Appledore - Along the quaint, narrow streets and drangs of Appledore there are many fishermen’s cottages, some of which date back to the Elizabethan era. Where the Taw and Torridge rivers meet, sits the delightful quayside village of Appledore, next to the River Torridge. Appledore boasts a small but great range of shops, pubs, guesthouses and art galleries. A thriving fishing and trading village since the 14th century, Appledore has been a famous boat-building centre for many years and the shipyard is still active today. Picturesque Appledore provides a peaceful base from which to explore North Devon, and is close to surf beaches plus the ancient market towns of Bideford, Barnstaple and Great Torrington.
Bideford - It’s easy to see why Bideford is so popular with visitors and locals alike, as the narrow streets cascade from its historic pannier market towards the quayside in a jumble of antique shops, cafe’s and cosy pubs. Charles Kingsley’s description of Bideford as “The Little White Town, which slopes upward from its broad river tide” paints a picturesque one hundred & fifty year old image of the town that has not changed much to the present day. However, Bideford is now definitely in the 21st century with its new Torridge Bridge, its recently enhanced quay area, excellent shopping, a variety of restaurants. Then there are the theme parks like The Big Sheep & The Milky Way and so much more, which adds up to make Bideford a great place to stay in or visit. You could pay a visit to the Atlantic Village Shopping Outlet where you can purchase the latest designer clothing, sportswear, household goods and much more. If you are feeling energetic, you could take a cycle ride or a walk on the Tarka Trail and stop for a spot of lunch and a beer at one of the many traditional pubs along the route, often supplied by acclaimed micro-breweries in the local area. Take a trip to Lundy Island on the MS Oldenburg, the ferry that regularly makes the 14-mile journey to the island and back. This will enable you to see Bideford, Lundy and the surrounding area from a very different perspective.
Bude - The town overlooks a wide bay of hard golden sand flanked by spectacular cliffs and protected by a breakwater. There is a seawater swimming pool under Summerleaze Downs which means safety for swimmers even at low tide. Bude's Sea pool is approximately 290 feet long by 140 feet wide with a walkway around the edge. Two excellent lifeguard patrolled beaches - Crooklets and Summerleaze - have extensive flat sands when the tide is out and are perfect for beach lovers of all ages. As well as the seawater pool, Bude now also boasts a large heated indoor leisure pool with flume, wave machine and cafe. Laser dome, trampolines, putting, floodlit tennis courts, mini-golf and go-karting close to the beaches all add to the family fun.
Clovelly - Set into a steep hillside, Clovelly is one of the best known and most unusual villages in the North Devon. The cobbled high street winds its way down the hillside through traditional 16th century whitewashed cottages decked with fuchsias and geraniums. This street drops 400ft in the half mile down to the small harbour. Visitors have to park at the top of the hill next to the Heritage Centre as traffic is banned from the high street. There is a Land Rover service which ferries visitors up and down via a back road, for those not wishing to negotiate the steep hill on foot. This service takes visitors as far as the Red Lion beside the harbour. At one time, donkeys used to be used to take visiting tourists down into the village, but these have now been retired. All deliveries for people living in Clovelly have to be taken down the hill by sledge. These sledges can be seen at the side of the cottages by anyone walking down through the village towards the harbour. This ban on traffic has preserved the atmosphere of the village. The lower part of the village has been saved from development by the Hamlyn family, the local landowners. There are no holiday cottages allowed in the main village and no concessions to the tourist industry. Consequently, the picture postcard village is still a living village, where fishermen still mend their nets on the quay. Although the village had been a settlement for many years before, it was George Cary, a 16th century lawyer, who established Clovelly as a viable community. Cary built the stone quay and thus established the only safe harbour between Boscastle in Cornwall and Appledore higher up the North Devon coast. The small harbour once sheltered up to sixty fishing boats but this has now dwindled to a handful of small boats due to the decline of the herring fishery.
Hartland Quay - The spectacular cliffs at Hartland Quay with their incredibly contorted rock layers are always worth a visit and at low tide there is plenty of sand, rock pools and rocks to scramble over. In wild weather it is the perfect place to appreciate the power of the sea and wind as the waves crash against the cliffs and shore. With access to the South West Coast Path both North and South from the Quay, it makes an ideal start/finish point for a wide variety of walks. The Wreckers Retreat Bar offers a warm welcome with fabulous local food and drink (including fish straight from the sea) and the Hartland Quay Museum which covers the history and legends of the quay, customs houses, shipwrecks and smuggling activity.
Instow - Where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet before joining the sea, on the opposite bank to Appledore and between the villages of Westliegh and Yelland one can find the lovley village of Instow. Its estuary beach is perfect for families as sand bars protect it from the dangerous swells. The protection offered by the beach makes it a popular spot for wind surfing and kite surfing. The Tarka Trail winds its scenic way through Instow, offering easy access to the all the natural wonders, inspiring views and lookouts that surround the village. Rare orchids such as the pyramid orchid can be found amongst the nearby sand dunes. Staying closer to home one can choose between 3 pubs from which to admire the fantastic sunsets as the sun drops bellow Appledore on the opposite bank, casting its shadows on the large number of boats anchored on the sand.
Westward Ho! - Westward Ho! is a picturesque coastal village whose name derives from the Victorian novel by Charles Kingsley, and is unique as the only place in Britain with an exclamation mark in its name! Renowned for its golden sandy beach and backed by a protective pebble ridge, Westward Ho! offers a great venue for surfing with a growing reputation for kite surfing aswell. This family friendly beach boasts Blue Flag status for its water quality, lifeguard presence across the summer season and toilet facilities nearby.
If wildlife is more your thing, visit the Northam Burrows Country Park and explore its diverse range of habitats (from saltmarsh to open grassland) or join one of the family events at the Northam Burrows Centre, including rockpool rambles and guided nature walks. The stretch of coast path from Westward Ho! offers wide views across Bideford Bay and features interesting geology along Abbotsham Cliffs. The town itself has everything you need for a great family holiday, with a range offood outlets catering for all tastes.
Exmansworthy Barns, Exmansworthy
Hartland, North Devon
Tel 44 07952 242058 44 07952 242058
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