Edward Explores: North Devon

Northcote skull

Edward has recently been on an active holiday, making the most of the fine autumn weather to join his bearers on walks in North Devon. He stayed in the grounds of a former monastery – you may read about the fine hotel where he ate and slept here. He was a tad concerned about the skull he found in the garden but then it is now spooky season. Perhaps an ancient monk is preparing for Samhain.

Edward likes to tell his friends back home of his adventures. Charlie, a lively little Steiff bear, had been asking if he could come along on one of these exciting sounding trips away. Charlie can be quite a handful at times, but it was decided that he could join Edward. Both welcomed the company when not out and about.

The Devon countryside has many undulations. Edward particularly enjoyed walking the Tarka Trail and then ascending Codden Hill. He sat in the sun for some time enjoying the views from the summit, only leaving when a large dog approached. Edward likes dogs but from a distance as he’s never sure what they might do to him!

Walks through woodland were also enjoyed. In one conifer plantation – not Edward’s favourite type of wood as he prefers variety and native trees that better support diverse ecosystems – he came across a large stone. Apparently the late Queen had been here before him. Her tree has grown well in the interim.

After his exertions it was important to refuel. Afterwards, Edward would retire to his bedroom to tell Charlie all about his day. Charlie could have joined him in the restaurant but it turns out he is actually quite shy with strangers. The prospect of being noticed, as Edward always is, was a worry. He preferred to stay safe in bed each evening, waiting for his friend’s return.

Edward also explored the hotel and met its resident bear who sits in reception. He was advised that the grounds were interesting so went for another walk through these, concurring that there was much to see. Liquid refreshments were enjoyed in the comfy lounge areas. Edward also found a throne that he thought suited him well.

On his final day in Devon, Edward enjoyed a less hilly walk, exploring a canal and former railway line. He persuaded Charlie that they would not draw too much attention here and it could be fun to spend the whole day together. Charlie was very brave and now has tales of his own to tell.

Edward devon canal

It was a lovely few days away made all the better by having a companion to share it with. Having satisfied his curiosity Charlie is now happy to stay at home where he has returned to his best, bouncy self. Edward, on the other hand, is looking forward to one more trip away before it is time for bears to hibernate. You will be invited to read all about this upcoming adventure next month.

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Edward Explores: Belfast

Edward Belfast arrival

Edward arrived in Belfast as dawn was about to break on a rather damp morning. The car ferry on which he had travelled overnight thankfully docked without incident and, despite the comforts provided on board, he was eager to disembark and continue his latest adventure (you may read about the first part here).

First on the itinerary was a road trip along the northeast coast of the Ards Peninsula, stopping at: Bangor, Donaghadee, Millisle and its nearby Ballycopeland windmill. These places had emotional significance to chief bearer’s late parents, a few of whose belongings they were in Ireland to collect. Edward is particularly skilled at offering support at such moments. He was pleased when the rain eased and all were able to admire and enjoy the various harbours and beaches that held treasured memories.

By mid afternoon Edward was ready for a rest so was taken to the palace in which he was to stay (you may learn more about this place by reading the review, in which he features, written here). The large and comfortable room proved a suitable base for a bear who, while enjoying myriad new experiences, likes to indulge in life’s finer offerings occasionally. The palace gardens contained many interesting sculptures. Edward discussed this art form with a large, new friend.

It is always good to make new friends and that evening’s dinner offered such an opportunity. Edward was taken to the home of a lovely couple who had specially requested his attendance. While his bearers enjoyed the good food and fine company provided, Edward was pleased to make their delightful young lady bear’s acquaintance. Her seat by the fireside looked most comfy – an apt pride of place.

Edward Belfast teddy

The following day Edward had the opportunity to catch up with some family bears. A barbeque had been arranged during which he was able to spend time with another bear from The English Teddy Bear Company, along with this bear’s best friend.

Edward Belfast family

Due to an excess of precipitation, Edward stayed in bed while his bearers climbed Divis and the Black Mountain. He did, of course, join them for dinner later.

