A view of Shaldon from Back Beach (River Beach), Teignmouth. A ferry between Teignmouth and Shaldon was established nearly 1000 years ago – it probably crossed further upriver than it does today, close to where the road bridge now stands.
This type of woodland is rare in Europe and is primarily restricted to the western UK and Ireland. We were lucky with the weather for our visit – there was hardly any wind and plenty of warm sunshine – but because of the severe winter there were almost no signs of spring and the atmosphere was quite odd. It was hard to get any good photos and after a while the starkness of the images through the viewfinder began to remind me of Paul Nash’s WWI painting of the Western Front We are Making a New World . Obviously this wasn’t a very uplifting association, and now I’ve taken a fresh look at the Nash picture I can see that my fatigue probably had an influence on my perception of the place. Things improved once we descended to an area of more varied woodland along the Yarner stream and found a sunny place to sit and eat lunch. We still didn’t manage to find any plants flowering, but it was a beautiful spot and we had a good view of two ravens passing between us and the ridge to the south-east of the reserve.
Looking south-east towards Yarner stream, close to the observation hide.
Birch trees growing along the path by the field museum, not far from the main entrance.