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“-Re-review: Home from home” We never go anywhere twice if we don't like everything about the place we stay, (we can be very picky) but we have returned here for a number of years now. Challacombe is a great little village, with friendly people, quiet lanes, a Post Office (that does home-made take-aways on Tuesdays: we had a lovely roast chicken dinner but the previous week was pork in cider) and a pub with great food. I was far too relaxed to cook every night and could just about manage the 3 minute walk; though with so much to look at it usually took 10 . You can tell it's a safe place for dogs and children because the ducks from the stream were laying their eggs in the road and soft verges. These charming lanes come with an abundance of wildflowers rather than white lines and if you like walking you'll love the footpaths that lead off the lanes and all within a 2 minute walk from the cottage door. We still haven't got round to all of them!
The cottage itself is roomy and well-equipped.Being out in the National Park the cottages have a septic tank but that doesn't cause any issues unless you're daft enough to flush baby wipes down the loo and bung up the pipes, which only causes a back-up and a pong in the cottage where it was done. There are no phones in the cottages and a mobile signal is a bit hit-and-miss but you can always log on to the wi-fi and make the folks you left behind jealous, like we did. The wi-fi isn't fast enough for streaming but who has time for that anyway? We also found it so much better to wake up to the sounds of birds than the noise of traffic. (Rush hour in the village consists of a car and a quad-bike at around 7.30am & again at 4.30pm as far as we could tell.
Each cottage here has it's own garden but they all vary in size. The Gatehouse garden is like the Secret Garden. It's not manicured into a green desert and devoid of life. There is no lawn, the plants are exuberant and so is the wildlife. In half an hour we counted 12 different species of birds, a couple of (now rare) hedgehogs and loads of butterflies. There are two other areas in the grounds to loll about in. On the flat, and across the car-park, is a wildlife area. Obviously this is "managed wild" and there is a largish pond so children and dogs should be supervised. It might get a bit squishy underfoot sometimes too so not somewhere to wear your Jimmy Choos. The other area is up the hill. Kids and dogs love running through the long grass to the play frame whilst I prefer to use the mown paths to sneak a peek over the wall at the Alpacas in the adjoining field. If you and your children would like something a little more exotic the Exmoor Zoo is just a ten minute drive up the road; where you can get really close to all the exhibits and their keepers. If you like to relax on holiday, connect with nature, recharge your batteries and see the night sky covered in twinkling stars, this is the place to come. If you just want to move your life to a different location for a while, go somewhere else.