Landmarks on journeys – are we there yet?


Whether consciously or not, I think we all have a certain view, or signpost, or possibly even scent that tells us that our journey home is almost complete. It is a rather lovely and comforting sensation and one that brings a sigh of contentment. Of course, it doesn’t have to be reaching home – it could be arriving at a favourite holiday destination or a close friend’s house. Landmarks on journeys lodge in our brains and can bring back waves of nostalgia years later when we come across one by chance.

As a child, the vaguest scent of the sea (often imagined!) would start me wheedling “Are we there yet?” from the backseat of the car. One friend, who had to commute up and down to London from Devon three times a week told me he always gave a cheer when he drove past the ‘Devon’ county boundary sign on the M5.

Cookworthy Knapp – the ‘coming home’ trees. Photo copyright: ALAMY

My partner in crime writing, Julia, was amazed to see a photo on the BBC website this week of a much-loved copse of beech that she always says ‘Hello’ to as she goes on holiday to Cornwall and crosses over the Devon/Cornwall

border. Apparently, it is an incredibly popular landmark with lots of people! The beech trees, which stand on a hill south of the A30, tell weary Cornwall-bound travellers that their journey is nearly over.

Now, says the BBC, people have been taking to social media to share their love for the Cookworthy Knapp trees, which were planted around 1900 and have become known as the ‘coming home trees’.

I thought this was rather lovely and set me thinking about what are my ‘coming home landmarks’. I have two – the lovely sweeping view of the Teign estuary as we drive over the road bridge on the last 10 miles of our journey home… and the dear little fingerpost on the Torquay Road that says, very small, ‘Stokeinteignhead’!

And so… I’d like to hear from you – what are your ‘coming home’ landmarks? Are they distinctive hills, or trees, or signs, or something more quirky? Let’s hear it! Smiles, Joanna.

The Teign estuary… I’m almost home! And, just to be sure, the little fingerpost confirms it’s only half a mile.

14 replies
  1. Rosalind Locke says:

    When I come down to Plymouth and see the “Devon”sign,I feel “yes!” All is well. I was brought up in Plymouth and a village near Torpoint called Anthony. Getting on the Torpoint ferry and hearing the familiar clunk clunk of the chains always fills my heart with happy childhood memories.

  2. Beverley says:

    Hi Joanna, lovely landmark they are beautiful trees and the grass looks like velvet. I am always happy to see the mast on Winter Hill. Winter Hill is my landmark it has a large mast with lights on that light up red at night. It is a transmitting station for the Granada tv region. I can see the mast from the back of my home because it is so tall and if I have been out and not sure of the way home I know if I see the mast I know I am on track. Winter Hill has the highest television transmitting antenna in the United Kingdom If you would like to check it out it’s on Wikipedia:

  3. Tracy W says:

    I live in Suffolk but feel that Scotland is my home. Everytime we reach the Scottish Border my stomach flips and my heart melts. It seems odd to say I’m in love with the place but this is how it feels, and one day my hubby and I will retire there. Creative Blessings, Tracy x

  4. freda says:

    Hi Joanne, sorry this is a little late, but my landmark is where the M5 is cut through the lovely red soil hill, that says I’m heading home to Torquay. I left there 54 years ago when I married but we return to our caravan there at least 3 times during the Summer.
    A couple of years ago I saw you in a local supermarket and was tempted to say “Hello” but didn’t like to.

  5. Mrs Forgetful says:

    Every time I drive home to Devon (from Wiltshire) I also cheer when I see the Devon border sign. I also keep an eye out for the Wicker Man – easy to see – and the not so easy to see Bridgewater camel and baby, between Taunton and Bridgewater. Oh, I’ve just remembered another one, Wellington Monument – looks like Thunderbird 1 up on the hill!

  6. Jenny says:

    Travelling from Cornwall to my daughter’s at Bristol, I too look out for the Wicker Man. Unfortunately not quite so dramatic nowadays thanks to all the encroaching building. Maybe it’s time he had a move back into the open fields where he originated?


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