Britain 2011 - Day 10
From Bristol we planned to head south to Exeter and then across Dartmoor to Tavistock where we thought some BEER relatives had resided. Only at the last minute did we discover that the BEERS actually came from rural Somerset in a small area east of Exeter between Honiton, Axminster and Chard. So south we went on the M5 turning east at Taunton. The weather turned on a glorious late summer day, warm and sunny with just a few light clouds. We travelled through typical Somerset farmland, green fields separated by high hedgerows, narrow lanes with cars and a few horses around blind bends. Our first village was Yarcombe, with hints of BEER in the churchyard, then on to Stocklands and similar signs of BEER. Finally we went on to Membury where we found the virtual brewery - lots of BEER in the cemetery.
Yarcombe is a small village in rural farmland. Its claim to fame is a pub - The Yarcombe Inn that started life in the 9th Century as a monastery, features in the Domesday Book and was later owned by Sir Francis Drake. Next to the pub is the church, which we visited looking for Beers.
Stocklands is a few miles south of Yarcombe alongnarrow lanes lined with high hedges. We met our share of vehicles and horses. Close to Stocklands we had to wait for the farmer to back his tractor and trailer off the road, where he had been trimming the hedge, with the cuttings landing directly onto the trailer - a clever idea I thought. Then in Stocklands we had to wait for a large lorry to deliver - and install - a new dishwasher. The lane was too narrow to pass. Life is slower in these parts. It needs to be with the narrow lanes.
Our last Somerset village was Membury. The scant church records had suggested that some of the BEER family had been born and married here. The church is on a steep hillside, above the road, with the graveyard behind and above the church. So we climbed up to the church and looked inside. Then went out the side door to look at headstones. The first stone outside the door was for a BEER. We had found where they had all lived and died.
Dartmoor and Tavistock
After we had finished with the BEER families in Membury, we headed south towards Axminster to take the A35 west to Exeter. At least that was the plan, but the road we took was closed for repairs and we ended up on a wide detour. We eventually found the A35 and then the A30 that took us into Exeter. A few side roads and we were on the B3212 climbing west onto Dartmoor. This road runs southwest across the middle of Dartmoor, eventually taking us to Tavistock. We had decided on Tavistock before we realised that the BEER family came from further east, but the Bedford Hotel looked to be an interesting place so we decided to stay there. We had planned to reach Dartmoor by early afternoon, but with all of the BEER and the delays it was very late in the day before we started on Dartmoor itself.
Once we reached Tavistock it was easy to find the Bedford Hotel. It is a large, rather grey looking hotel in the middle of town. Much to our surprise we had a room with a large four-poster bed and canopy. The dining room too was excellent, with good food and service.
Last updated: 19/06/2017