This is our nearest National Trust property. There are some wonderful walks through the 2700 acre estate, which can be reached on foot from Hill. The estate was once owned by the Chichester family (Francis Chichester is buried in the graveyard of Shirwell church, the adjoining parish to Loxhore). The house is Regency and there is one of the best carriage museums in the country, with opportunities for horse-drawn carriage rides. Visitors can also view Devon’s largest colony of Lesser Horseshoe bats via the bat cam. Tel. 01271 850296
With a population of some 35,000, Barnstaple is the principal town of North Devon. It is seven miles from Hill and takes about 15 minutes to reach. It is a major commercial centre, with all the main stores represented.
- one of the largest and busiest covered markets in the South West
- built in 1855, it houses a different kind of market each day of the week, except Sunday.
Museum of North Devon
- housed in a fine Victorian brick building alongside Barnstaple’s famous 13th century Long Bridge, this has ten galleries that display and interpret the natural, social and military history of northern Devon Tel. 01271 346747
- the Tourist information Centre is also to be found within this building Tel. 01271 375000
Barnstaple Heritage Centre
- exhibiting Barnstaple’s history from the medieval period to the present day, this is housed in a fine Grade I listed building on the quayside Tel 01271 373003
Leisure activities are catered for by:
- Let’s Go Superbowl Tel. 01271 321123
- North Devon Karting Centre Tel. 01271 328460
- North Devon Leisure Centre Tel. 01271 373361
- Tarka Tennis Centre Tel. 01271 377701
- Tarka Trail Cycle Hire Tel. 01271 324202
These are without doubt one of the finest features of the area. From Hill, you are within easy reach of a wide variety of excellent beaches ranging from the sandy expanses of those facing westwards in an Atlantic direction to the more sheltered coves facing northwards across the Bristol Channel.
Particularly worth mentioning are:
- Combe Martin at low tide, this offers a sandy beach surrounded by rock pools
- Northam Burrows ideal for swimming, surfing and sail-boarding. This beach also features a visitors’ centre explaining the ecology of the sea, open during the summer months
- Saunton Sands this offers 3 miles of glorious flat sand, with sand dunes and water excellent for surfing
- Woolacombe one of the finest beaches in the West Country, this again offers 3 miles of golden, with numerous awards
- it is renowned as an international surfing centre
- the beach stretches all the way to Putsborough
- the South West Coastal Path borders the beach, and then continues round to Baggy Point, with superb views
Broomhill Sculpture Park
This features 300 sculptures over 10 acres, by 60 internationally renowned sculptors. These is also a very fine restaurant.
Broomhill Sculpture Gardens, Muddiford, Barnstaple EX31 4EX Tel. 01271 850262
This is one of the most visited villages in North Devon, featuring white-washed houses clinging to the hillside, and cobbled streets leading down to a most ancient and historic harbour. Visitor Centre Tel. 01237 431781
A very scenic spot, sitting on the western tip of Exmoor. The cliff coastline is spectacular and backs on to beautiful moorland and valleys. Nearby is Watermouth Castle and Theme Park, and Watermouth Cove with its many rockpools.
The Visitor Centre here explains the story of glassmaking throughout the ages. There is a factory tour and shop which has really useful discounts on Dartington glass. Tel. 01805 626244 (shop) 01805 626242 (tour)
Exmoor Zoological Park
This features over 200 species of wildlife, just a short distance from the nearby village of Bratton Fleming.
Exmoor Zoological Park, South Stowford, Bratton Fleming EX31 4SG Tel. 01598 763352
This lies 11 miles off the North Devon coast, and is place of outstanding natural beauty, peaceful and unspoilt. It can be reached by boat from Ilfracombe, Bideford and Clovelly.
Lundy Island, The Quay, Bideford Tel. 01271 863636
Lynton and Lynmouth
These two villages, the first down by the harbour and the second towering above it, were named by the Victorians ‘the Switzerland of England’. The area is surrounded by sublimely beautiful gorges, part of the Exmoor National Park.
There is a variety of local activities here, including walking, fishing, golf, cycling and swimming.
The famous Cliff Railway, built in the 1880s, joins the two villages, and is a key attraction of the area Tel. 01598 753908
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway
This ran from 1898 to 1935, and was one of the most beautiful stretches of narrow-gauge railways in Britain. Part of it has been restored, based round Woody Bay station, and is open to visitors for really great steam trips. The station is just off the A39 between Lynton and Blackmoor Gate.
Tel. 01598 763487
Marwood Hill Gardens
Open every day, this is a must for anyone interested in gardening. There are 18 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, featuring a galaxy of flowers
throughout the season, herbaceous and alpine plants, trees and shrubs.
Marwood Hill Gardens, Marwood, Barnstaple EX31 4EB Tel. 01271 342528
Quince Honey Farm
This is a working honey farm, with a live bee exhibition, and sells honey and beeswax products.
Quince Honey farm, North Road, South Molton EX36 3AZ Tel. 01769 572401
This is one of the RHS’ flagship centres, and is a garden of rare horticultural interest.
RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington EX38 8PH Tel. 01805 624067
This is an ideal base from which to explore our beautiful countryside. Known as the ‘Gateway to Exmoor’, it’s a small market town situated just off the A361 North Devon link road. Key features are a pannier market on Thursday and Saturday mornings, a museum, bowling, indoor swimming, tennis and a carnival in September.
Information Centre, 1 East Street, South Molton Tel. 01769 572378
South West Coastal Path
This the longest coastal path in Britain, covering some superb and varied coastline. It starts at Minehead in Somerset and ends (630 miles later!) at Poole in Dorset. The stretch along the north Devon coast is among the most scenic in the whole walk. Information about the Path can be obtained at the Barnstaple Tourist Centre Tel. 01271 375000
Watermouth Castle and Theme Park
A good centre for entertainment for all ages, overlooking the picturesque Watermouth Cove, not far from Ilfracombe. Tel. 01271 867474
Watersmeet and Watersmeet House
If you like walking along a riverside, this is a must. The house is a 19th century fishing lodge in a beautifully picturesque setting, and now serves as a National Trust shop, with refreshments and information. It is at the confluence of the East Lyn and Hoar Oak Water, and is a focal point for several tremendous walks. Tel. 01598 753348