Guest blog by Duncan Peberdy
Back in April I surmised that when ‘lockdown’ was over, we would head to The Old Sweet Shop for some well-deserved holidays in Minehead Somerset. Unfortunately, that cottage was not available. However, rumours grew that from the 4th July the UK would start to emerge from the strangest of hibernations. As such, we hedged our bets on getting away to the neighbouring cottage – Pilgrim Corner. As a result, we booked that instead.
Exmoor Character Cottages and the Coronavirus
Everyone has their own perception of the COVID-19 risk. However, the attention to detail shown by Lucy and her team at Exmoor Character Cottages to make Pilgrim Corner as COVID-secure as possible was reassuring to us all. From the pre-arrival health questionnaire; to the clear labelling throughout the cottage; to the masked-hero who maintained the hot-tub each morning. Their approach is exemplary, and the considerable extra work and associated costs is reassuring. The peace-of-mind is worth every penny.
The garden at Pilgrim Corner comes alive in the summer with a tapestry of plants and trees in all shapes, colours, and sizes. Moreover, someone else gets to do all the hard work of maintaining it so we can enjoy it!
Minehead Restaurants Adapting Well to COVID-19
Some of Minehead’s cafés and restaurants were still to re-open, but those that were – and we supported the local economy by eating and drinking out more than we would normally do – had all put good measures in place to instil confidence. These included:
● Fewer tables
● One-way systems to ensure social distancing
● Ordering using a smartphone app to reduce unnecessary contact
● Sealed cutlery only placed on the table once food is ordered
Who knows for how long this might be our new normal? But it is surprising how quickly it becomes second nature. Holidays in Minehead Somerset are indeed a delight regardless.
All our favourite haunts – apart from Apple Tree Tea Rooms – were open. The Old Ship Aground in Minehead Harbour, The Luttrell Arms in Dunster. In addition, we even found a new oasis of calm in the garden of Locks Tea Rooms on Dunster High Street. And maybe it was just our imagination or the thrill of being cautiously out of lockdown, but the food everywhere seemed better than before.
A Little Book of Walks
With Minehead’s main beach not accessible to dogs in the summer months, we set ourselves the challenge to explore some of Lucy’s beautifully photographed guided walks. We wanted to see a bit more of what Somerset has to offer further along the coast and inland. With dogs in tow, we explored Tarr Steps near Dulverton, The Valley of Rocks adjacent to Lynton, and Horner Wood Nature Reserve a few miles inland from Porlock Weir. These all offer very different landscapes to each other and present various degrees of difficulty.
As Dunster Beach is still dog-friendly, on one sunny morning we headed off for our now customary walk to town and back. We enjoyed the added bonus of a sandwich lunch in Lock’s garden in the village. Above all, the low tide gave the dogs plenty of space and the opportunity to drain their energy levels on the return walk.
Keep Calm and Holiday in Minehead
Everyone is doing their bit to make Minehead COVID-friendly. For instance:
● Sections of the pavement along the Parade have been (temporarily) widened to enable greater social distancing
● The beachfront amusements also have one-way systems
● Signs everywhere remind us of the necessity to keep our distance from each other
● Visitors like ourselves respectfully queue, when required, at more than arms-length
● The hairdresser wore a PVC visor as she restored my hair to something a little more professional and a lot tidier than it had unwittingly become. In other words – holiday haircut bliss.
Thank you, Minehead, and especially the team at Exmoor Character Cottages for the care taken to make the new normal as accessible and safe as possible.
We will be back……
If you’re looking to book your holidays in Minehead Somerset, be sure to contact us to find out more! In addition, please continue to read more wonderful stories from guests about their experiences.