Ann Cleeves’ Crime Drama comes to Braunton

Boats anchored at Crow Point in the summer time.

Are you a fan of the TV Series Vera or Shetland? If so, you probably also watched the series Two Rivers the latest adaptation of an Ann Cleeve’s crime novel, The Long Call, and perhaps you read the book too? So you probably know this was set in North Devon and featured Crow Point.

Very local to The Gallery Lodges, Crow Point is the sandy ridge on the estuary where the two rivers – Taw and Torridge – meet the sea. In the novel, The Long Call, lead Detective Matthew Venn lives here with his partner and it is also the scene of a murder…

Ann Cleeves spent much of her childhood living in Barnstaple so her descriptions of the area and use of local places and geographical features have a great authenticity. Like Ann, we also love to escape to the expansive (and sometimes windswept) Crow Point, which changes mood with the coming and going of the tides and the big vista of the skies.

There was an ancient ferry crossing called the Pulchraffe Ferry which ran between Crow and Appledore until the start of WWII. The white house that occupies an envious position on the shore at Crow Point was a ferry house and its isolated location would certainly make a fitting home for DI Venn.

Crow Point was also the scene of a murder, and although, thankfully this idea is born of Ann Cleeves’ imagination, there are tales of a ferry master ghost. From the times of the ancient ferry crossing, it was told that if a man rang the bell to call the ferry over from Appledore he might be met by the frightening form of a ghost boat and black dog. So it’s probably a good thing the ferry no longer crosses this stretch of water to Appledore!!

However, you can still easily visit this beautiful area by car, on foot or by bicycle.

Crow Point – where the River Taw estuary meets the sea on the edge of the stunning Braunton Burrows Sand dunes.

There is a pretty toll road that leads from Vellator Quay, in Braunton along the edge of the marshes to the car park at Crow. Follow this link to a handy map of how to get there. . The road runs below an embankment which holds back the sea from the low lying marshes, and the coast path also follows on the top of this embankment. A recently breached area beyond the road, Horsey Island, has become a tidal flood zone and is now owned and managed by Devon Wildlife Trust for the birds. So if you enjoy bird watching don’t forget your binoculars.

View over to Appledore and Instow on the mouth of the River Torridge

If you are feeling a little more energetic Crow Point can also be reached down ‘The American Road’ – this old ferry way that linked the crossing with Saunton was widened and straightened by the American soldiers who were based in Braunton and trained at Crow Point and Saunton Sands for their assault on the Normandy beaches. This route is now a good cycle ride, and the way of the South West Coast Path.
The path is easily accessible from The Gallery Lodges and you can make a full circular route joining the coast path to Crow Point and around to Vellator Quay and back to Braunton village for refreshments.

Arrive by car, bicycle or on the South West coast path and then have an exploration!

For more scenes from The Two Rivers series you will probably also want to visit Ilfracombe and the harbour.

If you have a busy life and need to unwind like Matthew Venn, how about taking a swim off one of the beaches and feel the benefits of a cold water dip for your wellbeing? (On a precautionary note: We would of course always recommend swimming in a life guarded area and wear a wet suit if you are not used to cold water swimming).

Saunton Sands looking towards the Two Rivers Estuary

Or perhaps you would just like to settle down in one of the lodges, or behind a wind breaker on the beach and read the next crime novel in the series: The Heron’s Cry.

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