Bridge Cottage, Peppercombe
In the evening at Bridge Cottage I found a little book on the library shelves :
“Midway down the valley , deep in the woodland beside the first of the bridges , stands Bridge Cottage. Built about 1830 of stone and cob, it has stood derelict for years, suffering the onslaught of both weather and casual vandalism. Now pink -washed and with a good thatched roof and chimney once more, it is home to holidaymakers throughout the year. Christmas sees fairy lights at its tiny windows and woodsmoke coming from its chimney.
Bridge Cottage sketch by Kerry Garrett
Summer sees its doors and windows standing open to the sunlight, the woodland views, the birdsong, the splash and babble of the stream let as it cascades under the bridge by the cottage and onwards down the rocky slope. Mary Elizabeth , aunt to a very old friend of mine Eileen Tucker (who was born in Peppercombe) , lived in Bridge Cottage for a good 60 years. She came there as a bride in 1910 or thereabouts , and only left in the 1970s when she went to live with her niece. It was Mary Elizabeth who planted – tilled is the more usual word in these parts – the rhododendron and the lilac by the cottage that still bloom so richly when spring comes.” [1996. Prominent Press for Sappho Publications]
But before I settled down to read that book in the cosy sitting room with its glowing fire (its woodsmoke coming from the chimney!) I had been for a walk right along the valley to the sea. Entry to the lane from the main road at Horns Cross is by padlocked gate and I walked down to the cottage from there.
Map showing Peppercombe and surrounding areas
From the cottage the track goes down, down, down passing some other properties (also holiday cottages but part of the National Trust portfolio) :
Coastguard Cottages (NT)
As the view opens up and the sea is revealed there on the left is an unusual building. It looks like a cricket pavilion and is painted brown and cream like the old Great Western Railway livery. It’s Castle Bungalow. Another Landmark Trust property. No-one was there so we crept around it and peeped through the windows. (Perhaps it should count as number five and a half?)
“Castle Bungalow enjoys magnificent views of the coastline from the verandah. The bungalow reflects a more recent strand in Peppercombe’s history. Since the early 19th century, there has been a growing appreciation of it as a place to be valued for the beauty of its scenery. You can enjoy the views from inside this 1920s Boulton and Paul bungalow from the snug wood-lined rooms and lattice windows.” [source]
Like me, the Castle Bungalow comes from Norwich! Boulton and Paul, the manufacturer, was a well-known and thriving industry when I was growing up there in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Landmark Trust handbook says : A catalogue in the Boulton and Paul archive advertises Residences, Bungalows and Cottages ranging from a substantial six-bedroom house on two storeys (at £4,000) to Bungalow B49 with just a bedroom, a living room and a verandah (in case you should live in the tropics). This, with brick foundations and carriage paid to the nearest goods station cost just £280.
The Castle Bungalow Welcome Tray (through the window)
As it says in the Boulton and Paul website link above “Nothing too big, too small, or too difficult, was outside the scope of their ingenuity.”
Drawing of the bungalow from the Peppercombe history book
The Southwest Coastal Path national trail passes along the coast here and we couldn’t resist joining it for a while to get a view of the Castle Bungalow in its setting and, of course, just sit on a quiet bench and contemplate the sea and the sky and peaceful scene in front of us. In the other direction, beyond the bungalow, the path heads towards nearby picture-postcard Clovelly.
Castle Bungalow and the sea from the SW Path bench
I spent just one night as a guest at Bridge Cottage … I hope the Christmas Landmarkers will bring fairy lights for the windows!