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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Bolberry Down

Originally published by Gethin Thomas NOVEMBER. 07, 2020

[94-365] 7th. November 2020- This tree tells you all you need to know about Bolberry Down. High, rocky, windswept, exposed, it's all of those, but today it was 21 C and with a light breeze. Just perfect for the fantastic views.

Here the National Coast Path hugs the cliffs sometimes alarmingly so, as you can't quite tell how near the edge you are or how steep the fall would be.

The promontory here is called Bolt Tail and there is an Iron age fort there some 2,500 years old, which is of a type more commonly found in Cornwall. That will be the subject of a post when I get that far along the path. Defended by a rampart 270m long and 4.6m high, it commanded a strategic position overlooking Bigbury Bay, with a natural harbour at Hope Cove. The headland has also been used for a coastguard lookout.

Of the many ships wrecked on its rocks, the 90-gun warship Ramillies, in a February hurricane in 1760, is by far the most tragic. Over 700 people died when the gale pounded the vessel to pieces in an inlet now named after the wreck, and cannon balls are still found by divers today. Tragedy of a different order occurred in December 1896, when the Russian tanker Blesk hit the Graystone. In the world's first major oil spillage, 3,180 tons of petroleum killed marine life from Bigbury to Prawle Point.

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