Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Beer and hill walking in Pulman's Country

CONGRATULATIONS to the organisers of the first ever Seaton beer festival. 

Rather than put all the brews in one place, the real ale enthusiast was encouraged to explore the town with a variety of tempting beverages on offer around Seaton's many hostelries.

The Malt House embraced the idea the most, offering 16 additional ales and ciders over the weekend as well as laying on some entertainment. 

But everyone joined in and my personal favourites included St Austell Brewery’s Ruck & Roll pale ale (which was being served at The Vault) and Cardiff beer Hancock's HB bitter (that went down a treat over at PJ’s).

Billed as the town’s “winter beer festival”, the focus was on darker beers and, as great as they were, I’m already looking forward to all those golden ales that will be on offer when the sun in shining at the planned summer festival later in the year.

* * *

THE weekend before last I took the chance to explore one of the many walks that have been created by the Blackdown Hills AONB. 

‘The Valleyheads Way’ takes you on a 12 mile expedition across the Blackdowns, showing off the area’s beauty and the rivers Culm, Otter and Harty along the way.

It was a chilly, windy day, and all my layers of clothing stayed on despite the length of the hike and the steep, muddy ascents any walk in the Hills would naturally include. 

But it was all worth the effort to take in the likes of the magnificent vista across the Culm Valley from Ridgewood Hill and the stately grounds of Burnworthy Manor, near Churchstanton. 

It was hardly the most direct route from Hemyock to Staple Hill, but it was certainly the most scenic.

If you’re feeling up to the challenge, I heartily recommend it! Find out more at www.blackdownhillsaonb.org.uk, where you can also get the lowdown on this and other walks - including a few shorter ones!     


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