Hear birdsong, the bleat of sheep, the odd tractor, a whisper of breeze, silence.... with no background hum of traffic
Marvel at the brilliance of stars in a truly dark sky......with no city glow to dim them
Tucked away down a private lane in sight of Exmoor & 5 miles from the sea.
Our 5 acres of gardens, woods & meadows offer a central base close to Arlington Court (N.T.), Wistlandpound Reservoir and Blackmoor Gate - the western gateway to Exmoor National Park.
A peaceful Holiday Cottage, away from holiday crowds, yet within easy reach of North Devon's famous surfing beaches, sandy coves, dramatic cliffs, glorious moorland and numerous visitor attractions.
The Old Farmhouse has been our well-loved family home for 25 years.
We hope it will feel like your home, during your stay.
Guests frequently call it 'a real home-from-home' or 'a Happy House'.
Children often find it 'magical'.
Well, it may not be Hogwarts, but it does have lots of character & places to explore!
'City kids', especially, relish the space and freedom - with no traffic or neighbours to worry about!
Especially after many repeat bookings, we find most of our guests tend to fall into the following categories:
- Traditional fun family holidays
- Groups of old friends having a special celebration, reunion or get-together.
- Large extended families - from grandparents to grandchildren
(Big families love being able to sit down to eat together around our huge old Dining Table)
- Many Overseas Visitors come to explore this beautiful part of the UK.
- Walkers, Cyclists & Nature lovers appreciate the unspoiled countryside and the area's numerous Footpaths & Cycleways.
- A cosy festive venue for Christmas or New Year - complete with tree & fully decorated farmhouse!
- A place 'to get away from it all' - to read, write, paint or just unwind.
Many guests just stay here - spending their time relaxing - enjoying the gardens - and the peace.
We hope you will decide to come and stay in the Old Farmhouse - we assure you of a warm Devon welcome!
Cheryl and Edward Thornburgh
|Size||Sleeps up to 12, 4 bedrooms|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, TV, Video player, CD player, Safe, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||Double beds (3), Single beds (6), Cots (2), Dining seats for 14, Lounge seats for 14|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Private garden, BBQ|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
|Further details indoors|
Our traditional Devon self-catering Farmhouse provides spacious accommodation for parties of 4 - 12 adults (+ 2 Cots).
Farmhouse, Cottage & Barns date from the 18th c, maybe earlier.
A real character property full of beams and Country Cottage charm.
There are even roses and honeysuckle round the porch!
The Main windows face south - making house light & sunny - with beautiful views across the wooded Valley.
With full central heating & most windows double glazed, it is always warm and cosy (even in the depths of winter).
So - If the weather turns grey (at any time of year) you can toast your toes in front of a cheery log fire, curl up in an armchair with a book, play games or watch an old movie.
(lots of books, games and movies provided - both for adults and kids)
At Christmas and New Year we decorate the house with boughs of greenery, twinkly lights and traditional decorations, plus, of course, a real Christmas Tree.
With logs crackling in the Inglenook fireplace, our guests often comment: the old Farmhouse looks just like a Christmas Card!
Downstairs 2 large oak-beamed rooms open off the central hallway.
Both have woodburners, music systems, TV/Video/DVD and sofas/armchairs. Large windows onto front garden.
The Big Sitting Room has an Ingle Nook, a traditional flagstone floor with rugs & a huge antique table which comfortably seats 12.
The other has a well-equipped kitchen/Dining area with round (extending) table.
The larger room will easily accommodate a group of 12, but having separate rooms for different tastes in Music or TV can sometimes be useful!!
Bedroom A (large room): 1 pine double + single divan.
Bedroom B (medium room): 1 pine double (photo)
Bedroom C (smaller room): 2 pine singles
Bedroom D (very large room): 1 pine double, 1 pine single, pine bunkbeds, pine Cotbed.
All beds are adult size. A 2nd cot (standard-size) will fit in Rooms A - or B , if bedside unit is removed
There are 2 bathrooms at each end of the house, at the bottom of small flights of stairs leading to the bedrooms.
One has shower + standard bath, the other has a lovely old bath which is long and deep enough to lie down in.
Bring bubbles for a relaxing holiday soak!!
When we have visitors, the two of us live in the end of the white Cottage (see last photo), a traditional 'Devon Longhouse'. It adjoins but does not overlook the guest accommodation, giving you complete privacy.
