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Helpful Holidays Discover Issue 02 January 2015

DISCOVER Handpicked holiday cottages throughout the West Country





days Holi l u f elp 2015 of H our £400 chers in etition mp vou o co phot UR SEE O PAGE S NEW 9 – –

Hunker Down


Handpicked holiday cottages throughout the West Country





Packed with the finest handpicked cottages for the perfect holiday





Dramatic headlands and inlets, views over choppy seas to the horizon and a chance to spot dolphins

There’s a smorgasbord of delicious homemade things to try when you take a break in the West Country

Three of our favourite holiday homes, perfect for group gatherings at Christmas and New Year


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Looking for a Specialist Agent to sell your home? With our success in selling relocation and holiday homes throughout the West Country, make us your first port of call.

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Moray Bowater EDITOR

Jackie Dawes Telephone: 01647 434360 ADVERTISING CONTACTS

Adrian Innocent Media Sales and Client Manager Telephone: 01647 434360 PUBLISHER

Andy Forster Telephone: 01326 574842 Mobile: 07711 160590

CONTRIBUTORS Amber Key Emma Clegg Ben Pratchett Joanne Stinton Charlotte Forster Eleanor Wilkins Mandy Milano Christine Phillips

PHOTOGRAPHY Carla Regler South West Coast Path Matt Austin David Griffin National Trust, Andrew Butler Michael Murray Mick Sandford Robert Sears Philip Bailey Kevin Young Nick Shepherd

Welcome The Helpful Holidays team

When we launched DISCOVER magazine this summer, we received such positive feedback from readers keen to find out more about taking a break in the West Country that we got started immediately on the New Year edition. We’re delighted you‘ve enjoyed reading as much as we enjoy creating the magazine. There’s nothing better than finding a quiet, cosy bolthole over the winter and heading out to explore the amazing scenery on offer in this part of the world. On page 10, be prepared to be inspired by history as we peek inside the region’s castles, large and small. Many were built on promontories on the coast to defend it from marauding foreign fleets, and you can book a stay nearby at one of our beautiful holiday homes, often with the same spectacular view of the sea. If it’s a magical festive break you’re searching for in 2015 with authentic experiences for all the family – think Christmas markets, sparkling lights, carols and a nostalgic steam railway – look no further than our guide on page 16. And with the West Country now a rich source of all things foodie, we explore upcoming food festivals on page 48. Go ahead and tickle your tastebuds! For many of us, a trip away as a family isn’t complete without the company of our furry friends to delight in exploring and snuggling up in front of a warm fire. Helpful Holidays has an array of dog-friendly cottages (see page 30 for some ideas), and we’ve also put together a super walks guide on page 44 to inspire you to don your walking boots and hit the Coast Path. There’s all this and plenty more in this special jam-packed winter edition. We wish you a very happy Christmas and joyful New Year.

Jaanckd iethe Helpful Holidays team

DISCOVER is published for Helpful Holidays by: ENGINE HOUSE MEDIA LTD Holbrook, The Moors, Porthleven, Cornwall TR13 9JX


Engine House Media Ltd is a new multi-platform media business with a passion for everything South West. Visit to find out more. Our mission is to create media opportunities that marry together consumers with the fabulous businesses across the South West. Our publishing and marketing teams are specialists in creating print and on-line communications, devised to achieve a range of marketing objectives. With over 20 years of marketing, brand management and magazine experience we develop effective communications that deliver your message in a credible and creative way. We operate across all media channels, including: print, online and video. It’s our role to generate response for your business so, for more information please contact Andy Forster on 07711 160590 or email on © All rights reserved. Material may not be re-produced without the permission of Helpful Holidays. While Helpful Holidays will take every care to help readers with reports on properties and features, neither Engine House Media Ltd nor its contributors can accept any liability for reader dissatisfaction arising from editorial features, editorial or advertising featured in these pages. The opinions expressed or advice given in the publication are the views of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Helpful Holidays or Engine House Media Ltd. It is suggested that further advice is taken over any actions resulting from reading any part of this magazine.


ERS At H we striv elpful Holida y exemp e to make ou s, lary. If r servic y e o u own a cottage holiday and are thinkin g of joining us TURN

Mill Street, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8AW t: 01647 434360 e: w:


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Keep in touch with activities by following Helpful Holidays on Twitter (@helpfulholidays) and by joining our Facebook page (/helpfulholidays).

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News stories and updates from Helpful Holidays


Lowering the drawbridges - West Country castles to explore

Our selection of magical places to make Christmas and New Year special


Jonty White from Portlebay Popcorn tells us about his new business in Devon


The Fal River encompasses the unspoilt beauty of the Roseland Peninsula

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Three of our favourite holiday homes, perfect for large family festive gatherings


A collection of cottages where man’s best friend is more than welcome





Stoke Gabriel - the unspoilt village nestled on the river Dart


A handpicked choice of holiday cottages you tell us are special to you


If you love life with a splash you’ll love these homes with pools, just perfect for a dip


Eco-friendly holiday homes to help you stay green


St Agnes - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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s e g a t t o c y a d i l o h Handpthirocukgheoudt the West Country 42 FANTASTIC FARM FOOD

We visit Trevaskis in Cornwall, and dash home with a tasty recipe for scallops and chorizo


Lace up your boots for four spectacular walks along the South West Coast Path



Delicious events to sample when visiting the South West


Our essential (or simply gorgeous) gadgets to help you to a carefree holiday


Martha Krempel explains why she loves owning and managing her holiday cottage in Devon


62 SHOPPING SOUTH WEST I want to be enthusiastic about it, I don’t just mean the actual writing, but the thinking and daydreaming about an idea.

Our ten top tips for buying your own holiday home



A guide to a little retail therapy in Dunster and Topsham


Two of our team reveal their favourite havens for relaxing in the South West


What’s happening in the West Country


We introduce a few of our favourite cosy pubs for festive breaks



Michael Morpurgo chats about his new book, Listen to the Moon

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A beautiful riverside settlement on the river Dart

The village of Stoke Gabriel nestles on a creek of the historic river Dart. This unspoilt village still retains its ancient roots, from the 800-year-old yew tree in the churchyard to its gentle tangle of cottages leading down to the river where locals have fished for Dart salmon for centuries. With its old inn and the hubbub of daily life, it still retains a quintessential English village atmosphere. From the quay by the river Dart, where children can go crabbing, there are gentle strolls to be taken along the riverbank or through the old apple orchard and winding streets of the village where unexpected glimpses abound. There is always something to see and do in this lively community where everyone is made welcome.

is a th West The Sou get out to e c c pla ts to fantasti ing boo ur walk . s w with yo e vie enjoy th s re route For mo

R SEE OU E PAG S K L A W – 44 –

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Stoke G abriel

ide village The unspoilt rivers

Sandridge Barton is a sensational house in the pretty village of Stoke Gabriel

This Georgian building is spacious and filled with light, creating a comfortable home












Indoor swimming pool and full-sized snooker table - what more could one want


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Farms RE






We have a worthy winner of our poetry competition: a lovely poem inspired by a family holiday in one of our cottages in Cornwall - Apple Cottage in Tregadillett. Sophie Crouchman penned this ode to her daughter Evelyn, who was seven months old at the time and embarking on her first holiday. Sophie, who wins Helpful Holidays vouchers worth £400, said: “We all had a wonderful time and have lots of fond memories which will stay with us forever. We’ve stayed in the West Country twice before with Helpful Holidays and on the way back from Cornwall this year I reflected on the differences between those holidays and our holiday with Evelyn - which is what the poem is all about!”













In 2014 we’ve raised over £13,000 for our nominated charity, the Marine Conservation Society. This is thanks to the huge generosity of our holidaymakers who make donations when booking their holidays and our annual cricket match in June. For 2015 our charity is Farms for City Children, founded by children’s author Michael Morpurgo (‘War Horse’) and his wife at Nethercott Farm in Devon in 1976. The charity’s aim is to enrich the lives of children from urban areas who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to explore the outdoor world, by giving them the opportunity to spend a week living and working on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. It is an intense ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different

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life. The charity now has three working farms which welcome around 3,000 children and 400 teachers a year. Nethercott (pictured above) in Iddesleigh is one of the charity’s three farms. It is centred around a huge Victorian mansion set in glorious grounds with wonderful views towards Dartmoor and easy access to the Okement and Torridge rivers as well as the Tarka Trail. To help support the cost of the children’s visits to these farms, Nethercott is available to holidaymakers during the school holidays and can be booked through Helpful Holidays. With nine bedrooms, four shower-rooms and two bathrooms, this is a great place for large family gatherings and celebrations in stunning surroundings.