Edward Belfast pudding2

The final evening of Edward’s sojourn in Belfast required a train journey into the city. Informed that he was to eat at a particularly fine establishment, Edward consulted with the little duck provided in his room and dressed appropriately. He particularly enjoyed the final course of the ensuing six course taster menu and accompanying wine flight, although the dash for the return train somewhat rattled his now very full tummy.

The next day it was time to pack his bags and travel onwards. Another car ferry was boarded, although this one took just a couple of hours to reach its destination. There followed: a short drive, a stopover in Scotland, and then the long journey south. This time Edward was happier during the car journey as suitable snacks were provided.

It had been a very fine adventure but, as always, it was good to reach home. Here he was able to delight his friend, Goldie Bear, with a lovely surprise. In amongst the boxes his bearers had travelled to Belfast to collect was Quackers, a duck given to chief bearer when she had to spend her very first Christmas in hospital. Quackers had not been seen for many years and was thought lost. Goldie, chief bearer’s childhood teddy, became quite emotional when reunited with his oldest friend.

Edward Belfast home

Edward may not have spent much time in the heart of the city, being based on the coastal area this time. For anyone eager to know what delights central Belfast can offer a tourist, chief bearer wrote about a previous visit here.

Edward Explores: Liverpool

Edward Liverpool dock side snack

Being a traditionally jointed bear, Edward is understandably wary of water. It was therefore with some trepidation that he set off on his latest adventure. He had been warned that this would involve a number of boat trips, both for pleasure and as a means of transport. He remained unconvinced that such journeys could be enjoyed.

The first leg was straightforward if a little tedious – a long car journey with occasional pitstops for coffee and to stretch legs. Due to the worrying lack of snacks, Edward was glad when his destination was finally reached. He wasted no time in checking out the menu provided.

Edward Liverpool hotal

In the event, a further journey was required before dinner could be enjoyed. It was a relief to our intrepid bear that a train ran under the river separating his hotel from the city to be explored.

Liverpool is well known as an historic port, but also for four young men whose music has endured beyond its impressive heyday.

Replenished and then revived by a good night’s sleep, Edward once again travelled into the city where he bravely agreed to board a Ferry ‘cross the Mersey. Invited to be photographed on the boat’s railings during the short river cruise he politely declined, opting instead to observe from the relative safety of his comfy travel bag. In his opinion, a small bear could easily fall into the waterway and be difficult to rescue, especially as some of the turns the boat took were notably bumpy as it faced side on into the tide.

Back on dry land, Edward undertook a tour of the Museum of Liverpool where he met a queue of strange but friendly creatures. He also visited the Maritime Museum, although remained perplexed that the city wished to claim a connection to the Titanic, given its fate. There was much to mull as Edward enjoyed the small snack that heads this post. The sun was now shining and the Albert Dock looked fine with its bustle of tourists and groups dressed to impress as they imbibed copious quantities of celebratory beverages.

Edward’s bearers then took him on a long and circuitous walk around the city before stopping for dinner at another fine eating establishment.

For his final day, Edward travelled inland to Chester, by train again much to his relief. Here he visited the remains of Roman baths, which he was pleased to find did not contain water. The amphitheatre was more of a concern as he had read bears were sometimes baited in such places and generally treated appallingly. Edward enjoyed his tour of the grand cathedral, and then imagined how it would be to drive a train. One day he may like to try this for real.

It was now time to move on to the next leg of the adventure, a transition that Edward was not looking forward to. As if in sympathy the weather had turned horrid, with water pouring down from the sky as well as lapping against the walls of the nearby docks. Edward sat in his vehicle and contemplated what was to come – an overnight journey on a very large boat that carried cars and lorries as well as people and their bears.

In the event this turned out to be a rather pleasant part of the journey. Edward was provided with one of the best cabins available, with a porthole and door onto a small deck. The darkness and rain precluded fully enjoying these features, but the bed and snacks enabled a good night’s rest despite the surrounding water on which they floated across the sea.

As a new city to visit, Liverpool had interesting features to enjoy but not enough to fill the three days allocated – hence the unplanned trip to Chester. The overnight sailing proved a surprising highlight, although Edward was still happy when the boat docked and he could disembark onto dry land.

Can you guess where he had now travelled to? All will be revealed in his next Explore.

