Over the October half-term, we decided to go on a little adventure, but this time to North Devon. In Britain, there are beautiful places to see which are full of character, natural beauty, buildings breathing history and don’t let me started on those magnificent coastlines.
Location or accommodation?
First, I always look for a pet-friendly accommodation and then I research the area. This time, our search took us to North Devon. I knew from the photos I had seen on the internet that we were going to love it.
There is five of us, four humans and one dog, who doesn’t leave our side. Our one-year-old still needed her morning naps (lasting 2 hours and more, lucky her) but once she had woken up and we had our lunch, there was no stopping us.
Planning is important. Wherever we go, I pick up various leaflets and go through them sorting out the most interesting places. While the little one was asleep, I used the time to plan our day. But sometimes we change our minds and go somewhere completely different.
Even though we spent our mornings in the house, we still managed to visit a lot of places and had a great fun exploring the great outdoors.
What we loved
Every one of us chose a different one as the best adventure or place. Our 6-year-old son picked the biking trip from Barnstable to Instow, daddy loved Lynton and Lynmouth and I admired the rock formation at Hartland Quay, even though the weather was atrocious. What did the baby like the most? That’s hard to say as she happily kicked her legs every time daddy carried her on his back. And Lola? She loved all the places where her paws touched the water!
So, if you are considering North Devon as your next destination, let me inspire you. Don’t be afraid to travel with small children or pets, accept the limitations (sometimes you might have to drink your tea outside or change the nappy in your car boot) that don’t let them stop you and go for it!
What to see in North Devon:
This is a charming town on the west bank of the river Torridge. It is full of character with narrow streets and some beautiful small terraced houses. Some of them had tiny doors so you would have to bend down quite a bit to be able to get through. I admired clean streets and lovely houses which were all very well looked after. However, there was something spooky about it. There was not a living soul on the streets. All shops were closed and the weather was rather gloomy as well. I had imagined myself being thrown into some sort of horror movie and at any moment ghosts or zombies were to slowly appear in those little doors stretching their arms to reach me. You see, I am a very imaginative person. Perhaps all is different when you visit on a weekday, not Sunday afternoons as we did.
2. Hartland Quay
This is my favourite place. The rock formation is simply stunning. You can just park at the car park and go down to the rocky beach (no dogs allowed) and then enjoy a warm coffee in the little visitor centre or you can go on a coastal circular walk which is only 3 1/4 miles long. We went for a walk but unfortunately, at the Folly, we had to go back because the wind grew too strong and it started to rain too.
3. Hartland Lighthouse at Hartland point
From Hartland Quay, we continued in search of the Lighthouse which was in 1874. Once again, this was another lovely coastal walk. But when you go there, make sure you visit when there is low tide as you will be able to see the wreck of Johanna which sank in 1982 and the decaying remains of the hull can still be seen.
To find out more about Hartland Peninsula click here.
No cars! Have you ever walked around a village where cars are prohibited? Clovelly is a little fishing village with steep cobbled streets, white cottages and tiny harbour. Zara was very happy sitting in her baby carrier, well, why wouldn’t she. She did not have to walk up the steep hill, daddy did and she enjoyed the view and smiled at every passer-by.
For more information and admission fees click here.
If you are in North Devon, you must visit this beautiful little village. It is in the tidal mouth of the rivers Taw and Torridge. There is a lovely beach where kids and dogs love to play or you can go for a long walk on the beach. I love the view of the picturesque Appledore situated on the opposite bank.
When I read about the Croyde beach as ‘one of the prettiest spots along the coast and it also has the best surf’, I penned it down as ‘must see’. Well, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps thanks to the guide my expectations were too high because I expected to see huge waves and they were nothing like I had imagined. But then I realized, we are in England, not Australia, after all :). If you want to see a lot of surfers at one place or want to try it yourself, you know where to go.
7. Baggy point
Parking at the National Trust car park to the Baggy point, we were able to follow on our adventure from Croyde beach to the Baggy point. The gently graded footpath provides excellent coastal views. Once you come up to the top you can continue to the next beach to the Woolacombe. I loved the little farmhouse at the Baggy point, it must be a fantastic feeling to wake up to such a view.
On our way from Croyde beach to Morte point, we drove through another charming seaside resort called Woolacombe. I heard it is very popular during the summer but in winter the population drops to only around 1000. In 2015 the beach was awarded by Trip advisor 4th best in Europe and 13th best in the world.
9. Morte point
We arrived rather late at the village of Mortehoe and our bellies started to complain so we stopped at nearby Fish & Chips and took our dinner to Morte point to enjoy the scenery.
10. From Barnstable to Instow by bikes
Our son was over the moon when he heard we were going to borrow the bikes. Tarka trail was a flat, traffic-free cycle track, therefore a 12-mile trip was easily manageable. We borrowed our bikes at Barnstable from where we could either go to Instow or Braunton. Of course, boys loved Instow beach so it was an easy decision to make. Pricewise, it was a good value for money in comparison with other hiring companies I checked. We paid £29 for 2 adult bikes, one trailer and one child bike for half a day hire. Full day would cost £35.
For more info and prices please visit www.tarkabikes.co.uk
To my surprise, we still had some energy left after our biking trip so we decided to visit Ilfracombe. We managed to get there at sunset. There are a number of attractions within walking distance so all you need to do is park your car and enjoy! You can easily spend the whole day at this resort or even more. As we walked to the harbour the boat from the Lundy island just arrived bringing the visitors to land. If Zara didn’t need to have her nap during the day, we would have loved to go there too.
12. Lynton & Lynmouth
These small towns on the Exmoor coast were daddy’s favourite. He loved everything about them. The tiny harbour at Lynmouth, the Cliff Railway connecting these two towns or the scenic coastal path leading to the exceptional Valley of Rocks. I am sorry I can’t show you any photos of the Valley of Rocks because we did not get there! I was too scared, a big chicken. The path was so close to the cliff (at least in my opinion) that I almost filled up my pants and when daddy saw my face, he said we’d better go back and I did not argue.
If you are interested in the place where we stayed, check out my review I wrote about Oldiscleave Farm.