Tucked away in an exceptionally tranquil part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by wooded hills, country lanes and abundant wildlife, yet only a short drive to the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Coast. The popular seaside town of Lyme Regis, the charming fishing village of Beer and picturesque Branscombe are all within 15 minutes. Axminster, home of the famous River Cottage Canteen, is 10 minutes away while their Park Farm HQ is even closer. A 30-minute drive will take you to the elegant Regency resort of Sidmouth.
The Byre is in the grounds of Bulmoor Farmhouse, which dates from 1797 and is listed by English Heritage as a building of “Special Architectural and Historical Importance”. The present owners, using traditional skills and materials, have painstakingly restored both buildings, and the ancient cider apple orchard. In the Byre, the generous dimensions of the former milking parlour, cowshed, large stable doors, hopper windows and high vaulted ceilings have all been retained, creating the quirky spaciousness that is the dominant feature of the accommodation.
Its attractions are year round, but at their very best in April to May when the woods and hedgerows are awash with wild flowers and the orchards are in full bloom - The perfect hideaway for a coast and country holiday, 4-star rated by Visit England.
The 2nd bedroom is an en-suite twin in the adjoining wing (It has its own front door so may not be suitable for children under 6 years old unless accompanied by an older child or an adult).
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 en suites|
|Check in time:||16:00|
|Check out time:||10:00|
|Nearest beach||Lyme Regis 5.6 km|
|Nearest Amenities||7 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Exeter 30 km, Nearest railway: Axminster 7 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Fireplace, Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, CD player, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Furniture||Cots available (1), Dining seats for 5, Lounge seats for 5|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair available|
|Outdoors||Private garden, Shared garden, BBQ|
|Access||Secure parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
Most visitors find the attractions of the West Dorset and East Devon coastal area to be more than adequate for a one or two week stay, but the Byre can also be a convenient base for exploring the wider region:
Two hours using the fast A30 road down the Southwest Peninsular will take you well into Cornwall, with its distinct Celtic culture and myriad of pretty coastal villages, hidden coves and sandy beaches. A small detour will take you via the wild Dartmoor National Park.
A shorter distance away in the same westerly direction you will find the bustling resorts of Torbay, for those who wish to sample tourism on a larger scale than the gentler version of our own area. Just beyond Torbay is exclusive, up-market South Hams, a picturesque landscape of long narrow sea inlets that makes it the yacht peoples' utopia dominated by the stylish waterside towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe.
Alternatively, the A377 route out of Exeter, or the "Tarka Line" steam railway, takes you along the scenic Exe and Taw river valleys to the ruggedly spectacular north coast where quaint, gravity-defying villages, such Clovelly and Lynmouth, cling to the steep rocky slopes. Here, where the southwest coast faces directly into the open Atlantic, is where England's best surfing beaches are to be found.
Stonehenge, the 4000-year old World Heritage Site, is about 90 minutes away by the main A303 road towards London. A visit here could be combined with a trip to the nearby 12th century cathedral city of Salisbury.
The Roman Empire spa town of Bath, the third most popular city for overseas visitors to England, lies only 90km directly to the north. You can drive through the Somerset countryside via Gladstone, home of the massive mid-summer pop music festival and now the centre for all things "new age".
Many Bulmoor Farmhouse guests are happy to simply use The Byre as a country retreat, enjoying the relaxing ambience of the accommodation itself, and the tranquillity of its natural surroundings. But this is not to say that the local area does not have a wide enough variety of other options:
The coast is undoubtedly the major attraction, especially for children. The continually changing geology that led to its status as a World Heritage Site, from the spectacular red sandstone cliffs of the west, to the white chalk of the middle section and the fossil-bearing blue lais just beyond Lyme, has also produce a whole range of different beach types, which include the massive, 20km long, shingle bank that is Chesil Beach at its eastern extremity.