Edward Liverpool Belfast

Edward Explores: Exmoor

Edward Exmoor afternoon tea

Edward has recently returned from his latest adventure and thought some of his friends might like to read about it. This month our intrepid travelling bear has been exploring the beautiful Exmoor National Park.

Having driven down a somewhat clogged motorway, Edward was relieved to reach his accommodation, the Crown Hotel in Exford – you may read a review of this friendly establishment here. Edward was provided with a comfy bed and a good supply of biscuits. Having rested briefly he left his room to look around and was pleased to find some resident bears. These fine fellows are looking for new forever homes but were being well looked after in the interim.

Edward was eager to experience the various sights Exmoor offers. It has many rivers to walk alongside with fields and woodland for those willing to tackle the steep ascents and descents. Beyond these paths and trails is moorland, which roll out into the distance to provide stunning views on clear days. Sheep, horses and some rather scary looking horned cattle graze this area freely. Edward enjoyed admiring the colourful flowers growing from the heather.

After each long day’s walking up and down hills repeatedly, sustenance was required. Edward ate at The Crown and also the nearby White Horse Inn in Exford. Dinner at this latter establishment proved rather too dramatic when an elderly driver bashed his car into the bay window where Edward’s table was positioned. Thankfully nobody was hurt and damage minimal. The small car hit the brickwork below the window. It was worrying to consider that, had it been a larger, more modern vehicle, the glass may have been stoved in!

Despite this event, food was relished. The White Horse provided tasty fare, although The Crown was deemed superior in preparation and presentation.

Over the five days he was there, Edward visited many interesting places. On the cliffs above the seaside town of Lynmouth was a fascinating, natural phenomena known as the Valley of the Rocks. A herd of wild goats live here. Edward also climbed to the highest point in Exmoor – Dunkery Beacon – although encountered annoyingly persistent flies on this excursion.

As pictured at the start of this post, afternoon tea was taken at Watersmeet. Here Edward met some friendly dogs and bold birds. The Crown Hotel welcomes dogs and there were several of these in the bar each evening. Edward likes dogs so long as they don’t start thinking he is their plaything.

Although sad he was left to read in bed when his bearers walked from the hotel to Tarr Steps, Edward understood that the forecast rain could play havoc with joints and fur. He spent this day reading about the forthcoming Dark Skies Festival. It sounds a most interesting event.

Edward Exmoor tarr steps

After his enjoyable trip away, Edward was excited to return home. This is because it was now his birthday weekend and celebrations had been planned. The eldest of his young bearers made him tasty brownies and cookies. Her partner arrived bearing a variety of cakes from his place of work. Champagne was opened and imbibed before the whole family headed out for a birthday meal at the local pub.

All in all this was a very good week with much to see and good food to enjoy. Edward is already planning his next adventure, but that is for another story.

Edward Exmoor birthday cake

Edward Explores: Devil’s Bridge

The extra bank holiday granted for the recent Queen’s Jubilee celebration gave Edward’s bearers a four day weekend. It was decided that this would be the ideal time to leave the country for the first time since early 2020. A hotel was booked at the interestingly named Devil’s Bridge in mid-west Wales. It was hoped there would be less bunting here than rapidly proliferated as the weekend approached in the English village where Edward lives.

On entering the country Edward was immediately made to feel welcome. The hotel at which he stayed provided tasty biscuits for him to enjoy on his big bed – although sadly these weren’t replenished daily. If interested in an overview of The Hafod, you may read a review, in which Edward features, here.

Legend has it that the first of the devil’s bridges was built by the eponymous wicked being in order to trick a lady – whose cow had strayed across the river – into giving up her soul. She was far too canny for this mean minded ploy, although it was unclear from the various write-ups of the tale whether the dog she sent across in her place was rejected or taken by the devil. Edward asked the creature guarding the steps down to view the three bridges that exist today – built one on top of the other over several centuries as replacements were needed. He barked his reply before spreading his wings.

Edwards bearers took him on several river walks where he was able to view waterfalls, being careful to stay dry. He was also interested in the remains of a mine by a river, although not one of the deep ones he had read about that used to exist all over Wales, providing quality coal for trains. This one was a source of minerals, and still raises issues around water pollution today.

