisps, sauces and seasoning, mini cucumbers, sausages, sausage rolls, chicken, strawberries, apricots, raspberries, grapes, raspberry and cream turnovers, tiramisu, chocolate brownies, polished off with juice, tea, and cafetiere coffee at the end of the day!
It was amazing. It really set us up for our walk to The Clump. It was one heck of a hike to get there, in the end we shortened the set walk (after decided against another walk because none of my party realised that it was a 3 mile walk…) to one that was a little over a mile, but it was steep the whole way. We were walking up to a volcano, so it is to be expected, but it was hard going. But we made it, with the help of some good strong sticks of course! After reaching the top, my sister and I went off to explore another near hill because, being unsure on the appearance of an extinct and ancient volcano, we wanted to make sure that we definitely climbed The Clump so that we could say that we’ve done it.
Sun beating down on us the whole while, we then turned and heading back to the start again for further refreshment before embarking on the short (but made lightly longer and altogether confusing because we got lost) journey home.
I can not recommend this place enough.
However, I also can not wait to get in to a nice hot bath, because Oh! do my feet ache!