My Walk to Braunton Burrows on New Year’s Day

It was a cold and frosty day in North Devon on New Year’s Day and my husband and I went for a walk with my niece and her partner, and their dog, Piper. It was minus 5 degrees first thing, but by the time we started walking the temperature had risen to a balmy minus 2 degrees! This photo was taken at the start of the walk looking back across the estuary.

The sun was struggling to come out and the light was eerie. There were far more people around than I had ever seen there before. I suspect this was something to do with walking being one of the few things people can do during the Coronavirus lockdown, and the fact that it was New Year’s Day. This was the view out to sea.

Walking across the sandy terrain of the burrows felt quite unusual as the ground was covered in hailstones which were in no hurry to thaw. There was a lot of standing water which was frozen solid and, in one or two places, it was firm enough for the dog to run across without breaking it.

The army often uses this area for training and it’s not unusual for soldiers on manoeuvres to suddenly appear on the skyline and start running towards you. On other occasions you may find them creeping along the ground on their stomachs. When this happens they completely ignore your presence. However, today all was quiet. My niece walks her dog, Piper there a lot and we reckon the sight of her with her pink rucksack must spoil the atmosphere somewhat for the soldiers.

Braunton Burrows was used to train soldiers in World War II, and just before Christmas, a friend found a hand grenade close to the path where thousands of visitors walk every year. He rang 999 and the police arrived in no time and cordoned off the area. The grenade turned out to be live and had been uncovered in recent storms.

This is Crow Beach, looking very beautiful with the layer of hailstones which looked like snow. Although it was a cold day, fortunately there was no wind, and so it was a very pleasant walk along beach.

Along the beach there were some amazing pieces of driftwood. I would love to have this in my garden, planted with ferns and greenery. However, it was huge so no way was that going to happen! I’m sure I’m not the first walker to have thought that.


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