Last year we went on lots of walks, Through craggy paths and wooded valleys. This year we had to stay on paths, And watch out for cobbled alleys. Last year we ate out every night, At bistros, pubs and bars. This year we packed the car to the brim, With your baby food in jars. Last year we packed our favourite clothes, Our suitcase over full. This year we packed your tiny socks, And lots of cotton wool. Last year we slept in every day, Waking up in time for brunch. This year you’re up all night long, And we’re tired out by lunch. Last year we loved our cottage, Quirky nooks and steep of stair. This year we loved another place, Spacious, with cot and high chair. Last year the only thing of note was my tiny rounded tum, This year everything has changed, Because I’m now your mum.

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Another winner this year was Kim Hicks, proud recipient of a painting of her horse Paddy, the prize for the Helpful Holidays ‘Win a portrait of your pet’ competition held at the Stithians Show in Cornwall. Kim said, “The whole family love the portrait and I am telling all my horsey friends. It was great to receive the lovely portrait of Paddy”. The story of Paddy is not without its twists and turns, as when Kim bought a rescued pony in 2009, she had no idea what was to unfold. “I named her Pandora because she was an unknown treasure. As time went on, we found she was in foal and one morning when I went to check the field and Pandora, there he was, just standing in the field looking at me”. Paddy was born on 25th May 2010, his full name being Pandora’s Surprise.

Susan’s paintings capture local subjects, including the breathtaking coastline and skies of the beautiful Lizard peninsula. However, her recent work concentrates more on still life, incorporating figures and animals in domestic situations.

The portrait was painted by Susan Haseman, who lives and works in Mullion, and studied as a graphic designer in Birmingham in the sixties before settling back in Cornwall in 1999.

During her years in Cornwall Susan has exhibited in galleries in Holland, Norfolk, Suffolk, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and many in Cornwall including the famous Lander Gallery in Truro and Falmouth Art Gallery.



Our new 2015 brochure features nearly 600 places to stay across the West Country.

If you can’t get away for a full week, you’ll be pleased to hear that from November through to the week before Easter, excluding school holidays, we offer 2*, 3 and 4 night bookings. Three and 4 night breaks are also available at short notice throughout the year.


Ranging from romantic retreats for two, to big houses sleeping up to 47 guests, most have stunning views out to sea or across lush countryside. Sixty-five have use of a heated swimming pool, some have private moorings and others are on working farms. Many are within ambling distance of the beach or local pub, and over half welcome pets.


WIN £400 OF


You too can win £400 worth of Helpful Holidays vouchers by entering our 2015 photographic competition - simply send us your favourite photo snapped whilst staying at one of our cottages by the end of September 2015.

If you’re coming from outside the South West, it’s easier to get here than you may think. Flybe, Lufthansa, easyJet and Skybus all fly into Newquay Airport, while Flybe and Skybus fly into Exeter. Head out west on a Friday; you’ll be here in a jiffy if you fly, and you’ll get the freedom to do your own thing and the comfort you’d expect from our regularly inspected and star rated cottages. We think you’ll drift back to work on Monday or Tuesday with a sunny smile and a better outlook on life. Check out the website, where you’ll often find offers and promotions which significantly reduce the costs of your travel - you could be holidaying in the South West in no time! * Two-night breaks can only be booked within 28 days of departure

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Castles of the South West

One of the joys of the South West is exploring its castles. Many date back as far as the Norman Conquest, but whatever their time frame, each one is brimming with history, culture and intrigue. Here are 11 of the best.

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Okeha mpton



In Brightley, a tiny rural hamlet in the river Ockment valley, only 1.5 miles from Okehampton, sits this ancient, Grade II listed, thatched cottage that was once linked to the Cistercian monks of Brightley Priory. This wonderful cottage for 5, full of beams and ancient knobbly walls, is a great relaxed base with lots to see and do locally.

SHUTE BARN: R83 Quietly tucked away off a private drive, just a short walk from the village pub and picturesque creek, is this spacious, detached cottage for 4. Surrounded by garden, with a stream and an outlook over fields beyond, this home is in a lovely location in a quiet corner of pretty Lerryn village just 4 miles from Lostwithiel.

NEAR LOSTWITHIEL MAIN IMAGE The old castle at Sherborne

THE NORMAN CONQUEST Okehampton Castle in Devon, built between 1068 and 1086, is a motte and bailey castle with a stone keep, which meant it was built to last. Nearly a thousand years later, it’s a ruin with a colourful history – it was used as a fortification until the late 13th century and was then remodelled as a hunting lodge with a magnificent deer park. It took numerous batterings during the Wars of the Roses and the owner Henry Courtenay was executed by Henry VIII in the 16th century, after which it was abandoned and left to decay; during this time many believed it was haunted. While it is a ruin, the structure is defined and it has a majestic presence. Restormel Castle near Lostwithiel, Cornwall, dates from 1100 and is built on a spur overlooking the river

Fowey. Another motte and bailey castle, it was constructed on artificially steepened slopes behind a 55ft (17m) moat. These defences have only once been threatened, when the Parliamentarian garrison was driven out during the Civil War. The keep formed a perfect circle with an internal wall of shale, so the buildings within – including a kitchen, guest chambers and an ante chapel – were curved to fit. Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, rebuilt the castle in the late 13th century as a luxurious residence. In 1337 the castle passed briefly to Edward The Black Prince. The views of the Cornish countryside from the castle are unforgettable. Dunster Castle was also built as a motte and bailey castle, with a stone shell keep added a century later. It is sited on a steep wooded hill in the Somerset village of Dunster. From the end of the 14th century to

INSET IMAGE The 1,000-year-old remains of Okehampton Castle

the late 20th century the castle was owned by the Luttrell family. The siege of Dunster Castle at the end of the English Civil War (1651) destroyed the majority of the medieval walls, but the medieval gatehouse and the ruined Bastion Tower are still distinctive landmarks. The main castle today is the result of Victorian remodelling, reflecting the Gothic and Picturesque tastes of the period. Launceston Castle in Cornwall, another from the Norman period, is set on a large natural mound and has an unusual keep with a 13thcentury round tower inside an older circular shell keep. If you have the energy to climb the stairs to the tower you can enjoy magnificent views of Launceston and the surrounding countryside. Once known as Castle Terrible, the castle saw many unfortunates hung, drawn

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Every year we arrange lots of special offers and discounts for you at the West Country’s leading visitor attractions. We’ll send you our 2015 ‘What shall we do today?’ booklet with your booking confirmation. It’s full of valuable savings vouchers, advice on best walks, beaches, places to eat, farmers’ markets and quirky events and lots more to help you plan and enjoy your holidays.


joining the mainland to the island its romance and power are as potent as ever. The stone steps in the cliffside and the remnants of the walls sit next to the blue sea and sky beyond, but firmly encircle the shadow of Richard’s great hall where the castle’s many secrets and outrages still linger.

was the inspiration for Chaucer’s shipman in his Canterbury Tales, and the fort, too, saw poetry and action aplenty, besieged during the Civil War and attacked and taken by the Parliamentarians in 1646. The 19thcentury ‘gun battery’ also remained in military use throughout the two world wars.

The myth of Tintagel Island says this was where King Arthur was conceived. So when Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built Tintagel Castle in 1233, perched as it was on the rugged North Cornwall coast, it is likely to have been designed to reinforce his connections with this legendary monarch. While now a ruin, as you cross the bridge

A small coastal fort was built in 1388, one of a pair constructed to guard the mouth of the Dart Estuary in Devon. Dartmouth Castle (the other was Kingswear) was constructed with two linked towers and has done its job for over 600 years – its guntower is the earliest surviving example for use with heavy cannon. John Hawley, who directed the build,

A manor was recorded beside the Exe estuary in The Domesday Book, but it was Sir Philip Courtenay who created Powderham Castle in 1391. It’s really a fortified manor house rather than a castle because it wasn’t built with a keep and a moat. Used as a stronghold in the Wars of the Roses, in the Civil War it was garrisoned, with ensuing disputes causing considerable damage. The building once had a medieval long hall with six tall towers, but the 14th- and 15th-century rectangular building is now the central focus.

and quartered in the 16th century. It was used as a prison for George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, who suffered harsh confinement here in the 1650s and it was also used as the base for the Cornish Royalist defence of the county in the same period.

