Murder and Moor

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Yesterday we went to Greenway, the late murder mystery writer Agatha Christie’s summer residence on the south coast of Devon, now cared for by the National Trust.

It’s not a place you can just drop in to on passing. This trip has to be planned. Driving to Greenway is not actively encouraged and having done it I can maybe see why. The last few miles through narrow village and country lanes are fairly tortuous. But arriving by boat is a no-no for me and, quaint as it is, we didn’t want to be tied to the schedule of the bus.

 
 

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So driving it was. The car park has to be pre-booked. Once at the gatehouse though, how welcoming they are. The cheerful gate keeper not only had our booking, but knew about our lunch reservation too: lunch served in the old kitchen of the house itself, complete with Aga.

 
 

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It’s so easy to imagine Agatha relaxing here. The only Body In The Library is a first edition copy of her book. Thank goodness. (Photography is not allowed inside.)

The gardens and grounds are set out across a steep slope. Ah-ha.. inspiration here perhaps?

 
 

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Paths zig zag up and down the hill, through areas like the Camellia garden. The planting is naturalistic and soft, much of the slope having been left to grow wild. Grasses and ivy abound.

 
 

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Down to the boathouse and battery, for gorgeous views across the river Dart.

 
 

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Back up to the walled garden and the peach house.

And from there, across the top of the estate for the most glorious view of all..

 
 

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The Dart estuary, looking down towards Dartmouth.

Can you see the puff of smoke above the wooded headland centre left? It comes from a train on the Dartmouth steam railway. We stood for awhile and watched it make its way across the front of the hill.

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It was such a fine sunny day that we added an extra excursion to our trip, a drive across Dartmoor.

For Em:

 
 

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Dartmoor ponies, so cute!

 
 

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Do you like my new look?

 
 

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A great way to finish the day.

 
 
 
 

2017-11-17T18:44:53+00:00 July 6th, 2013|Tags: |

46 Comments

  1. Spectacular. Thanks for sharing your day. I would love to visit that part of England. Maybe someday.
    I’m sure you got much inspiration from the landscape there.

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      Days out have tended to be few and far between, yet there are so many inspiring gardens around us.. something we intend to rectify this year!

  2. Jill. July 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    That rock formation gets painted a lot! Never been but recognised it instantly!

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      I can see why, it is quite striking. On which note I wouldn’t want to be sitting under it in a gale.

  3. Malarkey July 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Looks like a perfect day out to me. Love the green bus! And that peach house! What a magnificent building.

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      They still use it as a greenhouse for succulents and exotics. I was a bit disappointed to see the walled garden grassed over though, was hoping for a rich bounty of veggies and lots of growing ideas!

  4. Rosie July 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    How wonderful! We intended to visit Greenway when we were in the area a couple of years ago but it seemed so complicated to get there and then we ran out of time. I’d love to go back one day and visit so it was interesting to read about your experience of driving there:)

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      I would guess they’ve had concerns from locals, I can see how the small villages around would get congested. But it is well worth a visit, it does just need planning ahead. Booking online was no problem and the car park is larger than I expected it to be. I would recommend lunch in the old kitchen (book this too).. a rather more relaxed affair than the usual scrabble at an NT cafe, although they have one of those as well.

  5. Sue July 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    I’ve just been listening to a dramatisation of The Sittaford Mystery which is set on Dartmoor in winter. Sounds like a marvellous day.

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      What a coincidence!
      I love driving across the moor in winter too.. it feels so wild and remote. Agatha Christie would have got a lot of inspiration there I’m sure.

  6. haggiz July 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Looks like a fantastic day out, the view of the Dart and the peach house are my favourite photos. Is that a punk sheep with it’s ear pierced and the mohican cut? Julie x

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      This one was positively neat, as punky sheep go!

  7. rabbitquilter July 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Your photos bought back lovely memories! We did a ‘Round Robin’ the week before last! Got the steam train from Paignton to Kingswear (a lot of folk got off the train obviously visiting Greenway, it is on my list for next time!) Then we got the ferry to Dartmouth, a couple of hours and lunch, and on up the river to Totnes by boat, we weren’t able to go on the paddle steamer, (again, next time!!) from Totnes, an open-top bus back to Paignton!! It was a wonderful day!! Even the weather was good to us!! You live in a beautiful part of the country, lucky you!!!!

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      That sounds wonderful! I think we saw the paddle steamer go past.
      It is lovely down here, I must admit. We really don’t explore enough, but that must change. Next week we plan to go down to St Ives, before the mad rush begins!

  8. Justine July 6, 2013 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    What a coincidence – hubby and I are off to Greenway on Thursday! Thanks for the tip on booking lunch in the kitchen (but would it be rather warm on a day like today, do you think?)

