It Seemed A Good Idea At The Time
Using an historic variety of vehicles over the years …
… fbb’s lovely little local bus company, Axe Valley Mini Travel (no longer actually “Mini”), has run route 899 between Seaton and Sidmouth. Whilst Stagecoach 9A (Seaton to Sidmouth and Exeter) …
… follows the obvious main roads all the way, AVT runs via Beer and Branscombe.
The route is one of the unsung and little known delights of East Devon; why, even Roger French has blogged about a ride only a few weeks back.
So it was that fbb and his Mrs presented themselves at Marine Place (Seaton) on Friday last for the 1045. And, in good time, one of AVT’s finest (?) arrived to carry its merry load westbound.
It used to serve the worthy citizens of Nottingham.
The Marine Place shelter has deteriorated since Streetview viewed.
It is scruffy, messy and totally uncared for.
It was not a nice place in which to sit.
It was certainly NOT a positive advert for bus travel.
There was one positive, however. Devon County Council posts proper bus timetables, not those unhelpful lists of departures. Here are those for the Axe Valley routes.
Pity they weren’t stuck in the Frame properly; and a pity the various timetable frames were scattered around and not grouped together.
The bus stop flag has a list of routes, but too small for many to read.
AVT had, sensibly, posted their own bus stop “flag” stuck firmly on the glass in amongst all the unstuck remnants.
Oh, yes; the (un)real time display was showing blank – yet again.
Right on time off we set, up Castle Hill and aiming for Beer.
The “Castle” (fake of course) was once a private residence and is now the obligatory flats but most with a view to die for …
… even better from the upper floor apartments. The fbb’s did look at making a purchase thereof, but parking is limited and insufficient for all occupants, so punch-ups were likely!
One day, when he feels brave, fbb will research roads between Seaton and Beer
and be able to explain Beer Road, Old Beer Road …
… Beer Hill and New Road.
fbb suspect that this terrifying slope down the hill was once the main road into Beer …
… as it re-appears at the shop located on Beer Square. The road is called, ominously, Long Hill. Below is Long Hill from the lower end, being both long and a hill, but, fearfully, also being narrow!
Thankfully, the 899 follows the “New Road” to the Village Stores. This was the bus Roger French rode.
There are some very posh pads between Seaton and Beer including this Art Deco beauty …
… but fbb suspects that such properties will furnish few passengers for the humble 899.
The route onwards towards Branscombe involves an fascinating “loop” via an estate of houses which did not exist prior to the 1930s. It doesn’t really have a name, but one of the roads called Underleys serves as a focal point. Here is a pre-1930 map …
… set against today’s version.
The key is the long straight track disappearing off bottom left on both maps.
So, off we go, up the hill of mainly 1930s property …
… do nearly a U turn at the top with a view of rooftops just passed …
… then more housing on the uphill side.
We drop back down to the village, just passing Peco HQ, shop and Pleasure Gardens on the way down.
We shall meet Peco again soon.
From now, for a good few miles, the roads are decidedly thin.
We are making for visitor attraction Beer Quarry Caves …
… whereat bits of Salisbury Cathedral were chopped out! This bit obviously was not up to standard …
… so, after months of painstaking work, it was never delivered to whomsoever ordered it; and “the lads” had to start again.
Nothing is visible from the road, but on the way there is a delightful bit of social history to be experienced. We pass a line of much refurbished quarrymen’s cottages …
… which fbb thinks were once “back to back” houses. A little further on and, socially distanced in the pre-Covod style, we see the owner’s or manager’s premises …
… also much “done up”.
And so we continue to Branscombe.
Only we don’t!
For the time being, here is a map of our journey so far.
Next Branscombe Bus Bother blog : Tuesday 1st August