The whole of North Devon is basking in autumn sunshine, the weather has been set fair for many days now and is set to continue for the next ten days. There is no better time of year for a country stroll or a round of golf before the clocks go back and the evenings drawing in. In other words, make the most of this while we can.
If it was the fishing season I would be out on the river, so when asked out bass fishing last Thursday, on a boat from Ilfracombe, it was an offer I just couldn’t refuse. A calm but overcast day was forecast, but it was much better! The views as the sun rose were remarkable and we could see some 20 miles each way. The North Devon coastline is some of the most inaccessible in England although truly spectacular, particularly when viewed from the sea.
It was a successful day for all. Returning most fish alive, although keeping just a few for the pot. There was one other boat out that day, but our main competition was the large grey seal that popped up on a couple of occasions, with bigger bass than we caught! The sky was busy with Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Skuas, and migrating swallows. The sea fishing off North Devon is exceptional, especially for bass at this time of year. Boats normally take 6 rods and we can arrange days out, if I have whet your appetite. It is always best to charter the boat for the day.
Walking from Highbullen is increasingly popular, with guests taking advantage of the many there are many walks, mostly circular, from the Hotel for all to enjoy. The leaves are falling to reveal more of the countryside and increasing the chance of encountering the local wildlife.
As all of North Devon and Somerset is reverberating to the Red Stags bellowing in the rut, there is no better time to see them. I’ve had a great chance to get up and out before sunrise and head to a local hot spot. The stags here have been bellowing for over a week now and are concentrating on just maintaining discipline in their harems of hinds. I am happy to take guests out to see and get close to our largest land mammal, it’s a truly magical nature experience.
The fine weather has also kept the Course well, and buggies have been out for the last week. Oli has now finished turfing around the new outside draughts set and has started on preparing the gardens for the onset of winter – the fruits of autumn’s labour will be appreciated by guests in the spring. Oli spent the summer working hard to propagate the many Rhododendron and Azaleas around the estate, the benefit of which should be seen over the coming years. If this weather continues, who knows, he may even get the new herb garden well underway this autumn.
by Chris Taylor, Fieldsports Manager, Highbullen Hotel