Now for some mud and a scone recipe

First time we have taken the children to Tarr Steps in the middle of Exmoor. There is a clapper bridge that spans the River Barle, which is either prehistoric or medieval. There is a wonderful legend about the Devil building it and not allowing anyone to cross the bridge, until the local parson talked him round. The story goes that the Devil agreed to let man and creature pass over it but retained sun bathing rights. We had the sun, but as you may see the girls are wearing jumpers, as it was too cold to sunbathe.

As a challenge, I gave them all ice creams and made them walk the steps. Some bigger gaps caused concern for TF, which I suspect was due to anxiety over losing his ice cream down them, more than anything. To the side of the steps is a ford, which we always drive through. It is like driving over big cobbles. The water came up to the bottom of our doors, so only attempted by 4x4s.

We set off, along the River Barle, for a circular 5 mile walk. Tarr Steps is a very popular location for people to splash in the river and have barbeques on the banks. The further you walk along the river, the less people you encounter. The river part is muddy and can be a bit of a scramble. We spotted a dipper, bobbing beside the river. Just a fleeting moment, before it flew away.

Also an area with a number of fallen trees, where coins had been hammered into the wood.

All sorts of coins. Each one hammered in and the person made a wish. SO many wishes. I hope many came true. I loved the way they were bent over with the hammering. Almost like they had melted.

The next section of the walk, I have no photos, although it was beautiful. Ensuring all the children stayed upright, and relatively unmuddy, was more pressing, but the river flowing passed the trees was wonderful to see. Then it was up a steep hill and across the moor.

The browny-purple on the moors is the heather. Everywhere we looked was purple, on the moors. The yellow gorse was splattered in between, but the heather was just stunning. We saw several bee hives out on the moor, making the most of the heather pollen.

After this point it was pretty much down hill, back to the river and the steps. We stopped at the Tarr Farm Hotel, which is right by the Tarr Steps, for cream teas. I have never seen such big scones in all my life. As we had missed lunch, scones were perfect. Alas, I was too busy scoffing my plate full, to remember to take photos. As a penalty, I have replicated the scones.

Recipe: How I made enormous scones (suitable for walkers)

1 lb (450g) of self raising flour (or all purpose flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder)

2tsp baking powder

2oz (50g) caster sugar

2 oz (50g) butter

pinch of salt

2 eggs

about a 1/4 of a pint (150ml) milk


1. Use your fingertips to rub flour, bp, butter and salt together, in a bowl. (Or mix it with the paddle attachment in your food mixer). Should be no butter lumps left by the end.

2. Stir in the sugar and the eggs.

3. Mix in enough milk to make the dough into a firm ball without it being too sticky or too dry.

4. Put dough on a well floured surface. Pat gently flat with your hands, so that it is about 1.5 inches or 4 cms thick. (DO NOT use a rolling pin, unless flatter, crispier scones are desired)

5. Use a 3 inch (7.5cm) cookie cutter and cut out the scones. Place each scone on a tray with baking paper on it. Space them out as the scones will expand.

6. Brush beaten egg on to the top of each scone.

7. For a 2 oven Aga, hang the tray from the third runner from the top for 15 mins (no cold shelf required.)

For other ovens, 220 c, 425 F or gas mark 7 . Check after 10 minutes.

The scones should be firm on top and golden brown. They will be pulled in slightly around the softer middle with almost a crack to show where they need to be split.

8. Cool on a wire tray.

Best eaten after a long walk, with a cup of tea.

I serve my scones by splitting them in half and adding a generous spoonful of strawberry jam (recipe here), with a spoonful (no knives) of Cornish clotted cream on top. I know some people do it the other way round. Then again some people say scones (rhymes with bones) and some say scones ( with “on” in the middle). Each to their own, as long as the scones are enjoyed.

The children kindly tested this batch of scones out. They said that they were slightly smaller than the ones we had at Tarr Steps, but they tasted better. ( I love my children!)

Is this a display of true love for her young mistress?

Maybe it is coincident that she is eyeing up the scone.

Who am I kidding!?!

(She is a dog that seriously loves my cooking!)

20 thoughts on “Now for some mud and a scone recipe

  • Friday 2 September, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Yum – I am not supposed to be back online yet but I was having a quiet peek and you tempted me to comment! 😀

  • Friday 2 September, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I’m completely smitten by Tarr Steps and that amazing coined log. Very cool! Thank your for the scone recipe. My sister and her family arrive Sunday for a week’s stay. I know I can get clotted cream (not sure if it’s Cornish or not) at our food co-op. I might even make some instant strawberry jam (jam to be eaten that very day or a few days after)…it just looks so amazing!

  • Friday 2 September, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Would you look at those coins – amazing!!! Amazing!!! And dare I say you live with the most gorgeous beastly looking dog!!!

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      The coins are such a fun idea. There were several fallen trees with the same cracks filled with coins. Gwinny does love those scones. Most dreadful sneaky thief!

  • Saturday 3 September, 2011 at 12:35 am

    The bridge.. the coin log.. it is all so beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing pictures from your adventure. It’s all just wonderful.

    And the recipe for the scones — yum. I will have to try these out. Thank you again!

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      Hope you enjoy the scones. I go through stages of making them, and they are always very popular.

  • Saturday 3 September, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I love the photos of your daughter holding on to her scone and your dog being ever so friendly. If that was my labrador sitting there, the scone would have been devoured immediately. Your dog has manners. 🙂
    Anne xx

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      Ha, manners! Most of the time she waits until we are not looking and then moves like lightening. We used to have a deerhound who calculated whether she could snatch the food for the table, before we reached her. You could see it in her face. Very accurate she was, as well.

  • Saturday 3 September, 2011 at 1:46 am

    That rock ‘bridge’ is amazing! As are those delectable looking scones!!

    Blessings, Debbie

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      It is an amazing place to visit. A visit to Exmoor really wouldn’t be complete without stopping. The original ones were good too!

  • Saturday 3 September, 2011 at 6:47 am

    What a beautiful, wild part of the country………….love that bridge, the children were very brave to risk loosing their ice creams in the river. I’m hungrily eyeing your ginormous scones, haven’t had breakfast yet………..thanks for the recipe and the birthday wishes. x

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      TF was fine once his hand was being held. He is such a brave thing in the normal way, that I can only imagine it was the thought of losing his ice cream. Especially as he had been so determined to have the ice cream, even after eating a mountain of scones.

  • Saturday 3 September, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Just love this post! That stone bridge and the “money tree” are amazing!! And wow – those scones look absolutely heavenly! I would have loved to have lived your day!

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      I think you would have enjoyed it. Very ancient and wild. I cannot tell you have welcome the original scones were that day!

  • Sunday 4 September, 2011 at 7:08 am

    As always lovely pictures. I love the coins hammered into the tree.
    I have just read Jamaica Inn all about the moors , makes me want to go and see for myself.
    The doggies is just gorgeous.
    More please…

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      We went passed the sign for Jamaica Inn, but didn’t stop. So much to explore. Just need more holiday!

  • Sunday 4 September, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    The pictures are gorgeous, and you already know how much I love your dog, but scones and clotted cream.
    I see scones on our agenda in the VERY near future……

    • Wednesday 7 September, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      So glad to add to your agenda. I know clotted cream is an indulgence, but, oh, it has to go on scones! Doesn’t it!!

  • Friday 9 September, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    oh that was so much fun! i loved the walk and the scones. now i am hungry! thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Friday 9 September, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I am bookmarking this recipe. I have yet to find a good scones recipe, and bigger is even better! Looks like a lovely day was had by all.

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