3 miles from Bradworthy, 8 miles from Bude, and in the most rural, timeless area of north Devon is Soldon Manor, a beautiful, important and historic, 16th cent. manor house, recently renovated with a huge amount of care and attention to detail to provide a wonderful, comfortable and intriguing place to stay. A short gravelled drive sweeps up to the house. Immediately to the front, a level lawn and formal garden; to one side, a stunning, walled and hedged herb and rose garden (table/benches), beautifully planted and perfect for early morning sun and alfresco breakfasts; to the other side, a gravelled, enclosed courtyard (big table/chairs, barbecue), ideal for evening entertainment. Beyond this, a rose garden with loggia, huge chess board and spectacular views of rolling countryside, an acre of lawn (croquet) and a young orchard.
Inside, the layout and footprint of the house have evolved over the centuries, and it's fascinating spotting clues to its history and use. You are greeted by the main entrance crowned by the Cornish Prideaux family coat of arms, and a porch flanked by slate benches, leading to a magnificent, double-height dining hall with slate flagged floor, exposed rafters, stone mullioned window and woodburner. One step down to large, oak-panelled drawing room with upright piano (small library of sheet music), oak floor, 'living flame' gas fire, and cushioned window seats below mullioned bay windows overlooking the formal garden. Smaller sitting/reading room with woodburner. An oak staircase winds up to a very pretty double bedroom with en suite bathroom (suite plus hand-shower).
From the drawing room, a concealed door in the panelling leads to a servants' passageway into a large farmhouse-style kitchen with slate worktops, 4-door Aga, gas hob/separate oven, twin Belfast sinks, big fridge-freezer with ice-maker, dishwasher and microwave. Beyond the kitchen, a family living room with enormous walk-in fireplace (woodburner, original bread oven), TV/DVD and door to herb and rose garden. Utility room (washing machine, tumble drier, freezer, larder fridge, sink, door to courtyard) and downstairs cloakroom with loo, washbasin and large granite salting trough originally used for preserving sides of meat.
Two staircases, one beautifully elegant, up to seven further bedrooms – two double (5' beds) at the front of the house, one with en suite shower-room (suite), the other with en suite bathroom (suite plus hand-shower and separate shower); between these rooms, two pretty interconnecting singles (one without clothes-hanging space); towards the rear of the house, a third double (footboard) with en suite shower-room (suite), another pretty double (washbasin, shaver point), and a room with a double and single bed (washbasin, shaver point), and family bathroom (suite plus hand-shower and separate shower). All double beds have footboards.
Professional catering available. Damages Deposit £500. Arrival after 4pm. All beds made up with blankets other than the single beds which have duvets. Altogether, a tremendous house for gatherings of all sorts, from reading groups to large family celebrations - warmth, masses of space, generous accommodation and wonderful comfort.
|Size||Sleeps up to 14, 8 bedrooms|
|Will consider||Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, TV, Telephone|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms of which 5 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (2), Double beds (6)|
|Other||Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Private garden, Shared garden|
|Further details indoors|
Please bring your own beach towels.
The agent has its own star rating system to quantify interior quality, comfort and ambience. This property has been rated 5 star.
North Devon: its coast is perhaps the most varied of all, from Hartland Quay with its tremendous cliffs and multi-coloured rocks like dinosaurs' backs, via car-free Clovelly village tumbling to the sea, and the estuaries of the river Torridge (where Tarka lived) and river Taw, and Braunton's wilderness of sand dunes (all good for birdwatching), to the best sand/surf beaches in Devon at Saunton (the West Country's best golf course too), Croyde and Woolacombe, all the way to Exmoor.
The main town is Barnstaple - busy, thriving, not too big. The Tarka Trail cycleway (bicycles for hire) follows, very attractively, the river Torridge from deep inland to the sea and on past Instow's good beach and lovely cricket ground to Bideford, from where Elizabethan merchantmen sailed. From Hartland Point's lighthouse, great views to Lundy Island - and from Ilfracombe ships (day trips) to it. In Appledore unusual ships are built and its heart is very pretty. Inland, woods and fields roll, sometimes steeply, with streams, rivers and farms, almost totally unspoilt - as is most of the coast. Its north-west, stretching from Hatherleigh to Hartland, is Devon's least changed, least visited, least inhabited part, a country of big fields, some forests, gently undulating, with long, long views beneath big skies where old men in their vegetable gardens look up as a car passes. Holsworthy is the main (very small) town, with square, market, firm purpose. The river Tamar rises in the Tamar Lakes (watersports, fishing). The roads are straighter and less high-hedged than most in Devon - and emptier.
Bradworthy: ancient village (church, pub, tea room, shops) in Devon's least changed farmland, 4 miles from a main road, close to Cornwall. The Tamar Lakes (fishing, sailing, windsurfing), 3 miles; good sandy beach at Sandymouth, 8 miles. More tremendous beaches at Bude, 11 miles; Clovelly, 11 miles; Hartland's great cliffs, 12.