The daffodils dot the river bank in a golden grid of almost mathematical precision. I have seen this before in Hembury Woods; the spacing could be no more regular if it had been laid out by a trained surveyor and my conclusion has been that each bulb somehow marks its territory and prevents other bulbs from establishing. The wood anemones are however far more gregarious, nodding their star white flowers in extended social groups.
The water has that spring-lime-green-zest colour and is reasonably clear as beneath the rope swing I can see the pebbles on the river bed and I know that here it is about 10 feet deep. And the sun catches the turbulent ripples that snake downstream leaving them glistening like wet leather (I pinched that line).
Tucking my bag out of sight (why? no-one else is going to come along) I step onto the narrow road to walk the 100m up to the bridge. Narrow and busy, it is one of the gateway roads to Dartmoor, it has been a glorious day and there is a waterfall of cars tumbling down the hill. Consequently the car behind me cannot get by and I am (necessarily) barefoot and not about to climb into the hedge. Oh for goodness sake, chill, you cannot get across the bridge with all these cars going the other way so just give me a moment. I step over the rounded river boulders placed on the soft verge, crunch beech nut cases under my feet and step through the small gateway to the river bank under the bridge. I imagine 99.9% of the people racing up this road have never noticed the gate.
I can see clear down to the river bed and there is no debris from the bridge where the big oak tree fell on it a few weeks ago and this is one of the best spots on the river to do this.
Walking another 50 feet upstream in the shallows I reach the end of the rapids and the start of the deep water channel that runs all the way down, under the bridge, to the weir, nearly 1/4 of a mile of chill out laying back and going with the flow.
Under the bridge, out of sight of the cars above, many of them easing back a little to take a slightly longer look at the stunning view. They should see it from down here.
There is a blink of shadow from the bridge and I am back into the sunshine. The river bed for a moment turns dark and impenetrable and then once again lights up in pastel shades of of yellow and muted umber washed over with lime green.
The river widens and shallows in the long pool above the weir and the water slows, drifting me along, under the bare trees beside the bank alive with diminutive golden daffodils.
I am just towelling myself off as the cloud hazes out the sun and instantly the breeze feels chillier, it seems I have had the very best of the day for swimming.