A valley of rocks, which seemed to be stacked precariously on the very edge of the sea. Great chunks of rock with sheer edges, bizarre angles and strange formations, all moulding beautifully into the greenery around them; dark, romantic green meets harsh, deep grey and jet black. This is one of the most otherworldly places I’ve visited yet in England, or should I say, one of the most foreign seeming places; it felt like somewhere I’d find in New Zealand, but I was gazing across the sea at the Welsh Coast.
Looking down was pretty amazing too, right down a sheer cliff into dark blue waters, and even catching a glimpse of the round, grey heads of seals bobbing below. There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen too; birds, seals, people’s adorable dogs (!), but also wild goats. We only saw them from a distance, hopping up and down a steep scree slope, munching on plants you didn’t even think were edible, let alone desirable grazing. The best part is, the walking is pretty easy and accessible – if you go a bit further down the coast, that’s not necessarily the case. It can get a bit steep, but it’s all very walkable, and if you feel like being a mountain goat yourself, there are some fun spots to do a bit of bouldering. It’s a wonderful feeling, even for someone as scared of heights as me, to be blustered around on a cliff top so high you feel like you’re on the edge of the world.
The tiny towns of Lynton and Lynmouth are gorgeous too – if it’s your first time in the UK, please go there. Beautiful rows of white cottages, backing onto steep, lush hillside, with a river running in front and the sea metres away. There is a really cute, small seaside town feel here, with coloured bunting, cawing gulls, cobbled streets and fish and chip shops on the water’s edge. The funicular railway from the top of the hill to the bottom (or vice versa, let’s be honest) is great fun too. I’d love to hire a little cottage here, eat fish and chips in the evening, go walking in the hills during the day, paddle in the river and maybe even head out to Exmoor for a day trip. And there must be a very good pub here too – no English village is complete without a pub.
If you follow the river back inland you walk through some lovely forest and eventually come across a waterfall too, well worth a look and with a beautiful, big National Trust hotel and tea rooms in a shady glade. It’s the perfect British day out but with amazing, alien rock formations which just made my inner geographer grin.