The most popular sandy beaches are to be found at Lyme Regis and Sidmouth, where the rocky outcrops can also provide hours of rock-pooling fun, along with fossil hunting in the case of Lyme. Opportunities for water-based activities are plentiful. The Cobb at Lyme and Beer beach are the main centres, where sea-fishing trips can be booked and all types of boat hire are available.
If you believe that England has no jungles, you may wish to experience the Undercliff, a 4-hour coastal trek between Lyme and Seaton, where a long history of hugely over-grown landslips have left nature virtually untouched by man since the beginning of time.
Inland is a nature lover's paradise, not surprisingly given its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The labyrinths of county lanes that connect the sleepy villages of thatched cottages, with their traditional pubs, are perfect for casual strolls. They are also the reason why bicycles mounted on our visitors' cars are a common sight at The Byre. For more serious walkers, it is also of interest to know that Bulmoor Farmhouse is directly on the East Devon Way, a long route through this breathtaking scenery, from Lyme Regis to Exmouth 50km away.
The area offers a wide range of small, reasonably priced, leisure developments that are particularly suitable for families. Brief descriptions of some examples are given in the following paragraphs. Details can be found on their own websites:
(1) The Donkey Sanctuary, at Salcombe Regis; a charity that rescues mistreated donkeys worldwide. Entrance is free of charge.
(2) Pecorama, near Beer; a leisure park based on the theme of model railways where you could easily spend most of a day.
(3) Axe Valley Wildlife Park, Axminster; excellent value, family run business with many different native and exotic animals, including chipmunks and meerkats, many of which wander freely around the park. It has a cafe and large play and picnic areas. Parking is free.
(4) The Seaton Tramway; trips through the picturesque wildlife reserve of the Axe Estuary and its wetlands to the historical village of Colyton on miniature copies of world famous trams.
(5) Abbotsbury Swanery; peak visitor time is around noon for the mass feeding of some 600 swans. Most popular period is springtime, of course, when all the cygnets have just been born.
Festivals and country fairs take place throughout the spring and summer. The most famous is the Sidmouth Folk Festival when, throughout the first week in August, the streets and pubs of this normally sedate resort transform into a heaving spontaneous theatre of musicians and dancers. The Beer Sailing Regatta and the very family-orientated Beautiful Days Festival at the Escot Centre are also in August.
As the darker evenings arrive in late summer, each town takes its turn to put on a carnival parade of brightly lit musical floats, each with its own fancy dress theme. This late season finishes with the centuries old and nerve jangling, Burning Barrels Race through the streets of Ottery St. Mary.
Pub life is thriving: Try the traditional unspoilt Fountain Head in Branscombe. Almost all of these hostelries, like the thatched Harbour Inn in Axmouth, provide bar meals. The Mason Arms speciality, in Branscombe, is the spit roast done in its large inglenook fireplace.
While on the subject of eating out, it well worth bearing in mind that, in recent years, the Devon-Dorset border area around Bulmoor Farmhouse has gained a reputation as the Local Produce Capital of the Country assisted by TV campaigns for better food, such as those of the River Cottage series. It is now strongly reflected in the menus of local restaurants. Some of our favourites are:
(1) Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis with panoramic views over the bay - Perfect for a summer evening.
(2) Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis; trendy timber and glass built West Country outpost of the top London chef, Mark Hix, with views over the Cobb Harbour.
(3) Royal Glen, Sidmouth, former childhood holiday home of Queen Victoria.
(4) Coombe House Hotel, Gittisham; literally in world class, for a very special occasion.
Or you may choose to do it yourselves in the Byre kitchen or barbeque by shopping at one of the local farm shops or markets that take place weekly in all the larger towns, buying your fish and shellfish directly from the boats in Lyme, or on the beach at Beer, and choosing a country wine at the Lyme Bay Winery in Whitford.
So, while the area is thankfully devoid of the mass tourism developments that are typical of many English holiday destinations, you are unlikely to be short of memorable experiences to fully occupy your stay with us.