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COTTAGES nearby... BODKIN COTTAGE: F62 In one of the West Country’s prettiest villages, with its castle on a wooded hillside towering romantically over its main street, is this charming end-of-terrace cottage for 3. Only a mile from the small resort town of Minehead, with its sandy beach and steam railway.



tle puts am Cas Powderh val each ti s t into fe the feas h the year wit al d Festiv o F s am o Holiday Powerh l fu lp e red by H sponso


MAIN IMAGE The bridge to King Arthur’s mythical Tintagel Castle INSET LEFT Pendennis Castle, one of Henry VIII’s south coast defences INSET ABOVE Powderham Castle, home to the famous Powderham Food Festival

Just a mile from Lewdown, a peaceful village set in wooded-valley farmland, is this pretty ‘chocolate-box’ thatched cottage for 4 on the 750 acre Lewtrenchard estate. Within easy walking distance of the Lewtrenchard Manor Hotel for fine dining, this is a magical cottage in a peaceful location with lovely walks directly from the doorstep.

ATLANTIC VIEW: P76 Only 2 miles from Tintagel and Boscastle, in a small group of cottages converted from barns, is this pretty ‘upside down’ home for 6. With great sea views, this cottage sits in a lovely area and is perfect for exploring and discovering the magical coastline steeped in history and the legends of King Arthur.

Only one of the original towers remains, but the famous Marble Hall with its black-and-white marble floor used to be the lower part of the medieval long hall.

TUDOR CASTLES It was Henry VIII who built St Mawes Castle between 1539 and 1545, part of a defensive chain of fortresses to protect the coast from attack from Catholic France and Spain. It was sited on the western point of St Mawes on the east bank of the river Fal in Cornwall. From the air the castle has a clover-leaf shape and was once surrounded by octagonal outer defences with provision for heavy artillery guns to sink oncoming ships. It has artistry too with Latin inscriptions throughout lauding the King and Edward, his son. The castle continued its defence role during the Second World War.



COACH HOUSE COTTAGE: L183 In the cliff-top village of Strete, with fantastic sea views along the coastline between Slapton and Dartmouth, sits this charming stone-built, ‘upside down’ coach house, just 400 metres from the beach. Built in 1832, this holiday cottage for 4 is in a fabulous coastal spot, worthy of a visit at any time of the year.


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ABOVE St Mawes Castle was built to protect the coast from attack RIGHT Dartmouth Castle was constructed in 1388


Pendennis Castle was another of Henry VIII’s south-coast defences, a counterpoint to St Mawes Castle, on the west bank of the river Fal. It had a simple round tower and gate construction and a surrounding curtain wall, although another wall and bastions were added later by Elizabeth I. The expected Spanish invasions never came, but Pendennis did give shelter to Queen Henrietta Maria and the Prince of Wales (Charles II) in 1644 before they escaped to France by sea. The castle then saw action in 1646 when Parliamentary forces during the Civil War attacked from land and sea. They held out for six months, with a massive advantage gained by the castle’s high location. Henry VIII was, it’s clear, the king of castles and Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth, Dorset was also commissioned by him in 1539,

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alongside nearby Portland Castle, the two designed to protect shipping routes and extend England’s sea defences from Catholic France and Spain. Sandsfoot was constructed with two storeys and a basement to house heavy cannon and powder magazines and accommodate about 50 men. It is thought to have had ditch and earth ramparts and it’s likely that some of the building stone came from ecclesiastical monuments in the region that were destroyed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Sandsfoot has been a ruin since the 17th century and much of the castle has fallen into the sea. Sherborne Castle is in many ways twice the castle in comparison to our other 10, because there are in fact two. The old castle is the ruin of a 12th-century fortified palace which Sir Walter Raleigh leased at the end of the 16th century. The new

castle was built by Raleigh in 1594 before his imprisonment in the Tower by Elizabeth I. Its four polygonal corner turrets mirrored traditional castle architecture and four wings were added in the 1620s around the turrets, creating the H-shape of today. Two Civil War sieges left only some parts intact, including the South West Gatehouse and the Great Tower. The gardens and pleasure grounds surrounding the 50-acre lake form a magnificent ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, with sweeping lawns, borders and majestic specimen trees. Shorter walks lead you to the walled garden, the Ginkgo Lawn and the Orangery, next to the boathouse and pier where there are wonderful views of the medieval castle ruins. Delightful walks lead round the lake to garden features such as Raleigh’s Seat, the Cascade and the Folly.

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’t s to




Just a mile from the centre of Teignmouth, at the mouth of the river Teign beneath the Haldon Hills, is a handsome, detached, 1930s, art deco-style house for 10 with fantastic panoramic views over the estuary to Teignmouth’s river beach. Light and spacious, this home is in a great location for exploring both the coast and countryside.



Set in St Mawes, the beautiful harbour village on the point of the stunning Roseland Peninsula, just a few yards from the beach, sits this lovely ‘upside down’ terraced cottage for 4 with gorgeous sea views. Perfectly set for venturing by ferry across to Falmouth and cruises on Carrick Roads or simply exploring the rock pools within two minutes of the house.


Contacts for days out at castles in the South West

Dunster Castle, Dunster, near Minehead, Somerset TA24 6SL Tel: 01643 823004

BOSLOWEN: S211 On the very edge of Falmouth is one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours, Carrick Roads. Here you’ll find a comfortable, private apartment for 4, just a short walk from Swanpool and Gyllingvase beaches. With 180 degree sea views, this is a fantastic place from which to explore Cornwall’s ‘Med’.

Launceston Castle, Castle Lodge, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 7DR Tel: 0870 333 1181 Okehampton Castle, Castle Lane, Okehampton, Devon EX20 1JA Tel: 0870 333 1181 Pendennis Castle, Castle Close, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4LP Tel: 0870 333 1181 Powderham Castle, Kenton, Exeter, Devon EX6 8JQ Tel: 01626 890243 Restormel Castle, Restormel Road, Lostwithiel, Cornwall PL22 0EE Tel: 0870 333 1181 St Mawes Castle, Upper Castle Road, St Mawes, Cornwall TR2 5DE Tel: 0870 333 1181 Sandsfoot Castle, 84 Old Castle Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8QE Tel: 01305 838297 Sherborne Castle, New Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5NR Tel: 01935 812072 Tintagel Castle, Castle Road, Tintagel, Cornwall PL34 0HE Tel: 01840 770328


HENNIKER HOUSE: H32 In Weymouth, the ‘Jurassic Coast’ seaside town in a sheltered bay with a fine sandy beach, is this semidetached three-storey town house for 6, just a 10 minute walk from the beach and town centre. Its central location makes this contemporary and bright home an excellent base to enjoy Weymouth’s spectacular coastline.


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Christmas and New Year are magical in the West Country! Why not celebrate the season in a wonderful cottage? Gather friends and family in a big house with plenty of room for all, or for escapees we have perfect hideaways. Once there, don hats and scarves for bracing coastal or moorland walks, get your skates on, view stunning light displays and brave Christmas or New Year’s Day surf or simply relax and toast your toes with a warming glass by a crackling fire.

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MERMAID COTTAGE: S31 In the unspoilt, pretty village of Gorran Haven is this quirky, 17th century, Grade II listed cottage for 8. Sitting right on the beach, this holiday home is seemingly bigger on the inside than out. Once the local inn, it has been transformed into a great beach house, comfortably furnished and fantastically positioned for the pub, Coast Path and beach.


THE BIRCH STUDIO: Z49 In the captivating former fishing village of Lamorna, set down a deeply wooded lane, is this little detached cottage for 3. Once the studio of ‘Lamorna’ Birch, from which he drew his inspiration, this holiday home is only 350 yards from the nearest pub and only 200 from the Coast Path and beach.

NEAR MOUSEHOLE MAIN IMAGE Magical Gibhouse (A14) in the shelter of Castle Drogo

LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN During the winter, Heligan’s magical and mysterious atmosphere is enhanced by the cold, crisp mornings that bring intense sunshine and dark shadows. Whatever the time of year, Heligan never seems to sleep, so if you choose to visit the gardens over Christmas and New Year you’ll find that there’s plenty to enjoy. With the bare branches, the winter period provides a fantastic opportunity to observe the diversity of Heligan’s birdlife, from woodpeckers and nuthatches to the wonderful kingfisher, while winter migrants such as fieldfares and redwings can be viewed across the farmland.

