|Bedford Cottage - the fireplace was a highlight|
We spent our first day in the region exploring the national park, which covers 954 square kilometres and incorporates lots of open moors (think Wuthering Heights), numerous streams and rivers, wild wandering ponies, plenty of hills, and pockets of forest. We managed to take in all of it.
|Spot the Mr Bite...|
We ate lunch on that day at the deservedly popular Home Farm Cafe, which is on the western side of the park, just outside the town of Bovey Tracey. The cafe uses local, seasonal ingredients and slow-cooking techniques and it caters easily to vegan / vegetarian and gluten-free diets. The cafe website states that 85% of ingredients are locally sourced and nearly 70% are organic.
We enjoyed choosing meals from a varied menu, and settled on a vegan baguette with hummus and roasted Mediterranean vegetables (me) and a cheese and onion pastie (Mr Bite). The serves were generous and both meals would usually have come with green salad, crisps and coleslaw; my coleslaw was left off as it wasn't vegan. (Not all of the vegetarian dishes are vegan, but the staff were very helpful when I asked about vegan options.)
|Home Farm Cafe. Clockwise from top left: Cozy overflow seating;|
hummus and Mediterranean vegetable baguette; a doggy guest; sun-lit cheese and onion pasty
The interior of the cafe was cozy, and as the main seating area was crowded, we utilised an 'overflow' area that is also dog friendly (spot the dog above!). That area is in the upper level of a converted barn and we enjoyed the relative quiet and beams of sunshine there. We both enjoyed our lunches and I particularly liked the fresh wholemeal baguette - good bread really can make a meal.
We took in the Eden Project on our second day in our area, which is an enormous eco-friendly attraction that has received lots of publicity over the years. It incorporates self-sustaining rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, outdoor gardens, and plenty of hands on activities for children. The area was set up in an old clay pit, and it made me wonder what Australia could do with our old open pit mines when they are abandoned for mining purposes.
|Huge Eden Project complex|
We enjoyed Eden, but it is a pricey outing (£20 per adult, albeit with free annual entrance included in that if you wish). The rainforest biome was excellent and if you haven't experienced rainforests first hand, it would be a great insight into that type of scenery. However, we have experienced rainforests first hand, which meant it wasn't quite as novel for us. All in all, I'm glad we went, but it was a good rather than excellent attraction for us. If you have children, it is very well set up for them and in spring and summer the outdoor gardens would be more scenic. I'm also pleased to have supported the concepts that Eden promotes, so while the entrance fee was steep, it did at least go to a good cause.
|Eden rainforest biome - the pictures are a little hazy because it was so humid!|
There is a giant elevated viewing area, visible in the first photo and featured in the latter two.
One side note on the food at Eden: they have a great range of hot dishes, but I found they didn't have a large number of vegan-friendly choices and if you want a sandwich-type lunch then options are limited. There are plenty of spots for eating picnics, so if we went again I'd probably pack lunch food. As it was, we had snacks there but went on to eat elsewhere afterwards.
I shall share more of our adventures in a separate post, but suffice to say, we had a great brief break and it was a shame to return to normal routines today!
What have you been enjoying this week? And to my UK readers - have you visited the Eden Project?
The Home Farm Care is located in Parke, Bovey Tracey, Devon, TQ13 9JQ. Their website is http://www.homefarmcafe.co.uk/ or phone 01626 830016. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but opening times vary by season and day, so check before visiting.
The Eden Project is located at Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG. Their website is http://www.edenproject.com/ and it is cheaper to book tickets online than buy them at the gate. Opening times vary across the year, so check before visiting.