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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Car Tour 3 Salvage the Day

There have been other Car Tours in case you were wondering. Car Tour 1 started at Ashburton and ended up in the wilds of Dartmoor and Car Tour 2 started in Ermington and ended up in the wilds of Dartmoor. Hmmmm, there seems to be a theme running here because we ended up in the wilds of Dartmoor on this tour too.

Actually it is just a coincidence that the first 3 tours ended up on Dartmoor, as the book we are using covers South Devon which is in large part covered in bits of Dartmoor. We have others planned which do not though.

I called this post Salvage the Day because it is a sort of pun or word play on Save the day and Salvage. The day was not perfect and the book let us down, so the Salvage saved the day. We had been wanting to go to a particular marine salvage company for a while, and when looking at which car tour we were going to do next, we discovered that the salvage yard was right there on the route. That means Car Tour 3 starts at the salvage yard even though it doesn't feature in the book. It also replaces a church which we had trouble finding, then trouble parking at and then trouble getting in to, in a massive thunder shower, so I will have to go there another time.

We were looking for some salvaged bulkhead lights to repurpose as lights for the home and this place was incredible, importing massive amounts of salvage from India where the ships are broken up. Anything usable is removed from the ships and sold internationally. Here was everything you could imagine being on a ship, from lighting to signage to anchors and rope.

These were the bulkhead lights and they had hundreds of them, so we were literally spoilt for choice.

Some of the items were massive, including buoys from shipping lanes and warning lights.

Right down to the mundane wooden rowing oars probably from the lifeboats.

One of the staff saw me reading this sign and joked that he had bribed a Crown Official to give it to him.

Here are some watertight doors, now just trying to keep out the rain. I have always liked watertight doors, particularly if they are between me and the water.

This is a very large sign from the SS Norway.

Right next door to the salvage yard is this former station, now a very neat house and garden, with it's own elongated lawn filling the track bed between the two platforms. This photo was snatched on the old bridge that crossed the line here.

The Teign Valley line was a single-track railway line that ran from Heathfield, Devon, to Exeter via the Teign Valley. It joined the South Devon main line at Exeter City Basin Junction. The Teign Valley Railway Company was given Royal Assent in 1863 and opened on 9 October 1882, branching from the Moretonhampstead and South Devon Railway's station at Heathfield, to Christow.

The mineral traffic that had provided much of the line's revenues was also its downfall, as the quarries provided road stone for Devon's expanding and improving road network. In the 1920s and 1930s, the new motor bus services meant that passenger traffic dwindled. Flooding caused the line to be closed entirely between Christow and Exeter in 1961, following which the gradual withdrawal of freight saw the line finally close in 1967. Wikipedia

The small church of St Michael's in Doddiscombsleigh may appear nothing out of the ordinary both from interior and exterior, however, looks can be deceiving, and a number of the stained glass windows are the earliest to be found in situ in Devon outside of Exeter Cathedral. So much importance is placed on the glass in this unassuming property that it’s, in fact, a Grade I listed building.

Looks may be deceiving but the nearest we got was seeing the tower down the end of a long drive with closed gates so we were on this occasion very deceived and as a consequence we retired to the pub. The pub was the first we came to that looked like it would give a warm welcome, a welcome I never dreamed would include real fire and having my ears licked. We turned a corner and there it was, appealing, mainly for the fact it had a car park at the rear, this being a car tour.

This is The Poacher's Inn at Ide, below. The church opposite is St Ida's so I assume that is where Ide got it's name. Remember this was June and the real fire was burning in the grate. If you needed a hint at where you were this was it. If there is a real fire going in June, you know you are either on or near Dartmoor.

