Saturday 25 January 2014

Skywatch Friday on Dartmoor

Himself was celebrating a birthday this week and my present was an overnight stay in the Dartmoor National Park - not at the prison, please note, but at Bovey Castle. How sneaky of me, it meant that I got to enjoy the treat just as much as the birthday boy!
We were greeted by a concierge dressed in suitable country style. How delightful! Tweed waistcoat and plus-twos, sensible woollen socks and brogues. This is how my father dressed, no wonder that I felt at home! The uniform included Dubarry boots and Barbours for outdoor wear. I loved the attention to detail with a pale lilac tie picking up the colour of the stripe in the green tweed.
The staff were really pleasant, a pleasure to talk with.

The hotel was initially built as a country retreat for the W.H. Smith family, an Edwardian manor house in lavish neo-Elizabethan style. It has been added to over the years and is now a golfing hotel with a spa and pool, decorated as an English country house.
Just look at the weather - we had the choice of getting wet outside or in.
 I chose the latter.
On Thursday, when the rain held off for a while, we  explored the grounds, walking up the herbaceous borders, which promise to be quite a sight during the summer months. (Note to self, must return.)

We took a footpath beside the river to the small hamlet of North Bovey with its charming thatched cottages.
The pathway to the church had a happy combination of very old walling bound together with tree roots.
Then it was back to a bit of serious lounging in front of a log fire. Lounging happily in a comfy chair turned out to be the main activity of our stay, with a choice of equally pleasing rooms to flop in. Here is the banqueting hall with it's carved stone chimney breast and minstrel's gallery.

It's always interesting to see the decorative touches that hotels make for 'English Country Style'. We had mushrooms at both breakfast and dinner but luckily not these specimens!

The Adam room, in contrast, with it's decorative plasterwork, was light and delicate.

Another great place to flop!
I love Chinese hand-painted wallpaper. In an ideal world it would be decorating my living room in a fabulous light, bright yellow, permanent sunshine, with flowers, birds and butterflies. (Only the price and practicality is holding me back!) The dining room paper at the hotel is lovely and I could have gone around photographing every section.

I haven't mentioned the food.
How do you fancy some carrot cake with an orange jus, walnut ice-cream and white chocolate mousse? I did!
We woke on Friday morning to mist.
It drifted and hung about the landscape like smoke and I thought it very beautiful.
Hopefully I'm not too late to join Skywatch Friday for this week.

We drove home in misty, murky weather,
but with a warm glow after such a pleasant break - and a good session in the steam room and sauna!


  1. That looks like my kind of hotel. Is it pricey?

  2. What a lovely home and garden. I can only imagine what it would have been like living there when it was owned by one family!
    There is a quiet elegance in these estates. Did you feel a bit like The Lord and lady of the manor?

  3. Beautiful! Sometimes the best holidays are when we have no alternative but to relax!

  4. What a beautiful place. And Happy Birthday to Himself!

  5. What a stupendous gift. It all looks so cozy and luxe. I, too, am a bit bonkers about handpainted wall paper. We don't often see it around here. And I am a full on fogophile. Sooo pretty. Gosh. I love thinking about the old days when people used to dress nicely almost all the time. Now, around here anyway, everyone always looks like they're on their way to the gym. I guess it's up to us to keep up the tweeds and purple coats.

  6. What an amazing place. Thank you for sharing.

  7. What a beautiful hotel - and a wonderful house. And a great birthday. I'm shure, the hotel is very expensive, but something for us!


  8. Lovely pictures, I have heard of Dartmoor only in novels even though I have been to UK 5 times (work).

  9. What wonderful place to share a birthday weekend and explore! Loved "strolling" along with you, thank you! :-)
    The mushroom toadstools are quite an unique collection, and everything is so interesting to see.
    Happy Sky Watch,

  10. Wow, what a place to stay! In an ideal world I would spend my weekends there *LoL*. I really hope you will return in summer, just to show us that promising garden. Have a great week.

  11. What a fabulous getaway! I love a comfy chair by the fire. I was in England for a week last year for a friends wedding and really want to go back.