Tuesday, 17 August 2010


“The observant stranger will soon discover that the whole country around Exmouth on both sides of the Exe is full of objects of interest, and intersected with innumerable lanes and paths which will conduct him through scenes of ever-varying beauty. The sheltered waters of the Passage-way and the Estuary afford very good boating, and delightful excursions by water may be had in fine weather to such places as TURF, TOPSHAM and LYMPSTONE. But the favourite water-excursions are to Dawlish, Teignmouth, and POWDERHAM CASTLE. Cards to view the Castle and grounds can easily be obtained by application to the Steward at Starcross. Pic-nic parties are not allowed to bivouac in the Park, but they are permitted to refresh themselves on the green sward in front of the boat house, and no better place for the purpose could be selected. The good people of the Cottage are ready to spread the board and lay out all the necessary paraphernalia of the tea-table. Powderham Church. a little beyond the landing-place , should not be forgotten.”

This is from William Webb’s Memorials, published in 1872. I like the term ‘Passage-way’ used here to mean the long Channel between Exmouth beach and the Pole Sand.

The railway which had opened in 1846 clearly had made no difference to the Victorian visitors’ water excursions to Powderham. Presumably there was then a crossing over the railway line. Nowadays arriving by boat to visit the Castle is not possible. Perhaps the idea should be revived. For the price of a bridge and a turnstile it could be. In any case the Estuary is everywhere scandalously short of welcoming landing places but that is a fit subject for some other day’s blog.

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