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      I wouldn’t think it would be too warm – it didn’t look like the Aga was in use. The cafe has the bonus that you can sit outside, but there didn’t seem to be much shade, unless they have umbrellas that they put out. I just prefer the no-hassle factor of food being served, but be warned the portions are quite large, my veggie filo tart especially.

      • Justine July 7, 2013 at 7:52 am - Reply

        I shall make sure I don’t eat any breakfast then! Or else take a Tupperware box for my leftovers…

        • Jessica July 7, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

          It depends on your appetite obviously. But did I mention the chocolate brownie and clotted cream? Or Eton Mess?

  9. countrysidetales July 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Ah ha! We are coming to Dartmouth later this summer so will have to think about a visit. Fab pic across the harbour mouth

    • Jessica July 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      It was the most spectacular view.

  10. woolythymes July 7, 2013 at 12:50 am - Reply

    what a great outing!!!! Can’t you just picture Agatha walking those ground?!

    • Jessica July 7, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Absolutely Steph. Perfect place for writing too.

  11. BadPenny July 7, 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

    What a beautiful part of the country & a lovely outing. I’ve seen that little train when camping with friends many many years ago !

    • Jessica July 7, 2013 at 10:17 am - Reply

      It is lovely on the South Coast. As we haven’t had a day out in a while we thought we’d try and get in before the summer crowds. Only just made it!

  12. Wendy July 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    This looks a lovely place to have summer residence. Lucky Agatha Christie!

    • Jessica July 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      Idyllic Wendy. Occupying its own mini headland, very peaceful. The boathouse is delightful, a summer sitting room with balcony overlooking the river.

  13. Crafty Gardener July 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    What an amazing place to visit. I love Agatha Christie books, especially Miss Marple and Poirot. I’m sure you had a wonderful day out.

    • Jessica July 7, 2013 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      We had intended to go a week earlier, but the car park was closed because a film crew had taken it over, filming the next Poirot!

  14. starproms July 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Beautiful pictures and what a wonderful place. Perhaps anyone could be a writer, given the right place? like that one? Just gorgeous. Thank you for these wonderful pics Jessica.

    • Jessica July 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      That’s an interesting question. Could anyone be a writer? Maybe only a few can be truly great writers.

  15. Jo July 8, 2013 at 11:23 am - Reply

    What a spectacular view. It sounds like a fabulous trip, so interesting to see both the house and grounds. I used to read a lot of Agatha Christie when I was younger but haven’t read anything of hers for many years now, I don’t know why as I used to enjoy her books.

    • Jessica July 8, 2013 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      I have to confess I don’t think I’ve ever read one..

  16. Anny July 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Well I can’t help thinking she did well to do any writing there – if it was me, I’d have too much fun in the garden or on the water. They made them of sterner stuff in those days…

    • Jessica July 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      Maybe she sat on the seat above the estuary and mulled over some ideas. But shutting herself away with a typewriter, I hope not!

  17. knitsofacto July 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Ooh, what fun! And those views … what a perfect place to spend one’s summers. I wonder how much writing she actually got done while in residence.

    • Jessica July 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      The typewriter is in a little room off the bedroom so maybe, like me, she got most of her inspiration in the middle of the night!

  18. Denise July 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    I can picture many a murder there.

    • Jessica July 8, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Only the odd captain of a tourist boat perhaps, when they got too close..

  19. lynda kling July 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks! It all goes on my places to see list! When we are in the UK we are usually running around with the grandchildren, but have been trying to make a point of blocking out traveling around time!

    • Jessica July 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      It’s so easy just to stay put. We have to make a point of blocking out free time for touring too, but it’s almost always worth it when we do!

  20. snowbird July 8, 2013 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Oh my….those Dartmoor ponies are to die for!!! What a FAB day out, I loved the gardens and the views, what a shame they wouldn’t allow pics inside…I would have liked to see indoors, but that is the case more and more often these days. Fab post!xxxx

    • Jessica July 8, 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      The ponies are gorgeous aren’t they.. didn’t seem too perturbed by us either, even when we got out of the car. I had expected Mum to chase us off!

  21. Sarah July 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    It was wonderful sharing your lovely day out with us. I haven’t been to Greenway but it is on our list of places to go. I didn’t realise it was so difficult to get to by car. It looks such a beautiful setting. I loved your pictures of Dartmoor, it is one of our favourite places to visit, particularly in the sunshine.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica July 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      It’s not really difficult, just a bit of a hassle, what with having to book etc. And if you go in peak season when there’s a lot of traffic around. Don’t be put off, it’s worth it.

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