Our last day in Croyde started with breakfast at the Thatch, followed by a final stroll down to the beach. Even though the sea was calm and we wouldn’t be missing any surfing, we felt sad at having to leave Croyde after a great stay.
The plan for the return journey was to carry on our journey up the A39 from the previous day. I had driven the A39 from Barnstaple to Minehead in the Fiat 500 last year, and was looking forward to returning in something sportier. Rather than driving to Barnstaple, I decided we should cut across the back roads from Braunton, which despite being more direct, ended up taking longer, due to the narrow roads. It didn’t really matter though; part of the fun of roadtrips is exploring!
After eventually joining the A39, we continued past Lynton and Lynmouth and up onto Exmoor, stopping a few times to take in the scenery and leave a good gap to the traffic in front so the MX-5 could stretch its legs on the brilliant moorland roads. After descending Porlock Hill the A39 resumed it’s character from the day before; varying from narrow country road to wide A road and keeping us entertained.
When we got to Bridgwater, we kept off the M5 and continued to our planned lunch stop at Cheddar Gorge. I’d not been there before, so wasn’t sure what to expect, and was a bit disappointed to see all the tourist shops and cafes. We only stopped long enough to buy some ice cream to cool us down (it was one of the hottest days of the year and we had the roof down on the MX-5) and some cheddar cheese to take home. Suitably cooled down from the ice cream we continued through the gorge on the B3135, which was a great bit of road, only spoilt by the traffic. I imagine it would be a great road for an early morning hoon before all the tourists get there!
Leaving Cheddar Jen navigated us the country route to Chippenham and from there I knew the way back through the Cotswolds from my previous trips to Castle Combe race circuit. Rather than heading back to Coventry, we continued up the Fosse Way to Nuneaton, as it was Jen’s Dad’s 65th birthday! We spent a lovely evening relaxing in the garden, then a family meal out in a local pub – a great way to end our long weekend!
Total mileage: 676