Only a month later and we are in a heatwave and today's headline states "Met Office gives first ever Red Weather Warning for Sunday and Monday." I innocently mentioned last week to someone from Illinois who some of you may know takes no prisoners, that we were in the middle of a heatwave. Her reaction was to laugh at us. Fair enough. That puts things in perspective. We now live in such a risk averse society that most official bodies want the entire population who have been in lockdown for two years, to take a few days off and sit in the shade or they may die. The teachers who were bemoaning the damage to children's education by government policies only a week ago now want the schools closed because the sun has come out and children may die

Facebook is full of shrieking people who really really care, unlike the rest of us, with messages like "If you take your dog out in daylight tomorrow, please wear a fur coat and no shoes, just so you know what it is like". Well a few points here for these ignoramuses, We are born without fur, dogs are born with fur, fur protects from sunburn. We are born with tender toes that need shoes, Dogs are born with thick leather pads, they walk in deserts and on ice floes. Do these idiots think that everyone living south of the English Channel, in the rest of the world, where it is nearly always hotter than here, only walk their dogs at midnight. Do the people of Illinois only walk their dogs at midnight? The other point is, when did these "animal lovers" start encouraging us to wear fur coats? They have spent forty years trying to stop us wearing them.

That first ever Red Weather Warning? Well the system was only introduced in 1988, so it's unlikely we would have had one before anyway as the last heatwave like this was in 1976. In 1976, everyone went to work, every child went to school, there was no Red Weather Warning, The water was switched off for half the day because supplies ran out and we acquired a Minister for Drought, and people kept walking their dogs.

Speaking of dogs, we were greeted here by two. I am not an expert but I think they were a Boxer and a French Bulldog. After we walked in they proceeded to go into a frenzy of fun fighting, chasing each other round and round in ever smaller circles while mock biting and growling at each other. After a few minutes they had tired themselves out and disappeared into dark corners.

We ordered drinks and something to eat and I sat on a dining chair next to a low sofa like the one in the photo. Suddenly I was attacked by the bulldog who had climbed the sofa like a staircase to stand on the arm on his hind legs and get his tongue into my ear. Luckily for me I thought it was quite hilarious and the little tyke melted my heart. When we left he was sunning himself out back, asleep, I almost kidnapped him.

The pub at the other end of this tiny village was called The Huntsman. It can't be a coincidence surely that there was a pub for both occupations in the one village, legal hunters of game and illegal hunters of game?

Dunchideock which I had always wanted to see as it is a sign we always passed on the A38 whenever we came to Devon, came and went, just like passing the sign on the A38. We blinked and then realised that a handful of buildings we had just driven past was it. I may go back there for a better look on a better day. I did say the day needed saving.

Now we are talking, a church we can find, and somewhere to park. Just one problem. Unusually, it is locked. Increasingly since Covid madness has receded we have found nearly every church we visit is routinely open. This for some reason was not. So this return visit is turning into more of a repeated Car Tour.

The unusually named Church of St Cyr & Julitta at Newton St Cyres.

The church is a Grade I Listed building with its earliest part dating from the 12th Century. Worship on the site spans over 1,000 years back to the Monks of Saint Peter’s Church, Exeter. Newton St. Cyres Church stands historically between the two religious centres of Crediton (2 ½ miles) and Exeter (4 ½ miles). The resulting interior is a thing of quite exceptional character. It has lightness, delicacy and openness that is appreciated by all those who visit the church. The best fittings, monuments and decorations of earlier centuries are retained. The church and churchyard contain visible heritage going back over 500 years.

I will leave any further description until I return when it is open.

This first part of the tour ends with an impressive sun dial on a different church, a more historic and grander affair which I will describe in Part 2. As the clock says Tempus Fugit, Time Flies, and as the weather was overcast and interspersed with heavy rain storms there is no time at all, we would have needed some sun for that. This is a very early example of the failure of green policies. If they had discovered electricity they would surely have used it.

There is a very rocky road ahead on the rest of this tour, rocks, each with their own stories, lost in the mists of time.

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Peter Smith
Peter Smith
Jul 06, 2023

Interesting salvage yard images, and I like the old station too. Always good to seem them survive with useful purpose.

Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Jul 06, 2023
Replying to

Yes it was a fascinating visit and probably very different if we went again, the variety of stuff was amazing.


Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Jul 17, 2022


Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

This is part one of this tour but I mentioned it in advance in my Odds and Sods for June, which is what you are remembering😊.

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