Lee Abbey and Lee Bay x

It has been blissful these last few weeks. There has been a ridiculous amount of sun and our holiday guests have loved it.

On a rare afternoon, we even managed to pretend we were on holiday too! I am going to share our adventure with you. Like every good adventure it should start with competitive croquet with friends. 

We then jumped in the cars and drove for about 40 minutes through some gorgeous Devon lanes towards Lee bay.  There are actually two 'Lee bay's' in our area, about 20 miles apart. Both are gorgeous. This Lee bay is a privately-owned beach, but anyone can use it. It is owned by Lee Abbey.

Here is a bit of history about Lee Abbey: 
In 1199, Henry de Tracey, a Norman knight, gave the manors to the Cistercian Abbots of Forde Abbey in Dorset and they held the land for about 340 years, possibly building a farmhouse where Lee Abbey now is.

In 1628, the land was now in the hands of a certain Hugh de Wichehalse, who came to escape the Barnstaple Plague, and repaired and enlarged the farmhouse at Ley. 

Legend has it that Jennefried, the heiress to Lee Manor, was due to marry here until on her wedding day she discovered that her faithless lover had married another. Through the night she wandered in grief, and when dawn came, her body was found by the waters edge. (the pic below is called 'Jenny's leap').

This beautiful tea room (The Lee Abbey Tea Cottage) is at the top of the hill from the beach. 
On the menu are cream teas, home-made cakes, drinks, ice creams and light lunches. All these are served by the resident Lee Abbey Community in a beautiful tea garden nestled in the valley by one of the estate’s two bubbling streams.

Lee Abbey is now run by a Christian community. Ninety people live and work there from nineteen different nationalities and a variety of ages. They run courses and retreats for the general public to attend.

As you approach the beach you pass beautiful historic houses, like this one. In fact, the car park is near to this house, at the top of the short hill that leads to the beach.

Yes we were definitely at the right beach.

It is a sweet little bay and we had it almost all to ourselves, despite it being August.

I was very grateful for this as I am currently hobbling with a torn tendon in my ankle and I did feel slightly self conscious as I clambered over the rocks and sand. 

Everyone (except for Zac and I) threw themselves into their wetsuits and dived into the water.

I have discovered a love of wild swimming last year, and although my heart was willing (it was actually) my flesh (Tendon) was weak....literally. 

Zac (most unusual for him) did not go in, due to the very recent 9 HOUR SURF he did upon leaving Primary School. The rubs from his wetsuit would make you wince..and they are everywhere.

We watched the gang as they mounted a large rock,

and took it in turns

to jump off.

They then decided to swim across the bay,

to explore a cave they could see.

While Zac and I sat with our feet up, reading the second 'Hunger Games' book (which is gripping by the way).

The cave had too great a sea-swell going on inside, so they opted for sunbathing on the rock instead.

There was a hilarious moment when our friend came out of the sea and her daughter kindly thrust her the hooded beach towel....which she promptly got stuck in. 

In case you couldn't see it well, here's a close-up.

As the last few people left the beach, the evening sun was there just for us.

We walked up to the top, towards this gorgeous-sounding place.

We found a great little sheltered place to set up the BBQ's.

With a beautiful view,

we watched the sun go down,

while chomping on a burger

and enjoying a nice cold beer.

And for pudding? The old favourite. Perfect post a swim in the sea.

Always goes down a treat.

All-in-all a special day with special friends.

The drive there was magical,

The views spectacular,

but I have to say, when push comes to shove....nothing beats Putsborough beach.