Head over to Horsemoor Hide and you’ll find the perfect viewing point for grey wagtails, black caps, bramblings, greenfinches and more. The gardens may no longer be ‘lost’, but the team at Heligan thrives on reviving the ‘lost’ traditions which were associated with working them in their original glory days. The initial worldwide interest in the gardens was stirred by the romantic appeal of the mystery surrounding Heligan, but the ongoing public interest in the estate proves the magic continues with the tireless work of the team at the gardens. This winter, The Lost Gardens of Heligan will once again be introducing the Winter Pass giving you unlimited garden access through until the end of February 2015.

INSET IMAGE The Mud Maid at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

THE MOUSEHOLE LIGHTS The Christmas lights in Mousehole are a stunning sight, with floating displays of lights in the harbour and around the streets filled with the aroma of mulled wine and festive food. You’ll see a fantastic display of sea serpents, fishing boats and whales colourfully lighting up one of Cornwall’s most picturesque harbours. The village is ablaze with colour whilst the lights are on and to really appreciate the displays, walk the narrow streets and follow winding strings of lanterns as they disappear around the corner into yet another street barely wide enough to stroll along. Have a browse around the local gift shops and stop for a meal

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Did you know... This year the lights are celebrating their 51st year. The Ch ristmas lights were started in 1963 by Mouseholebased artist, Joan Gil lchrest, when strings of coloured bu lbs were put along both quays to make the village a bit brighter at Christmas time. The largest set pie ce now is the ‘Merry Christmas/H appy New Year’ which is approx imately 160ft (50m) long x 20ft (6m ) high and contains nearly 1000 bulbs.


and a drink in one of the village restaurants, cafés or pubs. The lights are on each evening between 5pm and 11pm from Sunday 14th December 2014 until Saturday 3rd January 2015, except 19th December when the lights will be dimmed between 8 and 9pm in memory of the lifeboat crew who lost their lives.

ICE SKATING AT EDEN The Eden Project’s spectacular ice rink returned once more on 18th October with a wide range of new skating sessions for the family. Nestled in the heart of Eden, the rink is surrounded by an enchanted winter woodland threaded with twinkling lights and this year introduces a selection of sessions including parent and toddler ice-play, skating lessons, chilly junior sessions and also the opportunity to take wheelchairs on the ice.

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If, however, your attempts at ice skating are more Bambi than Bolero, Eden is still certain to add a little sparkle to your winter.

NEW YEAR’S EVE IN ST IVES While St Ives has a well-deserved reputation for being a summer holiday destination, recently it’s also become one of the UK’s favourite New Year’s Eve party towns, offering bucketloads of atmosphere and a true festival vibe. Roads are closed to traffic for what is effectively a huge street party, and hordes of people from across the country snake along the harbour in wild costumes. Here it’s easy to get drawn into the crowds dancing to busking samba bands or spilling out of brightly-lit pubs and cafés in time for fireworks on the seafront. New Year’s Eve in St Ives is well worth making a special trip down to Cornwall for.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS Longleat’s Festival of Lights will see hundreds of enormous illuminated features, some measuring up to 18 metres in height, transforming the Wiltshire estate to a glowing wonderland. Running into January, the unique display will cover more than 30 acres and feature a variety of traditional Chinese designs, including dragons and pagodas alongside giant recreations of some of Longleat Safari Park’s famous animals. Filled with thousands of LED lights and handmade on location, the lanterns recreate a magical world of Chinese myths and legends with incredibly detailed designs reaching well beyond the height of a two-storey house. Set amid the beautiful backdrop of the landscaped grounds and gardens surrounding Longleat House, the lit

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Eden Project



SAMUEL’S COTTAGE: R43 In the tiny village of Lanreath, only 5 miles from the pretty fishing village of Polperro, is this fine, Grade II listed cottage for 8. Mentioned in the Domesday Book and flanked by equally ancient cottages, this is an excellent home that is well positioned for good country walking, visits to the Eden Project and exploration of south Cornwall.

NEAR THE EDEN PROJECT Only 2 miles from St Ives, in the village of Halsetown where you’ll find an awardwinning food pub, is this delightful, self-contained studio apartment for 2 attached to the friendly owners’ pretty cottage. This is a peaceful place, conveniently close to St Ives and with great appeal for artists, beach lovers, surfers, walkers and cyclists or simply for enjoying beautiful countryside.




MAIN IMAGE The Christmas lights in Mousehole harbour INSET TOP Ice skating is just one of the winter attractions at The Eden Project INSET BOTTOM Longleat’s Festival of Lights recreates some of the park’s famous animals

Only 4 miles from the centre of Bath, in undulating countryside on the edge of the pretty village of Combe Hay, is Week Farm, a beautiful, elegant Georgian manor house for 18. Set within 98 acres of grounds and gardens, this is the perfect setting for significant anniversaries and family gatherings all year round.

structures will also spill out on to Half Mile Lake to create a stunning and enchanting experience for visitors of all ages. As part of the Festival of Lights, visitors will also be able to enjoy the extraordinary experience of traditional Chinese ‘face-changing’ opera where performers magically transform elaborate masks in an instant. The event will run alongside Longleat’s traditional Christmas celebrations, which include the Santa train, giant musical Christmas tree, pantomime characters and outdoor ice skating rink.

WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY The West Somerset Railway is a true country branch line of the old Great Western Railway, and is full of fascination, whether you’re looking for a nostalgic ride back in time through lovely countryside or are interested in the industrial heritage which the line preserves. The historic


COMPTON HOUSE: E620 Standing on its own, just 200 yards from Compton Bishop church, with good views down the valley, is Compton House. A smart and stylish family home for 12, this house is perfectly set for good winter walks up to Crook Peak which has fine views over the Levels. The large house with tennis court and games room is especially suitable for large families.


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steam locomotives, coaches and wagons, and the buildings of the ten unique stations linked by a twenty mile scenic journey, invite hours of exploration. The surrounding countryside is as varied as it is beautiful. The gently rolling Quantock Hills and distant Exmoor, unspoilt villages and farms nestling in leafy lanes, the cliffs and coast of the Bristol Channel with views of distant South Wales, confident church towers, Dunster’s imposing castle and Minehead’s seaside charm are all there to be discovered.

ROYAL ALBERT MEMORIAL MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY As wonderful as the weather can be in the South West, it does occasionally rain, but even in damp conditions there’s always something to keep you entertained on holiday. Exeter’s world-class Royal Albert

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Memorial Museum and Art Gallery is a fantastic place to escape the rain and the stunning new displays and galleries, fabulous exhibitions and modern amenities reveal Devon and Exeter’s rich history and global connections.

EXETER CHRISTMAS MARKET The Cathedral Green, at the heart of Exeter city centre, is brought to life by the market. Here you’ll find unique, handmade and unusual gifts, decorations, Christmas fayre – everything needed for a perfect Christmas buzz at the heart of the city. The iconic cathedral has been the focus of life in the city for centuries, and knows how to put on a fantastic Christmas. Not only will you be able to enjoy the bustle of the market, but also take part in carol services, advent processions and much more.

CAROLS AND POTATO HEADS The Lyme Regis Pudding Race is a wacky festive event held on the seafront where hundreds gather to watch seven teams of six, all dressed in Christmas-themed costumes, compete for the much coveted Great Lyme Regis Christmas Pudding Race Trophy. Not unlike an Olympic event, the race will see the teams carry a Christmas pudding around an obstacle course with various Christmas-related tasks to complete en route, while simultaneously building Mr Potato Head on the pudding! Should you be looking for something a little more genteel, the Lyme Regis Christmas Tree Festival, held in the Baptist Church, has a spectacular display of decorated trees which represent the work of organisations in Lyme, each decorating their own tree.

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Ly me Regis




In the oldest part of Minehead, on a quiet road close to the church and within walking distance of the town and the heatherclad hills, is Pilgrim Corner, a ‘chocolate box’, thatched cottage for 8 with an interior full of period features, both charming and quirky. A whimsical, utterly unique cottage in a perfect setting for a Christmas gathering.


GIBHOUSE: A14 Only 2.5 miles from Chagford and 1.5 miles from Drewsteignton is this idyllically situated cottage for 4. Close to a very beautiful stretch of the river Teign, this lovely holiday home is set within marvellous scenery with views over the valley and farmland and Castle Drogo on the hilltop above.



MAIN IMAGE The West Somerset Railway offers a nostalgic ride back in time INSET TOP Exeter’s Christmas Market on the Cathedral Green INSET BOTTOM The Lyme Regis Pudding Race is a truly wacky event

Every year we arrange lots of special offers and dis counts for you at the West Co untry’s leading visitor attrac tions. We’ll send you our 201 5 ‘What shall we do tod ay?’ booklet with your bo oking confirmation. It’s full of valuable sav ings vouchers, advice on best walks, beaches, places to eat, farmers’ markets and quirk y events and lots more to help you plan and enjoy yo ur holidays.