However, we are on hand if you need assistance, require local information* or just feel like a chat!
* We are always happy to put on the kettle and spread out the map to show you our favourite places.
(we also provide guide books, maps and masses of local information)
|Further details outdoors|
The Farmhouse has a pretty south-facing private walled garden at the front, which is a real sun-trap.
The garden path leads from the front porch out into the main (paved) farmyard - with plenty of parking.
At the rear, the back door leads from beside the kitchen into a paved area with terraced flower beds and built-in brick BBQ. Three steps lead up into the pretty rear garden, which has picnic tables, lawns, mature trees and lots of flowers. (lovingly nurtured in our greenhouse!)
Behind this, is a large wildflower meadow, a living Willow Dome, a Volleyball/Badminton Pitch and a rather spendid lime tree which makes a great kids' den. Plenty of room for young ones to run around and let off steam!
Beyond the above guest 'guest gardens', you are free to enjoy the trail which winds through the rest of our gardens, woodland and our 2 acre 'top meadow' which has views across to Exmoor.
A public footpath passes through our property.
One way leads across the fields to an excellent award-winning Farmshop, selling local produce.
The opposite direction leads down through our valley (with exquisite views), crosses the tiny River Yeo (watch for salmon) and up the other side to village of Bratton Fleming with its Village Stores and traditional Pub.
Our 5 acres and original farm buildings form an 'island' surrounded by the grazing pastures of Tidicombe Farm, a working hill farm with sheep, cattle and sometimes horses. So plenty to please young animal lovers - particularly the little leaping lambs and calves of Spring/Easter.
We have always reckoned North Devon is a pretty special place....
Now the United Nations has declared it a 'world class biosphere' - 1 of only 2 in the UK!
A rare unspoiled environment with sustainable ecosystems in balance with mankind.
The stunning coastline is also designated an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)
The North coast's towering cliffs and dramatic headlands are interspersed with beautiful rocky coves and charming fishing harbours.
The East and West Lyn rivers flowing off Exmoor, have carved out steep-sided, wooded valleys with exquisite walks beside limpid pools and tumbling waterfalls. Salmon leap in full spate - and children splash in summer. Beside the river, the National Trust Tea Gardens at Watersmeet are a personal favourite treat.
Downstream, the picturesque twin villages Lynton (atop the cliffs) and Lynmouth are connected by their historic Victorian water-powered Cliff Railway. (a must-see!)
Beyond is Lynton's extraordinary glacier-scoured Valley of Rocks.
This rugged coast boasts the tallest cliffs in England.
Three times as high as the White Cliffs of Dover & nearly double the height of Beachy Head!!
The vertiginous South West Coast Path passes Roman fortlets with spectacular views along the coast, across to Wales and (gulp) straight down to the waves - over 300 metres below!
Rugged Morte Point (wonderful walks) knifes jaggedly out into the crashing surf where Bristol Channel meets Atlantic and the coast turns south.
Sheltering in the lee, are delightful sandy coves and rock pools with views across to Lundy Island..
Surfers from across the globe ride the Atlantic breakers rolling in over the famous sands of Saunton, Woolacombe & Croyde (a 'chocolate box' Devon Village of thatched cottages)
Perfect seaside beaches for swimming, sandcastles, games, kite-flying, walking by the waves or just sunbathing.
Miles of flat sandy beach, backed by dunes and nature reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage site with footpaths) culminate at Crow Point where the glorious River Estuaries of the Taw and Torridge unite and flow into the sea.
Opposite Crow Point, the charming old fishing villages of Instow and Appledore (with its many artists) face each other across the water below historic Bideford.
Inland, North Devon's hills are covered with an ancient patchwork of woods and small green fields grazed by sheep and cattle and enclosed by ‘Devon Banks’. The countryside is crisscrossed with old lanes no more than a cartswidth wide and bounded by hedgerows which bloom with a veritable garden of wildflowers, especially in Spring and early Summer.
Life moves at a slower pace here - be prepared to wait while tractor drivers swap news or cows amble slowly back to their milking parlour...
Exmoor - heather-covered moorland, wild ponies, tumbling streams, ancient stones, wooded valleys and picture book villages.
