AREA & EVENTS
THE LOCAL AREA
UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS
North Devon: one of the best kept secrets in the UK.
Containing Exmoor National Park and bordered to the south by Dartmoor National Park there is no shortage of good varied walking country. As if this were not enough there is the North Devon Coast Path which will take you from Exmoor along sandy beaches and through the dramatic coastline of the Hartland Peninsula (a Designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty) to the border with Cornwall. The Tarka Trail is a redundant railway line which has been converted into a footpath and cycle path which starts from the Coast Path at Barnstaple and winds its way through the centre of the region to Dartmoor. Cycles can be hired from the old stations at Barnstaple, Bideford and Great Torrington.
Many historic characters have lived in the area at some stage of their lives from famous seafarers like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake to Rudyard Kipling (Jungle Book & Just So Stories) and Charles Kingsley (Water Babies & Westward Ho!). The latter being a good tale about the region in the days of Drake and Raleigh. Kingsley made his home in the picturesque village of Clovelly and his statue stands at the end of the Quay in Bideford. The Hartland Peninsular has a long history of wrecking and smuggling some tales of which are definitely not for the squeamish. The Town of Great Torrington was one of the last strongholds of the royalists in the Civil War and the "1646 Experience" is not to be missed. For the more genteel the town also offers the Royal Horticulture Societies gardens at Rosemoor and Dartington Crystal.
The area boasts some extremely fine beaches such as Instow, Westward Ho! and Croyde. Away from the Taw Torridge estuary the coast is much more dramatic with the breathtaking cliffs at Hartland to the intriguing inlets around Exmoor.
There is no shortage of recreational facilities in the area. Both Bideford and Barnstaple offer well equipped sports centres with swimming pools. There are many good golf courses in the area and facilities for horse riding. For the children The Big Sheep will give hours of entertainment, don't miss the sheep racing. Both fishing and sailing are available at Tamar Lakes on the Cornish border.
The largest towns in the area are Barnstaple and Bideford have a good range of varied shops, however if you are in need of serious retail therapy it is recommended that you travel further afield to Exeter or Plymouth.
And while you're on the beach, why not try a Hocking's ice cream?
THE TARKA TRAIL
The Tarka Trail is a 30 Mile footpath/cycle path from Braunton to Meeth laid along the bed of the old railway. Though in railway terms some of the gradients are steep you will barely notice them on foot or on a bike. If you have not brought your own bike these can be hired at Barnstaple, Bideford or Great Torrington. The trail is easily accessed from Coachman's and Smytham Cottages and Seaspray is close to the coast path which joins with the Tarka Trail at Bideford Station
Moving out from Barnstaple Station the trail will take you along the other side of the Taw estuary along flat open countryside. On your right the salt marsh is home to a myriad of birds so keep your eyes open who knows what you will spot. Soon you will find yourself at Fremington Quay and an opportunity to take refreshment at the converted railway station. Once a thriving seaport Fremington is now little more than a tourist attraction but the food in the cafe is highly recommended. As you leave Fremington and head towards Instow the trail takes you past the old power station. As you approach Instow look out for the Cricket Club on your right with a rare thatched clubhouse. There can be few locations in the world as beautiful to play this very British game.
The trail now takes you through the village and a tunnel which when you emerge you will see Instow Station on the other side of the level crossing. The wooden signal box built by the LSWR has been lovingly restored by local enthusiasts and is now a listed building. As you leave the station you have left the Taw estuary and are riding along the bank of the Torridge. With the ancient port town of Bideford now coming into view there is a slight incline but it should not present a problem. As you pass under the new high level bridge the ancient bridge comes into view. As you proceed along through the saltmarsh you will aproach Brunswick Key which used to be a busy dock and railway goods yard, then under the road bridge into Bideford Station. This is another opportunity for a wellearned rest and perhaps a cup of tea in the cafe ther in an old Southern region carriage. From the platform there is a good view of the town of Bideford aong the 12th Century Long Bridge. In medieval days this was the third largest comercial port in England and where Sir Walter Raliegh landed the very first consignment of tobacco from the New World. It still exists as a commercial port to this day exporting china clay from Meeth.