In the peaceful and pretty village of Whitford, 4 miles from Axminster and only 300 yards from Whitford Bridge and the banks of the tumbling river Axe, is this attractive, Grade II listed, part 16th century cottage for 4. This is a delightful cottage in peaceful surroundings which makes a great base for walking, cycling and the coast.


THE OLD MANOR HOUSE: H17 Set back from the main street in the large coastal village of Charmouth is this beautifully and carefully refurbished, early 16th century, Grade II listed home for 10. Decorated and furnished to a high standard, this is a comfortable and elegant family house, perfect for exploring this delightful area at any time of year.


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h t u o m e l t r o P t s Ea

Made in

Jonty White from Portlebay Popcorn talks to us about why setting up his new business in Devon has been an advantage for him and his 15 employees. Devon is known for many things, but a recent success story is slightly unusual: a rapidly expanding popcorn business, creating a healthy snack for popcorn lovers across the UK and beyond. Jonty White is the inspiration behind Devon-based Portlebay Popcorn. Following the runaway success of his previous company, Burts Chips, Jonty spotted a gap in the market: a tasty, healthy snack that’s a little different. “We have a unique cooking process that means every bite of our popcorn has great flavour as well as just enough crunch, with the added bonus that it’s a very healthy product.” But why Devon? Does being based in Devon help or hinder Jonty’s business? “We are

proud of our Devon base. Central locations don’t necessarily have the advantages that people expect: our clients are scattered across the country and we travel when we need to. There’s a strong pool of local employees and suppliers. We are also beginning to expand internationally, so flights from Exeter Airport take us where we need to go.” In fact, Jonty believes that being located here is an advantage, for him and his 15 employees. “There are endless reasons to be based in Devon. We have a great quality of life, particularly as a family with children. We love being outdoors: walking on Dartmoor, or sailing near East Portlemouth, an area we love and the inspiration behind our brand name.

“The quality of life compared with the South East is like chalk and cheese: I wouldn’t change any of it.”

The quality of life compared with the South East is like chalk and cheese: I wouldn’t change any of it.” Come on down! And Jonty’s advice to anyone considering Devon as a place to work? “It’s a wonderful place to live and work: do your research and you might find it’s the right place for you too.”

Find out more

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in Devon permanently? Find out more at the Devon Deliv ers website: To find Jonty’s ‘different to your average’ popcorn, in a range of amazing and delicious flavours, simply visit:

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the Fal Estuary

“The Fal River, one of Cornwall’s most popular visitor destinations, stretches from Truro to Falmouth via Trelissick Garden and encompasses the unspoilt beauty of the Roseland Peninsula.”

The Fal River Cornwall website describes the river and its surrounding sites as an organic experience. Tim Light, Managing Director of Fal River Cornwall, explains that the diverse transport options around the Fal – the ferries, the water taxis, the Park and Float, the buses and trains – offer a fascinating and rewarding way to explore the area. “The integrated transport system”, says Tim, “allows everyone to travel easily around the region and leave

their cars behind”. The Mussel Card system is simple and good value, giving unlimited travel on ferries, bus services and trains, and the local version allows the purchase of credit in advance. Tickets can be bought with an online discount and there is even a Park and Float service, a 500-space car park on the outskirts of Falmouth so people can leave their cars for the day before heading into Falmouth or further afield. “Our approach has a very strong ‘destination marketing’ emphasis,”

We believe that the experience of getting to where you are going is just as much fun as being there.

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Tim explains. “We work in close alliance with other local businesses and destinations to get our message across – together we produce a free guide book about the Fal River, Falmouth and Truro. More than this, we believe that the experience of getting to where you are going is just as much fun as being there – travel as a treat”. The destinations, sights and culture around the Fal River are stimulating and varied, ranging from wooded creeks to bustling market towns and including such experiences as Trelissick Garden in Feock, the Eden Project at Bodelva and the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. But the modes of transport can have just as much caché. The King Harry Ferry is one of only five chain ferries

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Fal River

COTTAGES nearby... 6 HERON’S REACH: S105


Just 2 miles from the historic harbour town of Falmouth, in a village of purpose built, privately owned holiday cottages, sits Heron’s Reach, a midterrace holiday cottage for 6. With easy access to the leisure facilities (available Easter to October), including an indoor splash pool, this house is perfect for families and just a mile from lovely sandy beaches.


Set between Feock and Devoran, on the shores of the tidal Restronguet Creek at Point, is Regatta Cottage, part of an historic Grade II listed building with wonderful views of the creek and woodland beyond. In a tranquil position, with enclosed gardens front and back, this holiday home for 6 is perfect for daydreaming or simply messing about on the water.



re in England – in out mo To find e Fal River, operation since about thn and where 1888, it connects St hat’s o imply visit w Mawes and the to go, s ebsite: Roseland Peninsula the w with Feock, Truro and .uk Falmouth, avoiding www.fa the 27-mile route by land. For romance and discovery, a trip along the estuary on MAIN IMAGE an Enterprise Boat takes a St Mawes, one of lot of beating. Cornwall’s most You can visit the Fal River website for a useful ‘what’s on’ guide as well as their handy downloadable free walking guides. There’s always something happening around the Fal River. And with all modes of transport running so regularly, you’ll never miss the boat.

popular destinations INSET TOP The Fal is great for messing about on boats INSET BOTTOM Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and porpoises

In St Mawes, just above the harbour and about 50 yards from the village centre, is this detached period family house within easy reach of beaches, shops and the harbour. With views across the estuary and balcony views of the sea, this home for 6 is set in a great location for coastal walks and beaches in one of Cornwall’s most beautiful locations.


WATERSIDE HOUSE: S202 Right on the quayside, in the exceptionally pretty and unspoilt village of Flushing, this waterside house for 6 has stunning views across the harbour to Falmouth. Beautifully positioned in a wonderful area for boating, simply sitting by your window watching others drift by or visits to the beach.


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Week Farm Imagine yourself in a manor, sited in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty only four miles from historic Bath, on the edge of the pretty village of Combe Hay. Turn into the tree-lined gravel drive where you’ll see the meadow valley that sweeps round the house with hills and woodland beyond. Pass through the formal gardens at the front with box hedging and lawns to the side where lavender spills over sweeping paved terraces. If you can resist plunging straight

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into the bubbling hot tub, take a look at the interior, which has been renovated with a mélange of authentic features and modern flair. While you’re exploring your surroundings, you’ll find that it’s easy to lose count of the number of reception rooms. There’s a formal living room, a library and a large, bright morning room with two pairs of French windows to a terrace and double folding doors to the kitchen. Should your dream require more chilling-out space, detached from

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Combe Hay Week Farm

About Combe Hay

the house is a games barn with a double sofa bed, a kitchenette and a shower-room. Cook up a family-sized storm in the generous kitchen where all the facilities will help you to keep things running smoothly, including a fourdoor Aga and an American-style fridge. Then relax at the table for 16 and throw open the French windows. At the end of the day, if making your way upstairs seems like too much effort you’ll find a downstairs double bedroom, while on the first floor are

three double and two twin bedrooms, as well as the luxurious master with a lavish dressing room and indulgent ensuite. Make your way up to the second floor and you’ll discover a loft-style room with oak beams and a separate nursery and ensuite. If you have grandiose plans for a get-together Georgian style, not only does Week Farm offer 98 acres, a grand entrance and a hot tub for 12, but it delivers all the polished, high-class accommodation you could wish for.

The village of Combe Hay, listed in The Domesday Book, was recently named one of the mo st desirable villages in England by The Times. The local pub, The Wh eatsheaf, attracts visitors from all over the region with its fine foo d and wine. Just four miles from Bat h, Combe Hay is on the doorste p for all the Georgian attractions of this fair city, including the Roman Baths, The Bath Spa, The Holburne Mu seum and Bath Abbey.