Wildlife - Foxes and Badgers track through our top meadow, Buzzards wheel overhead and Red Deer cross the hillside. Swallows & House Martins nest in our buildings and Woodpeckers & Spotted Flycatchers have been seen by the bird table. Cheeky pheasants raise chicks here and dig up our flower beds!
We are keeping our eyes open for Otters, which have now returned to Tarka country.
We know of no other area of Britain where such an incredible variety of landscape and seascape occur in such a small area. All of the places described are within an area only 20 miles square - and we feel very blessed to live here, right in the middle, within easy reach of all these lovely places!!
Indeed, many of our guests return because "there is just far too much to explore in a week!" Then again, another family discovered their little bit of heaven on their first day, in an unfrequented leafy glade beside an upstream translucent swimming pool on a bend of the wooded River Lyn. They went back there every single day.
Local towns Barnstaple, Bideford, South Molton, Lynton/Lynmouth and the Victorian sea-side resort of Ilfracombe are all within 15-30 minutes drive. Each has its own distinctive character and history (all have museums) and as well as general shopping, the first three offer regular Pannier Markets selling local produce.
Many excellent restaurants ranging from the glamorous, e.g. Damien Hurst’s Ilfracombe harbour-side eaterie and tapas bar, to cheerful family ‘chippies’ frying local fish.
Most Country Pubs, including several near us, serve good food.
Cottage Tea Gardens serve toasted teacakes and wicked but wonderful Devon Cream Teas...with scones and jam and clotted cream...yum!
The nearby Old Station Inn (7 mins) has a family restaurant serving a wide range of good value food and has a take-away service. It also sells a basic range of foodstuffs.
Even closer, is our local award-winning Farm Shop (a few minutes drive or a pretty walk across the fields by the footpath)
There are also Village Stores at Kentisbury and Bratton Fleming (10-15 mins)
There are several interesting Historic Houses and Gardens in the area.
Within a mile is Arlington Court, owned by the National Trust.
The ancestral home of the Chichesters (who once owned Tidicombe), it has lovely grounds and walks, an interesting house, walled garden and a renowned Carriage Museum. They offer Bat Watching and lots of summer activities for families.
Several excellent Open Gardens include wonderful RHS Rosemoor and Marwood Gardens.
A little further afield (but a pretty drive and great 'day out') is the dramatic Eden Project with its vast climatic ‘Biomes’ enclosing tropical rainforest and other ecosystems.
A lot of Artists and Musicians live in North Devon and we are well served with Theatres, Cinemas and numerous Art and Crafts Galleries, including the superb Broomhill International Sculpture Garden & Restaurant.
Various venues offer regular live Music and Theatre and there are various themed Music and Arts Festivals throughout the year. e.g. The Lynton Jazz Festival in June, Art Trek open studios in July and the North Devon Show in August.
Numerous public footpaths cross unspoiled countryside, moorland, and follow Coast and River Estuaries (including the Tarka Trail which can be explored on foot or by hired bicycle).
One footpath crosses our farmyard, goes down the valley, across an old stone bridge and up past the pub into the village of Bratton Fleming. In the other direction it crosses fields to arrive at the local farm shop.
There are many others close by, including one through the pretty woods of ‘Frog Street’ and a lovely scenic path round Wistlandpound Reservoir and Country Park (4 mins by car). The Reservoir also offers fly fishing (rainbow trout).
Many of our guests bring bikes. We are on a Sustrans Cycle Route which offers hills, but for those who prefer level cycling, there are pretty, traffic-free cycle routes, along the Taw and Torridge River estuaries.
Fishing trips, Coastal tours and day trips to Lundy Island.
Golf courses, Sea/Freshwater Fishing, Surfing, Windsurfing, Riding, Cycling (Tarka Trail with bike hire), Paragliding, Sailing, plus excellent indoor facilities for Swimming, Tennis, 10 pin bowling, Gym/Fitness Studios etc.
Holiday Attractions for both adults and kids (many are under cover):
Fairground Rides - Adventure Parks - Farm Parks - Falconry & Sheepdog Displays - Wildlife Parks - Animatronic Dinosaurs - Sheep Racing (yes, really!) - Glass Blowing at Dartington Crystal - Quad Biking - Train Rides and Railway centres - Tropical Adventure Pool - Brass Rubbing - Pottery throwing - Working Beehives - Cider Making - Paintball - even ‘Barometer World’ and The Gnome Reserve (visitors wear red pointy hats) - so all tastes and weather are catered for!