For Christmas I got a National Trust membership. It’s being a few years since I was last a member, but now looking forward to visiting new places and going back to places we have been to before.

Back in 2016 I did start to keep a note of how much we saved with the membership, but looking back over the blog, I never kept up to date with that, but with this membership I am intending to blog about the visits we do this year and the savings we made.


A family home and a great estate. Glorious landscape garden surrounded by parkland with fine 18th-century house.

Current saving £188.85

Family ticket £38.50

Parking £4.00

Total saving £42.50

Cumulative saving £365.15

Membership cost £133.80

Net cumulative saving £231.35

Continue reading “Killerton”


The last time I was in Lynton and Lynmouth was in September 2020, at the height of the pandemic. The previous visit was way back in 2011.

It was a sunny dry day and we headed to Lynton and Lynmouth.

This time I took the coast road and drove along the A39, past Minehead towards our destination. The road into Lynmouth is quite steep and narrow, but we got there in the end.

Parking was a challenge, but we did find a space. We took a walk around Lynmouth, popping into shops, before stopping for a disappointing cup of tea.

We then headed up the hill towards Lynton.

Lovely Lynmouth

I didn’t think it had been that long since I last visited Lynmouth, as we walked around the town, but checking my photographs (which is always a good indicator of when things happened for me) I realised that the last time we had visited Lynmouth was in 2011. Was it really nine years ago we had driven along the A39 along the coast to this pretty North Devon town? I felt we had been there more recently.

So it was a sunny Sunday in September when we thought it would be nice to visit Lynton and Lynmouth again. Once we were all ready we set off, Waze gave us directions via Tiverton and then up the A361, which in theory, though longer in distance, would be quicker than travelling along the A39. I am not quite sure it was. However I thought I would give this route a chance and it would be different. If we didn’t like it, I would drive back along the A39 past Minehead (which in the end is exactly what we did do). Driving this route I was reminded of our journey home once from the Barnstaple area many years ago where we got delayed by some trucks loaded with the huge blades of a wind turbine. The turbines always look small, but that’s because they are far away. Driving next to one reminds you how big these things are.

It wasn’t too long before we were directed by Waze off the A361 and onto the A399 and we headed towards Lynmouth.

What was nice, was as we passed Woody Bay Station we saw the Lynton & Barnstaple steam train. I had read about how the heritage railway now had a replica of the trains that use to run there in the 1920s before it closed and along with original coaches, looked very much the way it did when it was operating as a commercial railway. I would certainly like to visit there again in the future. Though we hadn’t been to Lynmouth since 2011, we had been to Woody Bay in 2014, but even that doesn’t feel like six years ago!

The road into Lynmouth is quite steep and narrow, but with care we got through the traffic and parked cars. Arriving at around lunchtime it was a little challenging to find somewhere to park, as the car park was not only quite full, but our car is quite big and the spaces didn’t seem big enough. We eventually found a space right at the end of the car park (typical).

You could tell how thing have changed since we last came, as I paid for our parking using an app on the phone! We grabbed our packed lunch and headed to the beach. Continue reading “Lovely Lynmouth”

Caracal – Desert Lynx

I am never surprised that you can learn something new. Last week I was at Exmoor Zoo and discovered a large cat, the caracal. I didn’t know such big cats existed.


The caracal (Caracal caracal), also known as the desert lynx, is a wild cat widely distributed across Africa, central Asia, and southwest Asia into India. In 2002, the IUCN listed the caracal as Least Concern, as it is widespread and relatively common. The felid is considered threatened in North Africa, and rare in the central Asian republics and India.

You don’t usually see them in zoos in the UK as they are not considered endangered. They are unusual in their appearance with their large ears.

I am no animal expert, nor even have a real interest, but do think I know what most of the big cats are, well I have used Mac OS X for the last few years. Having never heard of the caracal it makes you realise how diverse our planet is and how much there is to learn about it.