Dark Lane, Budleigh Salterton

There is a street in Budleigh Salterton (Devon, England) called Dark Lane, which my mother assured me we had to drive down.
So we did.
And I still have questions.

A few days later, I went back with my camera.
On the walk up from the center of town, there is a small lane where a stream cuts across the road, so the cars have to splash through, but the pedestrians have a bridge.

The entrance to Dark Lane is innocuous enough.
Just like every other small British lane, with hedgerows, hiding a home and some fields.

But once the trees blanket the sky, Dark lane suddenly becomes, well, dark.
It cuts through the land, through the red clayish soil.
And I don’t know why there is this furrow here. There seems no reason to cut a swath through the land, just for a small road, on the edge of a small town.
But then again, the reason might just be, because it’s beautiful.

With the trees growing together over head, and the road only wide enough for a small car, it is always twilight in this passage, the perfect place for locals to come and carve their names.

Or the love of a person whose name starts with L.

But my favorite is the roots climbing down the walls, like fingers trying to pry the chasm apart.

Or how somehow I suddenly feel like a Hobbit, or a Troll, living underground.

And then suddenly it ends, and the bright sunlight of a British November day awaits.

With a typical, highly photogenic, thatched barn just down the street.

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8 Responses to Dark Lane, Budleigh Salterton

  1. Ron says:

    What a fantastic series. Thanks. It does look like Hobbiton.

  2. anita says:

    omfg that is so lovely

  3. Michael says:

    I live in Budleigh Salterton, and really enjoyed looking at your photos and text about Dark Lane. It’s a really special place. Cars do use it, but perhaps they shouldn’t, being alien to the character of the lane.

    Haven’t discovered that thatched barn yet.

  4. I’m glad you liked the Dark Lane piece, although I feel a little guilty about the thatched cottage, it’s actually a little way from Dark Lane. Walking north out of Dark Lane, left after the cemetery, left on the B3178, right on Dalditch Lane, and it is just after going under the railway bridge on the right.
    If you have a moment, there are two other Budliegh entries on my blog.
    Once By Train: Walking From Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth
    The Beach at Budleigh Salterton

    Hope you enjoy,

  5. Michael says:

    Yes, I thought it was that thatched cottage up on the hill off Dalditch Lane. I’ll look at those other pages; I’m impressed by your interest in all the quirky little things in our corner of Devon, and your pictures have inspired me to get out more with my camera. My brother-in-law lives in Florida/Hawaii and when he and his wife come here they don’t really appreciate our weather. I was moved to write a Dark Lane piece on my blog, not that I’ve read any J.K. Rowling, but it is a really special place isn’t it? I’m trying hard to revive the link between Budleigh Salterton and Brewster, Ma, but it’s hard work!

  6. Cat says:

    Lovely pictures! I spend a lot of time sitting on that footbridge at the ford when I’m in Budleigh, dangling my feet in the water, so peaceful and relaxing!

  7. Neil says:

    Hi Ben
    I loved your blog. I live in Budleigh and have explored and photographed many of the areas around it. I have regularly walked up and down dark lane and also photographed it quite a lot. The reason that dark lane exists is because in years gone by this was the route used by smugglers travelling between Budleigh / Exmouth and the river Otter. Back in those days the river was quite a bit more of an established trade route and was used to export wool and flour from the town of Otterton. The continuous use wore down the track in the bank and it was then excavated late to provide a road. I love the shot of the roots as this is one of the many things that I have also photographed and placed on Google earth as well as other sites. If you are interested here are some of the photo sites that I have used.
    My Blog
    Photomaping site

    Well done on such a great blog and hope to keep in touch.

  8. I lived in Dark Lane House (just to the east of the lane) when I was around nine or ten. My father inherited the house from his aunt in 1949, and he and my mother retired there in the 1960s. I inherited the house after my parents died in the 70s, and visited it regularly until 2000 when the much loved tenant died. I then sold it.

    It was a very special place for me – and you will find my poem Dark Lane as one of the older posts on my blogspot (2008).

    I love your pictures – the place still tugs at me. Thankyou.

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