Week Farm, REF E10 0 01647 434360

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Real life Sheafhayne


If you fancy a manor house for a couple of dozen in our beloved Devon, then here’s the answer. Sheafhayne has no shortage of dreamy let’s-live-in-a-grand-manor highlights, amongst these a croquet lawn, trout fishing, a huge games room, Tudor panelling, mullioned windows, a four-poster bed, a butler’s pantry, a piano and a billiard room. The Sunday Times likened this home near Yarcombe to a “full-sized game of Cluedo”. To be fair, it doesn’t have a ballroom, but it is a real Elizabethan manor house (it was the shooting lodge for Sir Francis Drake’s Yarcombe estate) and it does have a banqueting room, which is quite frankly essential when there are 24 of you. The land covers 2,500 acres of

farmland, into which the large, beautiful garden melds gradually. The manor itself is Grade II listed and the Tudor period is ever-present, with the ancient oak panelling guaranteed to make you feel like a protagonist in an epic period drama. Important numbers? Four staircases, 10 double bedrooms and a family room, five bathrooms and four shower-rooms. While eight of the bedrooms are ensuite, the master bedroom has a 7ft long, 5ft wide four-poster bed and the billiard room has William Morris designed wallpaper, a massive fireplace for which logs are included and, naturally, a full-sized billiard table. Everything you need, in fact, to live the Tudor dream.

About Yarcombe

Yarcombe, a mile from Sheafhayne, is a pretty village in the steep rolling meadows and ancien t woods of the Yarty Valley on the sou th edge of the Blackdown Hills. There is a Norman chu rch in the village dedicated to St John the Baptist. The nearest sm all towns are Chard (6 miles) and Ho niton (8 miles) and 15-20 miles away are the coastal resorts of Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Sal terton and Exmouth.

Sheafhayne, REF G1 01647 434360

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Park Farmhouse

About Chideock

Cream ofthe Park Farmhouse This 18th century farmhouse in Chideock has an unparalleled location just a mile from the ‘Jurassic Coast’ and only two doors from the nearest pub. Not that you’ll be relying heavily on the pub, mind you, unless in an entirely sociable capacity, because there are absolutely no sorrows to drown while in residence at Park Farmhouse, with the games room with table tennis and table football, a sun terrace and an indoor heated swimming pool with French windows overlooking the garden. The house, which sleeps 17, is surprisingly spacious, light, smart and well renovated with old beams and original doors. The fitted kitchen has a gas range-style double oven with seven-ring hob (which you’ll


The village of Chideock is a mere mile from the sea (just take the footpath to the pebbly beach and you’ll also find a good seafront pub). There is excellent walking and birdwatching and spectacular ‘Jurassic Coast’ scenery, including the great rocky shoulder of Golden Cap which has views across Lyme Bay to Dartmoor on a clear day. Bridport, West Bay and Lyme Regis with its sandy beach are all nearby.

Park Farmouse, REF H626 01647 434360

need if you’re entertaining 17) and its size makes it a delight to work in. If your party includes children, fear not, they are most welcome here – with stairgates, two travel cots and high chairs on request, as well as a super-large landing with beanbags, a TV and DVD, as well as the previously mentioned games room and pool. When you’re ready to hit the sack, you’ll find four double bedrooms, four twins and a single, with two of these bedrooms and associated facilities just five yards from the back door in the enchanting detached converted creamery.

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The Barn: G191, Southleigh

Dog Friendly COTTAGES

Southleigh The Barn (G191) is sited on a hillside in the rolling countryside just outside the village of Southleigh, and visitors and their dogs enjoy the 200 acres of fields and woods as well as activities such as fishing and clay pigeon shooting. At the south-facing front is a large suntrap terrace and a raised deck with an eight-person hot tub, as well as a children’s play area with trampoline, swing and slide. Inside is smart, stylish and hugely spacious with a sunny

conservatory and an enormous open-plan living area. For the cooks amongst us, you’ll find a well-appointed kitchen/diner with a central island setting the scene, while those with a competitive edge will enjoy a full-sized pool table and football table. There is double ensuite accommodation on the ground floor, which is perfect for guests with mobility difficulties, and on the next floor you’ll find two double bedrooms and three twins, all with ensuites.

If you are considering holidaying here then don’t hesitate, just book it and see for yourselves but please leave some weeks for me.

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Moretonhampstead Just a mile or so from Moretonhampstead town (the gateway to Dartmoor), you’ll find this conversion from an ancient barn, with a private hot tub and breathtaking views across rambling fields. With room for four guests (plus dogs, naturally), it’s in a peaceful location with a south-west facing patio and private sunny garden. The roomy, open-plan living room and kitchen/diner has a woodburner stove, and upstairs are two bedrooms under the eaves, one double and one twin, both with ensuite. This is a superb base for walking on Dartmoor, for reservoir or river fishing, playing golf at Bovey Castle or for simply enjoying Devon’s peace and tranquillity.

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Southleigh The Barn

Ingle Tor: A94, North Bovey

Butterdon Barn: A179, Moretonhampstead

Dog Friendly Cottages Honeysuckle Cottage: P26, St Tudy

North Bovey Just two miles from the village of North Bovey in the wooded valley of the river Bovey is Bovey Castle. Hidden in its grounds are 22 lodges, of which we let 8. One of these, Ingle Tor, sleeps six, has an open-plan kitchen/dining room, a living room with a generous sized balcony with seating, and three double bedrooms, one with delightful French windows. Ingle Tor is smart, stylish and luxurious and overlooks the Edwardian gardens, lake and tennis courts of Bovey Castle where you can enjoy the hotel facilities, including the swimming pool, gym, steam room, sauna, spa and restaurant. If you’re feeling sporty you’ll also find tennis courts, a croquet lawn and a trampoline, or

you can take part in activities such as archery, falconry, golf, mountain biking and sloe-gin making. There is a supervised playroom for young children and the 400-acre estate is great for exploration with your canine companions.

St Tudy If your proposed break involves two people and a dog, we’d recommend Honeysuckle Cottage near the charming villages of St Tudy and St Kew. The snug cottage is full of period character and modern conveniences and has a living room with a woodburner, a kitchen/dining room and a double bedroom and bathroom. The kitchen has stable doors to the large, enclosed garden where the river Allen flows. Then, just 30 yards along the lane, are 100

We all know that a dog is man’s best friend, and so when on holiday he or she must come too ! There are plenty of hol iday cottages across the So uth West which are more than happy to accommodate dogs. There are also some sup er-inspiring reasons why dogs lov e holidaying with their owners her e – there is a never-ending array of wild walks and coastal exploratio ns and more smells than you can ide ntify in a month of Sundays. The only question is, will you keep up with your four-legge d friend?

Search for Dog Frien dly on: www.helpfulholidays. com acres of private woodland to explore on foot, on paw or by bike. Honeysuckle Cottage is also 10 miles from the sand and surf beaches of Rock and Polzeath.

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The Tallet House: A201, Lustleigh



About Lustleigh

The Tallet House In the beautiful, quiet hamlet of Wreyland on the edge of the village of Lustleigh is a detached, Grade II listed thatched cottage called The Tallet House. Justifying its billing as a ‘top cottage’ every inch of the way, this 17th century building is a tremendously special place, a wonderful blend of contemporary living and historic character. Outside, there is a beautifully planted gravelled cottage garden with uninterrupted views over the hamlet to the wooded hills beyond.

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Inside, The Tallet House is light, spacious and modern with lovely mullioned windows and a host of other original features offsetting the palette of white walls and doors with beige and stone accents. Settle down in the luxurious but homely living room and stoke your very own ancient fireplace, or wander down to the beautiful slate-floored conservatory where you can while away days looking over the garden. As the evenings draw in and the fire wanes, settle down in one of the two

Lustleigh is a small vill age nestled in the Wrey Valley betwe en the towns of Moretonhampstead and Bovey Tracey and is focused around the parish church of St Joh n the Baptist. Surrounding this are a selection of beautiful old thatched buildings. If you visit in May, you ’ll find the May Day celebrations are the biggest event of the year for the village, with a carnival procession, maypole dancing and crowning of the May Queen.

The Tallet House, RE F A201 01647 434360

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The Tallet House

double bedrooms that make this cottage perfect for four guests. The cottage is just half a mile from Lustleigh Cleave, the dramatic, tree-filled river valley where, if you are tempted to a little outdoor activity, opportunities to ride, fish and play golf, as well as to walk, are all close to hand.

MAIN IMAGE The Tallet House is a Grade II listed, thatched cottage in the hamlet of Wreyland

Should the coast call you, The Tallet House is only 10 miles from Teignmouth or 12 miles from Torbay on the English Riviera.

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Mill Barn: L165, Woolston

Mill Barn If your numbers are heading towards 14, and therefore more bedrooms are in order, how do three doubles, one twin, one bunk and a family room sound? Mill Barn, on the edge of Woolston hamlet, is the largest end of a big barn complex that has been converted with huge flair and design know-how to create an impressive

and luxurious house that will cater for families or groups of friends. In the enclosed courtyard sits the games barn, with a table tennis table and a half-sized snooker table, immediately to one side of the house, while over the quiet lane is a secluded, tranquil orchard with a children’s play area and barbecue: a great space for letting off steam.

