National Geographic : 1963 Aug
open-top-deck bus to the fascinating village of Cockington. Well, not quite, for Cocking ton is right out of this world. Public transport is not allowed to enter the village. Cockington's famed blacksmith sells brass pixies now, but the smith can still shoe horses, and does. His smithy is festooned with cards bearing visitors' names from the ends of the earth. Everybody who goes to Devon sees Cockington. To us, it had almost a film-set look. But Cockington is real, and has been real for a long, long time. Records indicate that the De Cockington family had already settled here in the 12th century. Blood-red Cliff Looms on Coast We sailed again at dawn. It was one of those perfect mornings with a gentle soft air coming up from the south, mild and pleas ant, barely enough of it to move the galley smoke. We were all up to enjoy the view and bask in the balmy weather. At first the Devon coast was half hidden in a summer mist, from which it slowly be gan to emerge-very slowly, as if allowing us to take in at one time only as much as we could properly appreciate. The sun came up with a rose-pink tinge, Names out of Alice in Wonderland identify look-alike beach huts at Beer. Rain keeps vaca tioners indoors. Even the Welsh corgi takes shelter. 254 and the last of the mist rolled inland. We were drifting with bare steerageway past a high cliff, and its red face gleamed as if warming to the early sun. According to local tradition, this was be cause the cliff was stained with the blood of Devon men and Danes who had died fight ing there in the days of the Viking raids. All that South Devon coast is fascinating. We sailed around for weeks, touching at the tiny port of Beer, a fishing village noted not for breweries but for the skill of its women folk at making hand lace. They told us that Queen Victoria's wedding dress was fash ioned there, and she was particular. At Beer, the red rock of Devon becomes mixed with the white cliffs of England. It is odd how the white chalk, so familiar up-Channel around Dover, stops abruptly here. Yarns of smugglers and of wrecks are still told around Beer. Bovey House, a large Eliza bethan residence near Beer, has a hiding place inside one of the chimneys. Another has been found 30 feet down in the side of a 180-foot well shaft in the grounds. Around all Devon, almost any old house, any cliff or cave, any gnarled old stone out crop can throw a piece of history at you, of OME(ABOVE) BY ROBERTB. GOODMANAND KODACHROMEBY ALAN VILLIERS © N.G.S. Holiday horde soaks up the summer sun at a Babbacombe beach. Cliff walks link Babbacombe to other protected beaches in the Torquay area.