Culm Beacon, Culmstock, Cullompton, Devon
Culm Beacon stands high up on Blackdown Common in the Devon part of the Blackdown Hills. This charming little beehive shaped structure is made of the local flint and is one of many along the hills in this neck of the woods that were first built in Elizabethan times to be used as beacons to warn of advancing enemy attack. A pole with a fire basket on the top was put up through a hole in the roof and once lit, the fire could be seen by the chaps at the next beacons in the chain, who would then light theirs, bit like the old Injun smoke signals. Not surprisingly, the original building got a bit crumbly with age so it was rebuilt in 1870 and that's the one you see there today.
So, that's the history bit for you, now the views; well, they are absolutely spectacular to say the least, stretching on and on across the landscape of fields and woods forever. That alone makes it well worth the climb and in the summer, to sit on the hill top among the bell heather with a picnic is a privilege indeed. There's a very good walk from Culmstock, via woodlands, which are a sight to behold in the autumn, and onto a bridleway. When you get back down to the village you've got a choice of The Strand Stores or the Culm Valley Inn for lunch/refreshments. Both are very welcoming and the fare is delish, so it's up to you.
All information correct at the time of writing