England – Luxury and Leisure
I was one week into my sabbatical and looking for places to get away and write. Drove down here from Bristol. Beauty of this city, having the truly enchanted and magickal lands of Somerset, Cotswold, Devon and Cornwall on my doorstep. Bovey Castle. If you didn’t know it was there you would never find it. The final leg of the drive takes you along narrow rural lanes where M.R.James would have had a field day with us in one of his Gothic tales. We passed through the twin gate posts of weathered stone, trundled along an expansive drive and turned a corner to behold… oh wow!!!, the words tumbled from my grinning lips. As we pulled up outside the magnificent entrance, a young man in full tweed livery strode out to greet us – escorting us to reception whilst others took away the car and handled our bags. If you’ve ever wanted a glimpse of how it may have felt to live in the heyday of the 1920s, then get yourself to Bovey Castle. More staff than you could shake a stick at, incredibly polite and genuinely interested in making sure you’re a happy camper.
The main building was built in 1907 in Jacobean style. The interior is of high quality, with paneled rooms and elaborately carved features. Extensions were built in the 1930s.
Reception have a small red book that guests can use. It contains five walks with vague instructions like walk down the lane for 400 metres, pass a white cottage and climb over the stile into a field, head roughly towards the middle of the far side to find another stile… which was great because sometimes you really had to work to find your way around the route. This one took us through some enchanted pathways, the long abandoned drives of medieval farms – sunlight lancing through the dense canopy above.
A May Pole! I’ve not seen one of these since school in the 1970s. I thought places had stopped using them after The Wicker Man…. the local village was unbelievably quaint. And the pub, the Ring of Bells… I could have been Basil Rathbone to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
An afternoon relaxing in the expansive lounge with the smell of wood smoke and a ticking clock.
There are lots of little nice touches at Bovey Castle. The wooden carry case crammed with everything you need to sit and enjoy the silence of your room whilst looking out across the courtyard or the moors.
I took advantage of the quiet morning and found myself a seat in the large library, deserted of anyone else. It’s great being here on Dartmoor. Such an evocative location. A great moment of synchronicity too, because last month I finished the first draft of my new novel Oakfield, which is a tense little story of horror unfolding at a mansion, set just outside a remote Cornish town near Bodmin moor. I’m leaving the book alone for a few weeks before starting the task of editing. So right now I am working on notes for a new book called Broken Fury – private military contractor Massimo Pandev finds himself on a gig in the north of Norway, running an executive kidnap from a tech company…
Here’s the view from where I am sitting. My leather notebook from Santiago in the foreground.
Amazing feeling of being totally disconnected from urban reality. Out here with nothing as far as they eye can see to remind you of your real life. Out here is fantasy, and a zen-like state of mental calm and bliss.
And of course, being out there with nobody around, the imagination roams and sometimes finds scenes suitable for horror. Dark and spindly passageways that lead to regions where otherworlds overlap and strange creatures reign…
See more posts like this – click