Step inside and find the huge, open-plan living/dining room and kitchen with stone walls and beams stretching to its apex. You’ll also find a large gable-end window and oak floors with underfloor heating to keep you toasty during winter. The interior is confident and contemporary and there’s plenty of technology to keep your party

The kitchen was properly and thoughtfully equipped to cater for 14!! The open-plan living accommodation was great for keeping a large family together. Didn’t want to come home!

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M ill Barn

entertained (not just TV, but Sky, DVD, Blu-ray and an iPod dock). When you’ve come to the end of your fun filled day, and thoughts inevitably turn to supper and wine, you’ll find a large dining table and smart kitchen, just perfect for conjuring up a culinary masterpiece. And you won’t have far to go as the night sets in, as leading off from this central area are two large ensuite double bedrooms. The open-tread stairs of oak lead down to the flagstoned hall, where there is access to a playroom with

Wii, air hockey and a table tennis table and four further bedrooms. There is even a second kitchen on this floor with a separate dishwasher, just in case the two in the kitchen above don’t suffice! Mill Barn is just a few miles from the village of Malborough, the small port and seaside town of Salcombe and the market town of Kingsbridge at the northern end of the tidal Kingsbridge Estuary.

The Top Cottages

We have many stunni ng cottages to offer and these are jus t a couple that have been very popula r over the last year. If you have individual specifications, such as a location in the South West, the number of people in your group, or your required com bination of facilities, then do feel free to get in touch, and we’ll do our best to help you find a range of pro perties to suit your holiday needs.

Just call us on: 01647 434360

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Fixit Cottage

Fixit Cottage: L5, Kingsbridge



Some of us love to dive in on holiday. Well, here are two holiday destinations with divine pools, and plenty more besides.

Fixit Cottage This first pool is just outside the small market town of Kingsbridge, with its busy estuary, so water is never far away: perfect if you enjoy sailing and paddleboarding as much as you do swimming. Fixit Cottage is one of two cottages that have been converted from former barns, sharing exclusive use of the lovely indoor heated swimming pool (29 x 11 x 4ft deep). Both cottages are tucked behind The Hen House, a fitness, health and beauty centre in a converted barn,

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and all its facilities, including massage, beauty therapy, fitness classes and an excellent gym are available to you at reduced rates. This comfortable cottage, which sleeps four, has its own enclosed lawned garden, bordered by a stream and a verandah which is lovely for alfresco evening meals. When you’ve finished your evening dip, you’ll enjoy preparing food in the well-equipped kitchen/dining room and relaxing in the charming ceiling-to-apex living room with

French windows leading to your balcony. When not in the pool, you can always try your hand at table tennis and pool in the games room, or venture outside to the three coarse fishing lakes. For more nautical pleasures, visit the nearby Kingsbridge estuary, which has boat trips all the way to the sea at Salcombe, and if you just can’t get enough swimming, Bantham Beach is only four miles away.

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29/11/2014 10:28


Prospect House

Prospect House: L84, Hallsands

Go Swimming

Prospect House For an invigorating outdoor dip, try the pool at Prospect House, perched high on the cliffs in the village of Hallsands, once a hotel and now 16 smart apartments with stunning ocean views to the dramatic lighthouse at Start Point and along the coast to Dartmouth. The heated outdoor swimming pool (31 x 15 x 4ft to 5ft 10in deep) is open from 8am to 8pm from Whitsun Bank Holiday to 30th September, and there are also communal gardens and a tennis court if your time in the pool allows for other delightful distractions. This ground-floor apartment accommodates four people and has been elegantly furnished in a New

England coastal style by the interior designer owner, making it both nautical and supremely stylish at the same time. The main room has lovely long sea views across to the lighthouse through its bay windows and you’ll spot a fair few seafaring accessories, such as an oar, a couple of model lighthouses, leather-strapped travelling trunks as coffee tables and a lime-washed timber wall. Two attractive bedrooms comprise a maritime double with an ensuite shower-room and French windows to a terrace, and an ensuite twin room that keeps to the seafaring style with driftwood lights and sailing-boat wallpaper.

If you’re staying near the coast, beaming smiles are like ly from every generation of guest. So why not pump up the happiness factor even further and choose a holiday destination by the sea that also has a pool? Some like to cha rge up and down swimming length s, burning calories and defining muscles; some just like to float on their backs meditating ; others want to teach their children to swim or just enjoy watching them frolicking in the water. Whatever your approach, don’t forget to pack the cos tumes!

Seach for pools on: www.helpfulholidays. com

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Puddaven: A205, Chagford


Puddaven Puddaven is an inspiring barn conversion near Chagford, with long views over the local wildlife haven of rolling moorland and meadows. For an extreme eco experience, a camp fire is available from late July to October, which allows you to camp under the stars, if you can forgo the modern comforts of the interior.

accommodation set over three levels. The ground floor has an ensuite double bedroom with uninterrupted views to Easdon Tor on Dartmoor. The middle floor has a large, light and airy open-plan living/ dining room (pictured above) and kitchen with another ensuite double bedroom on the next floor under the eaves and a glazed end wall overlooking the living area.

The inside is contemporary and styled immaculately with the

This beautiful, original conversion is set in a wonderfully tranquil,

The Oval was a wonderful place to stay, full of character and atmosphere and very close to the heart of Dunster.

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timeless spot with 32 acres of Devonshire farmland to explore, stabling and grazing for horses and the open moors on the doorstep.

The Hay Loft Just 1.5 miles from Kentisbeare and Cullompton is The Hay Loft, a delightful barn conversion across from the owners’ part 17th century listed farmhouse, set on a five-acre organic smallholding which you are welcome to explore while you take in the expansive views across miles of countryside. Inside, the concept of an eco-life turns into the physical reality of an earthy but sophisticated barn conversion. The spacious open-plan living/dining room and kitchen is light and bright with a

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The Oval: F46, Dunster

The Hay Loft: G40, Kentisbeare Puddaven: A205,

combination of stone and wood floors, granite worktops and a woodburning stove. The height of the space is dramatic and the area looks up to the open gallery mezzanine, styled as a second living room. There are four downstairs double bedrooms, three ensuite and one with facilities suitable for wheelchair users. The open gallery on the first floor has views of the beautiful surrounding countryside as well as the living area below and you will find two more ensuite double bedrooms on this level. This very roomy and comfy home also has a games/laundry room with table tennis and air hockey, while a short walk away through one of the

fields are two pretty ponds where visitors can fish for tench and carp.

The Oval The Oval, once an open ‘hall house’, is one of the oldest buildings in the pretty village of Dunster. It’s an historically fascinating and quirky cottage, now beautifully upgraded, furnished and decorated with its successive centuries of interior history – including the wonky floors – left intact. Downstairs, the ancient timbers, leaded windows, low lintels and heavy timber doors exude an ancient, beguiling charm. There are modern comforts, too, including a snug with easy chairs which makes the perfect quiet reading room and


a stonehearthed woodburner. The breakfast/dining area has French windows to a courtyard and there is a smartly fitted oak kitchen with a range-style cooker and all the modern amenities you would expect from a holiday home of this quality. A low medieval doorway leads through to the utility room and cloakroom, perfect for muddy boots, dripping coats and soggy dogs. This lovely, civilised and historic house sleeps six in three bedrooms: a twin and two doubles, both with vaulted ceilings, cruck beams and window seats, and one delivering that little extra to the medieval theme with a 5ft fourposter bed.

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SPECIAL DESTINATION St Agnes History in a spectacular landscape Tucked into an unspoilt spot on the north Cornish coast sits St Agnes, a tiny town set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a World Heritage Site. Slightly off the beaten tourist track, this lively town is perfect for fans of the great outdoors. You can walk, surf, swim, cycle, skate, horse-ride or simply sit and enjoy the stunning natural surroundings. In times past, activities around St Agnes were rather less leisurely, and the district has a heritage of industrial archaeology, with much of the landscape of considerable geological interest. It’s still possible to follow the mining trail that begins at the famous Wheal Coates tin mine on the cliffs near Chapel Porth, continuing along the Coast Path to the old workings at Polberro and Wheal Kitty.