As well as the bridges and rivers, Edward explored the nearby town of Aberystwyth. It had a castle that had seen better days and a steep hill offering a fine view of the coastal settlement. It was quite windy on the summit so our intrepid bear held on tight to the bench where he paused to rest.

From Aberystwyth it is possible to catch a steam train back to Devil’s Bridge. Edward met a rather cheeky monkey at the station and offered words of advice about acceptable manners. Teddy bears are, of course, always well behaved.

After all his adventuring, Edward was pleased to return to the hotel each evening for dinner. He very much enjoyed his puddings and remained perplexed that one of his bearers kept opting for cheese instead.

Adventures do, of course, come to an end and our small bear – from the now defunct English Teddy Bear Company – was welcomed back to his home country, as may be expected. Although the Jubilee Weekend was drawing to a close, Edward arrived home just in time to join a tea party hosted by Elizabeth for a new friend she had made. He did wonder why Monty was guarding the teapot so carefully.

Edward was pleased to be travelling further afield again and enjoyed his few days away. He now has a more local trip pending that he looks forward to telling you all about next time.

Edward Explores: Cornwall

Edward Cornwall bay view

Readers may remember that, back in March, Edward kindly consented to partake in some modelling for photos to be included in a hotel review. He proved himself so skilled at this he was asked to repeat the experience on his latest adventure, to beautiful Cornwall. This time, rather than helping to celebrate a birthday, he was assisting in the celebrations for a wedding anniversary. You may read the subsequent review of the hotel he stayed in, at Talland Bay, here.

Edward entered the county via the Tamar bridge. As well as a road bridge, there is a railway bridge. Although Edward was travelling by car this time, he remains fond of trains and was pleased to observe one as he read about the history of providing means of crossing the river.

Having arrived at his destination, Edward was whisked off for a bracing coastal walk. This time of year is bluebell season, and he stopped to admire the many more unusual white specimens growing along the verges.

On his return to the hotel it was time for a little sustenance. Dinners included delicious puddings that he was eager to sample each evening.

Edward Cornwall hotel pudding

An early start was required on Saturday morning as Edward’s bearers wished to take part in the Eden Project Parkrun. Edward waited patiently for them to cross the finish line that they may all enjoy breakfast together. He wasn’t convinced by the bacon butties they seemed to be enjoying but approved of the small snack provided for him.

There was then time to look around the landscaping and biomes – complementary entry was offered to runners and their support crew. Edward was pleased to spot a bee, even if it was rather large and inactive, as he has read they are vital yet endangered. He also took time to admire the unusual plants growing in the areas visited.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which proved easier to find than the Eden Project had been. Edward wondered if the friendly giant rising from the earth to greet him had a friend who had lost their hand. He contemplated this over the tasty cookie provided to replenish his energy levels.

It was a tad damp on the Sunday but Edward was brave and agreed to climb out of his waterproof snooze bag to pose on rocks as his bearers looked out over Looe island. As a reward he was given a bag of Cornish fudge, freshly made on premises in the town.

The final day held the promise of a fine afternoon tea before journeying home. Edward accompanied his bearers on a woodland walk that they may build up an appetite for this treat. Although excited to join such adventures, teddies always have sufficient space in their tummies for cake.

Edward enjoyed his few days in Cornwall immensely. As he bade farewell to the friends he had made there were quiet words with the balloon bear at reception. We hope they realise how far it is to Wiltshire and no risky journeys are attempted for a reunion…

Talland Bay balloon bear

Edward Explores: When Bill met Ted on an Excellent Adventure

Edward Bill bed

Edward usually goes by his full, given name. He is sometimes referred to as teddy but, up until now, has never been a Ted. He was therefore somewhat bemused when he recently visited Shakespeare country and met a bard bear named Bill. Bill much prefers this moniker to William and assumed Edward would have a similar preference.

Bill was a resident at the most excellent Billesley Manor Hotel. He naturally assumes the place name is a hat tip to him. Having lived quietly in this one place, Bill was delighted to meet Edward. He listened avidly to the many tales of travel and adventures that our intrepid teddy enjoys partaking in.

