We often hear the saying, “Go for it and don’t look back!” or “Keep your eyes on the prize!”. There are even songs written about it.
I am in the 6th week of a 6 month journey and I have learned that looking back is important; metaphorically and literally. We need to look back to acknowledge where we have come from; to honor what we have overcome; to praise what we have accomplished; …. and sometimes to see a beautiful view that we would have missed otherwise.
The walk along the 4.5 km section of the Coastal Path from the hillside town of Clovelly is a perfect example. It starts at the top of the cobblestone path that goes down into the charming pedestrian town of Clovelly.
Clovelly is a small village in Devon on the Bristol Channel. Since the 13th century, for almost 800 years, the village has been privately owned by three different families. Today the estate is owned and run by the Rous family who have owned the village, estate and manor house Clovelly Court since 1738. Every home in the village is owned by the family and is available for rent.
The village is noteworthy for its steep cobblestone streets and its donkeys. The village main street is not accessible by car. Deliveries used to be made by donkey, but today they are made by sled. In fact you will see outside of each home a sled of some kind. Although this appears quaint, it isn’t for tourists, but rather is a matter of practicality. Goods are delivered by being pulled down on a sled from the upper car park, and garbage is collected by being pulled down the hill to a vehicle at the harbor.
One aspect about this village that is really nice is that it is “lived in”. While walking on the narrow steep walkways in the village, you are passing by the homes of the residents with their pets sitting out on front step and the fresh smelling laundry drying on the clothesline. It is a “real” village in a unique setting and not a cute little tourist stop off the highway.
The Coastal Path walk follows a heavily forested narrow path and then up into a clearing. The day we were there two horses were grazing as we reached the clearing. After spending time getting acquainted with them and even scratching the nose of one of them, we went further up the path towards a lookout point.
It was getting late in the day and we were only half-way and still had the return trip, so we were in a little hurry to keep going. However, I remembered that I had promised myself to occasionally stop, turn around and look back ……. and what a view it was! Unbeknownst to us, the clearing had brought us to a high enough point to see the valleys and fields in the distance.
So every now and then, stop and look back, you just never know what you will see!
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