Docton Mill - a hidden treasure in North Devon

Visiting Docton Mill, Gardens and Tea Room yesterday was a wonderful note-to-self to visit at least once a season to experience the delights of this hidden treasure in North Devon. Located approximately halfway between Welcombe Mouth and Hartland Quay, this wonderful garden created by Iris and Norman Pugh in the 1970's and 80's, has much to offer the keen gardener as well as to those who are just as happy wandering and marvelling as opposed to engaging in the hard graft of digging and weeding.

The month of May brings an abundance of colour at Docton Mill - in amongst the borders are endless varieties of Aquilegia, otherwise known as Granny's Bonnet or Columbine, in an array of colours from deep burgundy, purple, shell pink, yellow and white almost turning to lime green centres. Mixed in the main borders of the garden are the deep red leaves of the Heuchera, the pretty dipping heads of many different varieties of Hellebore, otherwise known as the Lenten Rose, together with the soft grey leaves of Stachys, all providing a series of stunning contrasts.

Having walked the winding paths amongst the Rhododendrons, carpet of Bluebells and lace cap Hydrangea, what could be more relaxing than sitting and listening to the churning of the water wheel accompanied by the perfect Devon cream tea.

With energy levels boosted sufficiently by the delicious scones and clotted cream, the return walk back to Welcombe Coastal Barn via Speke's Mill and its stunning waterfall seemed a little less daunting. Wending one's way back over the cliff tops, via the South West coastal path, seems an appropriate and glorious way to end the day, not least to enjoy the delights of the setting sun creating natural spotlights through the clouds on nature's stage in the form of the Atlantic Ocean.