Discover North Devon & Exmoor
Close to the sea, children and adults will love the sandy beaches, the rock pools and the cliffs.
The area is famous for water sports and activity holidays including, surfing, sailing, waterskiing, kiting, diving, rock climbing, horse riding, fishing and more, whilst walkers and cyclists will enjoy the famous Tarka Trail, the idyllic countryside and the coastal footpaths. Golf at the Royal North Devon (the oldest links course in England) is only 3 miles along the coast.
Nearby, Bideford (2½ miles) has town amenities, restaurants and delightful quayside where boat trips are available to Lundy Island.
Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks are only a short drive away.
The village of Abbotsham is a friendly parish, with a country pub, a church, a shop and post office and a children’s play area. Best of all -The Big Sheep, a very popular tourist attraction, famous for its crazy sheep race, and award winning real ale brewery is within walking distance at the bottom of the hill!
Golden Coast - Golden Moments...
Miles of golden sands at Westward Ho! and Instow and further afield at Saunton, Croyde, Woolacombe, Sandymouth, Bude and more... offer a hAll the main beaches in North Devon have been awarded Blue Flag or Seaside Award status, ensuring excellent facilities and water quality.
Smaller beaches like Peppercombe, Bucks Mills or Abbotsham Cliffs present a different experience with rugged coastline and countless rock-pools to explore.
Sheltered harbours at Appledore and Clovelly make great spots for fishing or for the children, the excitement of crabbing at high tide.
Exceptional Environments - Lovely Landscapes
North Devon’s beautiful coast and countryside includes many areas registered as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and to the north lies Exmoor National Park, rugged and wild and as unchanging as ever, a place where wild moor land meets the sea; wooded combes end in waterfalls and wild ponies and deer roam free.
At the heart of North Devon are the Rivers Taw and Torridge, Tarka the Otter country, where cycle and nature trails take you into the midst of our lovely countryside. The estuary, where the two rivers meet before they make a bid for the open sea has a fascinating dune system, Braunton and Northam Burrows have been given World Biosphere Reserve Status by UNESCO celebrating the co-existence of man and the countryside.
On the westward horizon, Lundy Island stands out as a solitary beacon, surrounded by Britain’s only Statutory Marine Reserve. Accessible by boat if the weather is fair and the tides are righrt from Clovelly, Bideford or Ilfracombe and by helicopter from Hartland, it makes a wonderful day out.
Local Food and Drink - Fresh and Delicious
Cosy country pub to harbour-side inn, bistros to bars, tearooms to taverns…. the range of traditional fayre and gastronomic delights is endless! But don’t go without sampling our most celebrated local favourite – a Devon cream tea.
Love food? Self-catering? Why not buy your fresh fish from the quayside at high tide or visit a local market for newly harvested fruit and vegetables. Sourcing your own fresh ingredients with zero air miles – now that’s a shopping experience worth having and a gastronomic experience worth tasting!
Come Alive - Feel The Vibe...
If it’s thrills and spills you are after, there is little that will beat the immense buzz and adrenalin rush of surfing!
Alternatively, why not try mountain boarding or the climbing wall and high ropes course at the South West Extreme, a centre for all extreme sports (in the village) or paragliding above the cliffs; windsurfing or sailing in the estuary, go kiting or kayaking; climbing or abseiling? Our local adventure centre Skern Lodge could show you the ropes!
For a more relaxed pace, a round of golf at one of Devon’s spectacular courses could be just the ticket. The Royal North Devon Golf Club (the oldest links course in England) is only 3 miles along the coast.
With hundreds of miles of footpaths and designated cycle tracks, including the fabled Tarka Trail, North Devon and Exmoor is the perfect place for rambling and cycling whilst horse lovers can canter along the beach, across the moors or around the deep Devon lanes.
Festivals and Events - So Much To See And Do
Spring brings the North Devon & Exmoor Walking and Cycling Festival, a brilliant way to get rid of the cobwebs and experience the coast, countryside and moorland.
A giant Easter Egg Hunt for the children (300,000 eggs) takes place every year in Abbotsham at the Big Sheep and in Great Torrington the town May Fair Celebrations which first took place in 1554 are the highlight of the year
If beach football, mountain-bike trials, volleyball, skating, surfing and live music are your thing, the Gold Coast Oceanfest at Croyde is the place to be in June.
An eclectic mix of music can be heard at the Barnstaple Fringe Music Festival and Appledore Visual Arts Festival is famous for its innovative programme and its community spirit in June/July
RHS Garden Rosemoor in Torrington has a delightful program of over 80 events throughout the year but is particularly renown for its annual September Festival and The Big Sheep in Abbotsham is the place to be in October for a memorable Halloween.
Cultural North Devon
North Devon is a haven for the creative spirit. Our inspirational landscapes have influenced famous writers, poets, artists and musicians. Follow in the footsteps of Henry Williamson, Rugard Kipling, RD Blackmoor or Conan Doyle and discover the local connections to Tarka the Otter, Westward Ho! Lorna Doone, or The Hound of the Baskervilles?
There is such a rich heritage to discover, from stone rows and circles on Dartmoor, to the splendour of our churches and castles. Local libraries and museums are crammed with our unique and fascinating history but a trip to the ‘Kathleen and May’ on Bideford Quay or to ‘Torrington 1646’ for lively re-enactments of the Civil War period will really bring the past to life.
Many visitors enjoy a creative pastime or learn a new one - pottery, painting, rural crafts, sculpting, photography, writing and wood carving - are just some of the choices. Distinctive local crafts, renowned, unique, traditional and contemporary designs are all waiting to be discovered, from glassware to furniture, ceramics to clocks, handmade shoes to designer clothes and more. The unique Broomhill Sculpture Garden and Gallery is well worth a visit.
Many local creations are much sought after by collectors, and with so many choices you may need to stay a little longer than planned!
A Complete Shopping Experience
If your idea of ultimate relaxation is retail therapy, then North Devon, although a rural area, has some opportunities to keep you entertained.
If you are looking for a bargain, take a very short drive to Atlantic Village Shopping Outlet. However if you are still looking for a special momento of your North Devon holiday, try visiting the charming market towns of Great Torrington, South Molton or Holsworthy or the larger centre of Barnstaple.
The Little White Town of Bideford, only 2 miles from Southclay, is both a working port and a thriving town offering a vibrant choice of shopping amenities mixed with numerous bars, cafes and restaurants and a historic pannier market.
Fill Your Days - And Memories Too
Whatever the weather, don't despair - there is heaps of fun to be had undercover!
The young as well as the young at heart will love the attractions and themed parks in North Devon and we guarantee there are some sights you will never have seen before…. The gathering of over a thousand gnomes…. The BIG Sheep Grand National….. Horse whispering…..Glass being made from grains of sand…. A Time Warp…. Dinosaurs in the woods….Laser combat zones
With such a rich maritime past, seafaring experiences abound, visit picturesque Clovelly with its steep cobbled streets and ancient harbour. The magnificently restored three-masted schooner ‘Kathleen and May’ docked at Bideford offers an experience of life aboard a tall ship or take a pleasure cruise along the coast or across to Lundy Island.
For Quieter times or dedicated horticulturalists, North Devon has a wealth of gardens, each with its own character and specialities. In particular the RHS garden, Rosemoor is only a short drive away and further a field but within a day trip is the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Alternatively, relax and read a book or simply watch the world go by and the sun go down!
There is always something new and exciting to do each day......
There’s no doubt about it, your first visit to North Devon won’t be your last.