Before we start looking at the bit of north Bodmin Moor and the village of Horrabride where all the action takes place in the south west (excluding walking the dogs in various places) I thought you might like a location map so that you can see where these places are. I’m not quite sure why this idea didn’t occur to me before. Anyway, if enough of you like it I might add maps to all the other Country pages.
We found the location on the edge of the moor quite by accident. It would not be entirely true that we were lost but certainly we had no idea where we were dawdling along a very narrow lane when we came across this delightful little ford with its rather odd bridges. To the left was an open space and I pulled the old Transit off the road and put the kettle on while Marcia went for a walk with Max.
As she returned she was punching the air so I knew we had ‘found’ and that I could expect to spend a great deal of time here. No complaints: it’s a lovely spot. The photo above shows the other side of the bridge with its three arches. Why build it like this? I was to puzzle over that question for a long time and and still no nearer learning the truth.
While we were drinking our coffee a heron rose up from the other side of the stream and so we wandered over the bridge to see what was there. To Marcia’s delight the answer was two quite large, fairly shallow pond divided by an area of swamp.
At once Marcia had the vision of Roly as a small boy seeing a heron flying from that lake and then watching out for it as it comes to feed on the frogs and fish.
As Roley’s father explains, “We have to think about the balance of nature. The heron catches fish and frogs. They are a natural part of its diet” Poor Roly, he tries hard to understand but delights as the frogs lay their spawn . . .
. . . and grow into tadpoles.
Horrabridge sits on both banks of the River Walkham where a fifteenth century pack horse bridge crossed the river. This bridge (and I know this will sound odd) is a Grade I Listed Building which means that when it needs to be repaired all materials used must be the same as any removed and anything modern such as some form of steel reinforcing, visible or not, can only be included if permission is given by Historic England.
The river, which rises high on Dartmoor, is a tributary of the River Tavy which it joins a few miles to the west of the village. It is famous for its salmon as suggested by the coat of arms and that one of the pubs here is called The Leaping Salmon.
Sad to say much of the character has gone from the village as many of the smaller shops have closed and new housing developments threaten to link Horrabridge with Whitchurch to the north and Yelverton to the south.
However, Nat and his on-and-off girl friend are happy living tucked around the back in one of the old parts hard against the river.
Meanwhile, back in the old converted barn (which Kate remembers fondly as being ‘strange’) beside the little stream that rises on Roughtor (pronounced ‘row’ as in having an argument) lives are being gently straightened out.
How much this is due to the general oversight of Uncle Bernard is hard to establish but there can be no doubt but that between them the dogs have quite a bit to do with creating the right atmosphere in which people can cast of the old (with all its pain) and look forward to the future (with all its terrors).