Paul’s Stoke Gabriel Circular – Saturday 21st August

9 walkers, subsequently joined by 3 more and a cross Yorkshire terrier (Cross! When he saw the weather forecast he was furious !!!) met at the Noah’s Ark Inn for the 7 plus mile return walk to Stoke Gabriel, on a day forecast for rain all day with heavy thunderstorms.  In fact, the weather was good with sunny spells all day .

We walked towards Yalberton village. King William, Prince of Orange, having landed with his men at Breakwater Beach in Brixham in November 1688, spent his first night on dry land at Hill House, now Gabriel Court before his 350 mile walk to London, known to long distance walkers as ‘The Orange Way’.  On 6th November, he held his first ‘Council’ (Parliament) at ‘Churchward Barn’, now better known as Parliament Cottage, on the way to Totnes. The Churchward family owned much of Stoke Gabriel’s farm land and orchards then. Sadly the 400 year link with the family ended when the last Churchward, Charlie, died in the village in 1952.
Picking up the bridle track we then walked into Stoke Gabriel along the Mill Pond.  We stopped to admire the village church and stood under a yew tree 🌳 which pre-dated the 1066 invasion. The church commanded impressive views of the village and the lake. We then had lunch in the community orchard before walking shoreline to grab views over the Dart towards the Sharkham peninsular.
The walk back was livened up by the sight of 2 tourist cars (who said Grockles???) reversing down a very narrow perilous bridleway, the drivers insisting “but the satnav sent us this way !!!
All in all a very pleasant walk on an unexpectedly pleasant day.
Paul S