THE SOUTH WEST COAST PATH
The South West Coast Path is a 630 mile public right of way stretching from Minehead in Somerset along the whole of the North Coast of Devon around the coast of Cornwall and ending in Poole. Offering spectacular views no visit would be complete without walking at least part of it. Starting from Westward Ho! and heading east the path is easy walking as far as Ilfracombe but if you like something a little more challenging then head west towards the Cornish border.
The path can be easily accessed from our cottage in Westward Ho! just walk down Merley Road (right next to our Seaspray cottage) and when the road finishes just keep going. At this stage the path follows the route of the long defunct Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway. Don't be deceived though, after you get to Greencliff the old railway turns inland and the hard work begins. In front of you as the bay curves around in the distance you can see beyond the unique village of Clovelly and on to Hartland Point. For a few miles now the path ascends and descends the cliff until you get to the ancient fishing village of Bucks Mills. Relatively unspoilt for this is a rare reminder of what the myriads of similar villages along the route. Renown for the Braund family who reputedly lived there for centuries and legend has it that they not only made a living from fishing but also from the practice of wrecking which was commonplace along the Devon and Cornwall coast in previous centuries.
Rising steeply out of the village and continuing westward you soon come to Hobby Drive, giving you a respite from the up and down as you walk through the trees at the top of the cliff. As you progress you get tantalizing views of the now famous village of Clovelly on your right. This village with its steep cobbled main street has also remained unspoilt. If you choose to venture down to the Quay you will find it a long haul back up again to join the designated path, however the Red Lion is right on the sea wall and an ideal place for some well earned refreshment. Retuning to the path you enter the woods and before long you will soon become acquainted with Gallantry Bower a unique wooden shelter. The intricate carvings were reputedly carried out by a past butler at the nearby Clovelly Court. Clovelly court is open to the public at a very reasonable price, click on the link above for details. As you continue will briefly come out of the woods and with spectacular views from Saunton round to Hartland.
When you enter the woods again be prepared for a steep descent down to Mouth Mill. This derelict harbour, lime kiln and mill have suffered from being so remote that it has fallen into disuse and dereliction. Another steep climb takes you up through the woods into open country again.
CROYDE - 19TH, 20TH & 21ST JUNE 2015
The GoldCoast Oceanfest midsummer
weekend is all about good times, great music, keeping fit and looking after the environment.
It stimulates freedom without the daily
restraints by combining core values and quality experiences, whilst uniquely maintaining a youthful mystique.
CASTLE HILL - 23RD - 27TH JULY 2015
A five day summer camp of music,
adventure and outdoor living in the heart of
the South West.
Woolsery Agricultural Show
WOOLSERY - Mon 27th July 2015
Summer in North Devon would not be
complete without a visit to this ever popular show. Classes include crafts, cattle and sheep, together with horse and pony competitions.
NORTH DEVON SHOW
Umberleigh - Wed 5th Aug 2015
This is North Devon's premier Agricultural spectacle. The annual event is a celebration
of North Devon's agricultural roots. A host of livestock classes occupy the arenas.
LOBSTER AND CRAB FEAST
CLOVELLY - SUN 6th SEPT 2015
Clovelly celebrates its famous lobsters and
crabs sustainably caught by its fishermen
with a great day out for all the family.
APPLEDORE BOOK FESTIVAL
appledore - Sat 26th Sep - Sun 4th Oct 2015
The Appledore Book Festival was founded in October 2006 by a local committee led by
local children’s author Nick Arnold who
became Festival Director.
NORTH DEVON FOODFEST 2015
BARNSTAPLE - SUN 25th OCT 2015
The Foodfest event took place at Barnstaple’s Historic Pannier Market with chef demonstrations being held in the Queen’s Theatre. The annual celebration of North Devon’s finest food featured over 90 local
food and drink exhibitors, chef
demonstrations, tastings and live music.
MORE EVENTS IN NORTH DEVON
EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK
RHS GARDEN ROSEMOOR
SOUTH WEST COAST PATH
THE TARKA TRAIL