Edward champagne  Edward creme brulee

On this trip away, Edward was helping celebrate a birthday, something at which he is highly skilled. When his bearers realised Bill’s hotel had many links to Shakespeare, they asked Edward to help in a write-up of their literary stay and adventures.

Edward coffee shop

The ensuing photoshoots took place around the hotel and in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon. It was tiring work for a small bear so sustenance was sought in coffee shops along the way. Edward makes an excellent model for such an endeavour. You may read the resulting hotel review here.

Edward Bill daffodils

On the final day of Edward’s stay, Bill took his new best friend into his garden to discuss their future destiny. It was decided that, although parting is such sweet sorrow, they would prefer simply to stay together. Arrangements were therefore made, the assignment completed, and Bill has now joined Edward’s sleuth in Wiltshire.

Edward iced cake

Arriving home, Edward was pleased to find that his younger bearers had made him a cake. It was covered in a great deal of butter icing, so much in fact that a second cake was made a day or two later to make good use of the excess.

Edward chocolate cake

Having celebrated eldest bearer’s birthday with a trip away, a second celebration was planned that would include the whole family. Edward enjoyed the subsequent trip to his local Prezzo, especially the puddings he was given to taste.

Edward Prezzo 1  Edward Prezzo 2  Edward Prezzo 3  Edward Prezzo 4

Bill has spent the past fortnight meeting the many bears he now lives with. He and Lottie have struck up a particularly special friendship. Edward is always delighted when the new bears he welcomes so quickly find their niche.

Bill and Lottie
We are such stuff as dreams are made on

Edward Explores: Bars, beaches and many tasty treats

Edward February at bar

Those of you who follow the adventures of my intrepid teddy bear, Edward, will be aware that he enjoys the occasional pudding. This past month has therefore been a good one for him. It has included: a birthday celebration lasting an entire weekend, a few days away on the Devon coast, and Valentines Day. Although he understands why some eschew the latter event, Edward’s heart holds enough love for everyone and he has enjoyed the sweet treats made available to mark each of these various occasions.

The birthday bearer opted to eat out at a local pub to mark her special day. Naturally, Edward was invited to join the attendees. He was somewhat concerned when the kind waitress delivered the order placed, and then relieved when his food finally arrived at the table.

Edward February with chips Edward February with pie

Edward February with pudding2  Edward February with pudding1

The next day was the actual birthday so a cake was made. Edward sampled the first slice and declared it delicious. He wondered if it contained carrot because the newly aged bearer is a vegetarian.

Edward February with birthday cake  Edward February eating cake

With the weather set fair for the time of year it was decided that a trip away was in order. It is quite some time since Edward visited Devon so this is where he was taken. He stayed in a rather nice hotel that understood the need for stocking the room and its fridge with welcoming treats.

Edward February on Torquay bed  Edward February with Torquay treats

Edward enjoyed drinks by the fire and a selection of sweets with coffee each evening.

Edward February with gin  Edward February with sweets

Days were spent exploring the blustery coastline. As well as walks, Edward took a bus ride and found a shop selling tasty ice-cream cones. On his return to the hotel he was pleased to find his biscuit supply replenished.

Edward February by beach  Edward February on bus

Edward February with giant ice cream  Edward February with biscuits

Dinner at the hotel was quite a quirky experience. Live piano music was played on a baby grand that turned out to be electric. Singers were accompanied by a recorded soundtrack with volume intruding on conversation. The food was, however, much to Edward’s liking, although the menu remained sadly unchanged throughout his stay. He also regretted not packing more changes of clothing as he always prefers to feel suitably dressed – and dapper – for every occasion.

Edward February with pudding5  Edward February with pudding3  Edward February with pudding4

On the final day Edward came across some welcome signs of spring. It may still be regularly cold and a tad damp but the promise of better weather is cheering.

Edward February by spring flowers

As mentioned earlier, Edward likes to mark Valentine’s Day. He made a banoffee pie for his bearers, and they made a coffee and walnut cake for him.

Edward February with banoffee  Edward February with coffee cake

Edward hopes that all his readers have a bear to hug, and that they enjoy the unconditional love offered by a teddy.

