I've now visited 237 National Trust properties in my quest to meet every NT scone in the land. If I sort the properties by how much time I spent researching the place in advance, then Lorna Doone Valley in Devon would be at the top by a long distance.
The reason for this is very simple: before I set off, I decided to read Lorna Doone, the novel. It is a very long book; 552 pages in fact.
But before I tell you about Lorna Doone the novel, I have to tell you that reading it didn't really prepare me for Lorna Doone the valley. It's very much a walking property, with lots of different routes that can take you in various directions. For example, you can walk 5 miles to the very lovely Watersmeet, or do an 8-mile loop to take in the medieval settlement of Badgworthy, which inspired the book.
But I hadn't really appreciated any of this in advance and I hadn't left enough time to complete any of the walks. I'd already done a jaunt through the very lovely Heddon Valley earlier this morning and I was on my way to Castle Drogo, so time was a bit limited.
Maybe a lot of people turn up clueless like me, because when I arrived a very nice NT guide was waiting in the car park to provide walking directions. He pointed up a distant hill and then, on seeing my worried face, changed his tack to something a bit easier. And so my leisurely walk took me through a field alongside the river: