In addition to the lovely views from Week Parks, we are blessed with an abundance of great days out and special places to explore - many of which, including most of the beaches, welcome dogs.
From our unique location you can see both Dartmoor and Exmoor, so we are ideally situated for a day out in either of Devon’s two beautiful national parks.
Our friendly local trains run on the scenic Tarka Line between Barnstaple and Exeter, through the picturesque Taw and Yeo valleys. Why not leave your car behind and take the train from Umberleigh to Barnstaple, where you can hire bicycles to explore the Tarka Trail on two wheels? Passing through the unspoilt countryside of Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter, the Tarka Trail offers over 30 miles of cycling or walking with plenty of refreshment stops!
In North Devon, you’ll find some of the finest beaches in the UK. Close by are Westward Ho! and Northam Burrows nature reserve, where you can explore the dunes in the company of ponies, goats and sheep – along with the occasional golfer!
To the north, just before you reach Braunton, is Crow Point, an unspoilt and usually very quiet spot and one of our favourite places to take our dogs. You can look across the river at Instow and Appledore as you walk along the beach and over the dunes as far as the mouth of the River Taw. Further along past Braunton is Saunton Sands, with its imposing art deco hotel, gorse-clad cliffs and cheerful beach huts adorning the impressive expanse of flat sand stretching for 3 miles.
A bit further on are the famous surfing beach at Croyde Bay and the pretty coastal resort of Woolacombe, voted one of Britain’s best beaches. It has won the Blue Flag and Premier Seaside Beach awards.
The beaches are all zoned for dogs during the summer months, but our local kennels offer crèche days if you wish to head out for the day without your faithful friend.
Golfers will be tempted by Saunton golf club, boasting two of the finest links courses you can find. At Westward Ho!, Royal North Devon is the oldest club in England, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2011 and is a true links test. Even closer (less than two minutes away), Libbaton golf club is a friendly local club boasting a fine course with spectacular views and practice facilities.
For local history and garden enthusiasts,there are many National Trust properties close by, including Arlington Court and Killerton, both of which offer truly fascinating and interactive glimpses of times and lives gone by.
A 20-minute drive takes you to the beautiful 65-acre gardens at RHS Rosemoor, a wonderful venue whether you're looking for inspiration for your garden or just a relaxing day out. Rosemoor is an intoxicating mix of meticulous planning and planting, while retaining the essence of rural North Devon within its dramatic backdrop of steep wooded hillsides. Whatever the season, children and adults alike can enjoy it time and again.
We and our dogs (albeit on leads) are also fond of Marwood Hill Garden, 20 acres of imaginative, varied and undulating gardens set in a sheltered valley, with a delightful garden tea room.
When all's said and done, you have to eat and drink, and we can recommend some super local pubs, offering great food and local beers in a convivial atmosphere. If you want to treat yourself to some fine dining, do try the Michelin-starred Masons Arms. The George in South Molton offers great food in a relaxed but elegantly refurbished pub and, in Kings Nympton, The Grove Inn is a welcoming, dog-friendly village inn serving delicious food, home made using local ingredients, and local beers/ciders are always available. Within walking distance, the Old George Inn is a charming 16th century thatched pub in High Bickington itself.
For the cooks among you, our neighbours at award-winning Higher Hacknell farm organically and you can buy their delicious meat direct from their butcher's counter.
With its proud farming tradition and lush pastures North Devon is a great place to find really fresh local produce. At the farmers’ markets at Barnstaple and South Molton you can source wonderful fresh meat, vegetable and local specialities. Barnstaple Pannier Market and the adjoining Butchers Row were both completed in 1855 and to this day there are many foodie shops and stalls selling local produce. Just a few years later, South Molton Pannier Market was opened in 1864. Thursday is the main market day – you could even buy sheep and cattle if you wish!