He and Elizabeth were recently spotted planning another party for later in the year. And Edward is already making plans for his next exciting adventure…

Edward February with Elizabeth

Edward Explores: The 12 Days of Christmas

edward tree

Winter is the season for hibernation so Edward has spent much of the past month snoozing in bed. He did, however, join his bearers to celebrate Yule – the 12 days of Christmas. To brighten up midwinter, the halls were decked. Edward then hung his stocking under the tree in anticipation of the goodies Santa would bring.

edward snowman film

On Christmas Eve, just before bedtime, Edward watched his favourite film. Much as he loves The Snowman, he ponders why the young boy’s teddy ends up on the floor. Perhaps the bear in the film had been looking out the window and was nearly caught when the boy woke up unexpectedly at midnight.

edward paddington

As well as many tasty treats, Santa delivered a new friend for Edward. Although dating from 2017, Paddington was first purchased by a financially motivated collector and has spent the intervening years in a box wondering why he was not allowed to meet the residents of what he had assumed would be his new forever home. When he was eventually taken out of his wrapping it was for an all too brief taste of freedom. He was photographed and then repackaged without being given even a single hug!

Thankfully, Edward’s bearers spotted Paddington’s listing on a sale site and quickly mounted a rescue plan. Money boxes were emptied. The postman was eagerly waited for.

Paddington has now received many, long overdue hugs and will not be put inside his box again. Although unsure why he was expected to play hockey on a pool table on Christmas Day, as a bear with a taste for travel and adventure – exciting new experiences – he was happy to oblige.

edward new year

Having topped up on the many tasty festive snacks, Edward has now returned to bed to complete his hibernation, but not before he and Paddington saw in the New Year. Edward wishes all his followers and friends a healthy and happy 2022. He hopes that this year may be filled with many more pleasant and revitalising explores.

Edward Explores: The Dorset Coast

edward dorset beach

“Edward is a bear with flair. He looks so effortlessly cosy yet stylish.”

Kathryn Eastman, on Twitter

Being a bear, Edward spends a fair proportion of this time of year enjoying a long winter’s nap. Before he settled down under the duvet, however, he enjoyed a splendid adventure by the seaside. The weather was cold and blustery but dry. Well wrapped up in his woollens, Edward ventured forth on some scenic walks.

edward dorset bookshop edward dorset book

The drive to the coast included a stop at a lovely bookshop to pick up something to read. Daylight hours are limited in England in December so there would be time between walks and dinner to enjoy a good story. Edward prefers books featuring bears but this choice kept his bearer happily occupied while resting each afternoon.

edward dorset sticky toffee

Dinner on the first night included a delicious sticky toffee pudding – a well deserved treat. Then, having slept well in the big bed provided, it was time to set out on an explore.

edward dorset rucksack  edward dorset waymarker

The first walk Edward embarked on was to climb Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast. To get there it was necessary to follow a track that went from sea level to cliff top several times. Being a small (but perfectly formed) teddy bear, Edward was carried.

edward dorset stump  edward dorset golden cap

Golden Cap was actually climbed twice as sea mist descended during the first ascent. Despite his bearers’ tired legs at the extra effort, the views were well worth the repeated exercise.

Edward also explored the remains of St Gabriel’s Church, a small building that has stood for many centuries. It fell into disrepair when locals moved to less remote locations, to work in the burgeoning industries. Edward enjoyed the peaceful ambience but worried about the lack of roof given how clouds kept rolling in.

edward dorset church  edward dorset wall

Edward also enjoyed viewing the various artworks he passed on the paths. Being a cultured bear, he paused to consider what the artist wished to convey with each installation. He liked the tree stump spider and the boat stack – even if he was nearly blown off the latter by the prevailing wind. The yellow blob on a rock, however, had him perplexed.

Edward Dorset tree sculpture   edward dorset boats   edward dorset art

Back at the hotel there was good food to appreciate. The vanilla cake was tasty but Edward will always prefer a rich chocolate brownie.

edward dorset vanilla  edward dorset brownie

Much as Edward enjoyed his latest adventure, he was happy to return home where he could be tucked up warm in bed after his sometimes damp exertions.

He wishes you all many hugs from your furry friends and the good dreams they encourage by keeping you safe from the monsters under the bed. Edward plans to snooze now until Christmas, something he highly recommends.

edward hibernates again