The Culm Valley
A picturesque spot in Devon
This is a relatively unspoilt area of countryside, where little villages nestle beside the river Culm as it takes its journey down the valley through Hemyock, Culmstock, Uffculme, Willand and Cullompton and then joins the river Exe to flow through Exeter and out to sea at Exmouth. I have lived in this valley for most of my life.
All photos on this hub are mine.
My Home Territory
I have lived almost all my life in the beautiful Culm Valley, mostly in the parish of Culmstock. It is a green valley rising gently to green hills. Devon has lots of small hills and high hedgebanks which give the countryside its distinctive quality of beauty. The fields are green in Spring and then turn yellow as the hay is harvested and then back to green as fresh rains feed them
Devon is in the south-west of England and the Culm Valley is just inside Devon where it meets the county of Somerset.. A car is needed to get about as the public transport, although frequent in the day, stops in the early evening. Those over sixty have a free bus pass, so it is worth using the bus and leaving the car at home both for the sake of one's pocket and for environmental reasons. For those who don't want to travel far there is a library van coming fortnightly. Also groceries can be delivered from the large supermarkets. There are local pubs where those who want can get alcoholic beverages and also they are superb restaurants. In my childhood these were considered disreputable dens but these days they are highly suitable to celebrate any occasion in the family calendar. Now let's take a trip around some of the villages
Hemyock has grown a lot
There are a lots of houses in Hemyock now, but not a lot of jobs. All these villages are becoming dormer villages for cities around. The important thing for a village is to keep your school and your Post Office. Hemyock goes one better and also has a doctor's surgery.
The Old Pump at Hemyock
Pride and joy or nuisance
The old pump has stood in the square since 1902 when it was put there to commemorate Queen Victoria's reign, Edward VII's coronation and the end of the Boer War. When I was young it was rusty brown in colour but sometime later it was smartened up as we see it today. Some people love it and others hate it, not least because it is in the middle of a T junction and drivers are confused as to which way to go around it. I'm sure it will be there for some years to come as it is certainly distinctive.
The Anglican Church and the War Memorial
O worship the Lord
The Anglican church is short and chubby but very pretty. The war memorial stands outside the church wall beside the road. The church is well attended and the rector also looks after, Clayhidon, Culm Davey and Culmstock. Once upon a time most of these churches would have had their own vicar. A sign of the times.
The road past the memorial on the right leads down the valley to Culmstock. But first a little detour to Culm Davy and the little chapel and graveyard set on the side of a hill. Then two miles away is Culmstock.
The Catherine Wheel, the local pub
Culm Davy Chapel
This little Anglican chapel is on the side of the hill overlooking Hemyock. Culm Davy is a hamlet, a little cluster of houses and farms.
The graveyard and yew tree at Culm Davy
The river Culm at Culmstock
In the Spring the meadow across the river is full of daffodils.
Culmstock is so pleased to have its shop and cafe back in operation after a break when it was shut. It used to be the Post Office too, but that is gone for ever. People are encouraged to do their transactions on the internet and so the Post Office lost out.
The shop and cafe at Culmstock
A stroll through Culmstock
First we take a look at the river. Beside the river is The Strand Stores. This is a bit of a deli with a cafe as well.. The village was recently without a shop. In previous years the Strand Stores was bustling with activity. You could buy wellington boots and watering cans, all hanging from the ceiling.
The area along by the river used to get badly flooded until a flood prevention wall was put in place.
We stroll on by the river and come to a thatched house which used to house one of the village's butchers. Many businesses have folded and the village is more of a dormitory village for Taunton and Exeter. However there are many social activities in the village, two churches and a pub and of course the shop. Villagers have to travel to Hemyock or Uffculme for a Post Office.
This thatched house used to be the butcher's shop
A recess on Culmstock bridge for standing in when traffic comes
Over the bridge
We stroll on over the bridge. The recesses were originally for standing in when a horse and cart went over. They are equally good for keeping back from cars. It is a pack bridge and seems to need quite a lot of renovating as it now has to cope with large lorries going over it. Over the bridge we go through a ricketty gate and down the footpath to the river and a good view of the bridge.
Over the bridge we find an excellent thatched house nestling beside the Methodist church, which you can read about in my lens A little Methodist church in Devon England.
Opposite the church is The Culm Valley Inn. Last Christmas with the permission of the landlord we had carol singing outside the pub which was most enjoyable. I like to take God to the people instead of expecting them to come to church.
The footpath to the river
The old pack bridge from below
As a child I did not like going over this bridge because it had holes by the road to let rainwater through. I had a fear that I might fall through as well ,even though they were only six inches square. I had similar fears about the wooden slatted bridge over the railway at Tiverton Junction.
On the left the Methodist church at Culmstock
A beautiful thatched cottage
The station was to the right of the next picture. The track crossed the road at this point, which is also right beside the bridge and of course, the river. The train would stop and the guard jump down and open the gates himself, in latter years, when there was no station master.
The Culm Valley Inn at Culmstock
I lived a lot of my life in a hamlet one mile from Culmstock village. We could look out of the bedroom window, my brother's room, across two or three flat fields and see the train going through. In former years it was a steam train and a lovely sight. Now the valley is silent. Dr Beeching axed lots of little lines and I think it was a big mistake. I'm sure our train would be appreciated by tourists as the ones in Wales are.
We used to catch the train at Culmstock and travel through Uffculme and into Willand, where the station was known as Tiverton Junction. Then the world was our oyster, but we chose to travel to Totnes. The bit I liked best was when we traveled right by the coast. We traveled several times like that to spend time on my uncle's farm. But I digress. We now leave the Culm Valley Inn and retrace our foot steps over the river. We walk along by the river to the shop and then turn left up the Cleeve to this pretty little corner. After this we take the road towards Hemyock and take a look at the Beacon, across the fields. This is our highest ground and is 250 m above sea level, so no real mountain, but we love it and it is a favourite spot for those who like to take their exercise seriously.
Up the Cleeve at Culmstock
England's Pleasant Land
Would you like to visit my valley?