You’ll be spo with p ilt for c ictu ho the no resque walk ice rth coa s alon g s t of Co Find o rnwall ur sele . c ti on of Coast Path w alks

SEE PA GE – 44 –

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St A gnes








Cosy in for the evenings and warm yourself by the woodburning stove





This beautiful Victorian cottage makes a great base from which to explore



Site A World Heritage

A great value family cottage that your dog will enjoy too

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Farm Life

Trevaskis Farm has definitely got bigger, but the ethos has never changed, prioritising homegrown and home-reared produce: food yards, not miles. So we can enjoy the delights of Cornish produce and the countryside all in one place! The Eustice family are firmly rooted at Trevaskis Farm, having farmed in the same parish since the early 1890s. The 1980s proved a tough time, as it was for farmers across the UK.

where both quantity and quality were exceptional.

While many left the industry never to return, a few, like Paul Eustice, fought back and through ingenuity, entrepreneurship and sheer hard graft built successful and sustainable businesses to hand on to future generations. After one particularly brutal vegetable season, Paul decided to change tack and started growing fruit specifically for the ‘pick-your-own’ market.

By the time their son Giles returned from London in 2004 to work in the family business, Trevaskis was a great success but, never complacent, Giles brought fresh ideas and the drive to expand into new areas. First a six week hiatus in 2006 while a much extended restaurant was constructed, and then a vision of a new way to shop: a farm shop of significant scale and quality focused on superb fresh produce, but also offering a greater diversity than had been seen anywhere in Cornwall before.

The fortunes of the farm soon started to turn and Paul’s wife Adele added what, at first, was a tea shop for thirsty pick-your-own customers. Swelling numbers convinced the couple to extend the hours and a reputation was soon gained for famous deserts and Sunday roasts

A fabulous fish counter stocked with local fish and shellfish landed in Newlyn harbour; an in-house butchery specialising in home reared, rare breed British Lop pork and South Devon beef, as well as top quality lamb, poultry and game sourced locally; fresh seasonal

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produce from Trevaskis and other local farms; dairy, deli and bakery items, again drawn from Cornish producers, and a whole host of other interesting foodstuffs rarely seen in the supermarkets. Underpinning the whole ethos of Trevaskis is the desire to keep people, and particularly children, connected to the means of food production – counting the distance food travels in yards rather than miles. Thousands of school children have benefited from educational visits to the farm and restaurant, to learn that there is a great future for local produce championed so effectively by the Eustice family. Free to visit and open from 8am daily, with the Christmas meat fayre in full swing, the Farmhouse Kitchen for grabbing a drink or a bite to eat and The Market for stocking up on great local produce, Trevaskis Farm is a great day out for all ages.

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Trevaskis Farm Hayle

Trevaskis Far m’s

Scallops with chorizo and spinach Ingredients:

3 tbsp vegetable oil 200g/7oz chorizo, chopped 50ml/1¾fl oz Pedro Ximénez sherry 1 red onion, sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 12 tomatoes, skinned, chopped handful chopped baby spinach 100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock 1 tsp ground turmeric 12 scallops salt and freshly ground black pepper TREVASKIS FARM AND RESTAURANT Connor Downs, Hayle TR27 5JQ General enquiries: 01209 713931 Trevaskis Market: 01209 714009


1. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and fry the chorizo for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp. 2. Add the sherry and continue to cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. 3. Add the tomatoes, spinach, chicken stock and turmeric and cook for 8-10 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, rub the remaining oil onto the scallops and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 5. Heat a frying pan until hot and fry the scallops for a minute on each side. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. 6 . To serve, spoon the chorizo and spinach stew into four small terracotta dishes and top with the scallops.

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Greenaleigh Farm


Greenaleigh Farm 3.4 miles

A gentle climb through historic woodland rich in wildlife up to open heathland, with magnificent views across the Bristol Channel and over to Exmoor. 1. The walk starts beside the lifeboat station at Quay West Car Park, Minehead. From here, turn right up the road, away from the town, and make your way along it to the roundabout. 2. Choose the path through Culver Cliff Green which stays by the shore, and follow it along beside the water for about half a mile. 3. When the Coast Path reaches the end of the green, ignore the path to the left, which takes you back to Quay Street, and instead follow the Coast Path steeply uphill through the woods, until it flattens out slightly and joins a track. 4. Turn right with the Coast Path onto the track, and carry on through the woods, climbing rather more gently as you approach Greenaleigh Farm (pronounced “Grenleigh”). 5. Turn abruptly left with the Coast

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Greenaleigh Farm was once the Dunster Castle estatepart of

Path as you reach the gate to the farm, and take the steps up to the path which climbs steeply once more.

8. When a path crosses yours, heading uphill towards the edge of the wood, stay with your bridleway.

6. At the gate at the top, turn sharply right with the Coast Path and carry on with it, out of the woods and up through the coastal heathland on the seaward slopes of North Hill. Arriving with the Coast Path at a junction of paths, a mile or so later, where a small footpath joins you from the right and another one appears to snake away in front of you, here you turn away from the Coast Path as it heads on uphill to your right on its journey towards Porlock. Instead, you take the path doubling back in a southeasterly direction, and walk a couple of hundred yards up to the bridleway between you and the road.

9. Ignoring a second bridleway about a quarter of a mile on, which crosses from the Coast Path into Moor Wood on your right, carry on along your own, also ignoring the network of small paths around you snaking away into the woods.

7. Turn left onto this bridleway and follow it back along the hillside towards the wood.

10. When the path forks to the left, take this, and follow the Luttrells’ drive down through the woods to where it joins the road. 11. At the road go briefly left on it, as far as the sharp right-hand bend a few moments later. Here there is a footpath to the left, signposted to Minehead Seafront, which will take you down a very picturesque path through the woods, known to the locals as “The Zig-Zags”. Descend the set of steps towards the bottom.

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Gillan Creek

Helford village on one of the most unspoilt rivers in Cornwall


Gillan Creek

and Dennis Head 5 miles

A walk through woodland around the once-fortified headland at Dennis Head, following first the Helford River and then Gillan Creek. 1. Heading out of the Helford car park towards the road, turn left on the track to pick up the South West Coast Path as it travels towards Dennis Head.

5. Take the footpath on the right immediately beyond Roscaddon, following the hedge through two fields to Trudgwell and on to the road at the end of the drive.

2. Follow the path through the woodland above the Helford River and out onto open ground around the edge of fields as you approach Dennis Head.

6. On the road turn left and pick up the footpath on your right after the entrance to the Bosahan estate. Follow the path along the edge of the wood, turning left at the end of the third field to walk along the lane towards the buildings. As you reach them the footpath turns into a field on the right and heads to the far left corner to come out just before it on the road.

3. Retrace your steps from Dennis Head, forking left to carry on along the Coast Path as it passes behind Gillan Harbour. 4. Carry on along the road to where the Coast Path crosses Gillan Creek. Leaving the path without crossing the creek, continue ahead along the road to where it turns left. Go through the gate on your right to take the footpath through the trees. The path heads left between the buildings and follows Vicarage Lane to Roscaddon House, on the right a little further on.

7. On the road turn briefly right and then take the lane on the left, leaving it at the end of the first field to take the footpath on the right, just before the hedge. Bear left to carry on ahead when you reach the road to return to the car park above Helford.

FIND MORE WALKS The South West Coast Path National Trail is rated as one of the top walks to be found anywhere in the world by Lonely Planet and voted Britain’s best walking route by the readers of Walk magazine. Where else can you walk along 630 miles of such superb coastline? The heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery along the way are truly inspirational and walking it brings stunning new experiences every time. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll to take you to a beauty spot, are embarking on the challenge of hiking the entire route from Somerset's Minehead on the edge of Exmoor around to the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset, or something in between, a visit to the South West Coast Path website will point you in the right direction.

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Dart Valley


Greenway on the Dart Valley Trail

4 miles View of Dartmouth from the

A breathtaking walk on the Dart Valley Trail, travelling through National Trust woodland high above the steam railway and the river. Take the Higher Ferry to Kingswear and walk to Agatha Christie’s Greenway. 1. Starting from Coronation Park in Dartmouth, face the river and turn left. Proceed to the Dartmouth Higher Ferry. Cross the Dart on the Higher Ferry. Reaching the far bank, walk up the road from the ferry to the permissive footpath on the right-hand side.

4. Ignoring the path joining from the right, carry on through Long Wood, following the waymarkers around Oakham Hill. Coming out of the trees, the path travels downhill to Higher Greenway.

2. Turn right here and follow the path steeply up through the National Trust land at Hoodown and on to the Dart Valley Trail. Turn left, signed towards Greenway Ferry and Maypool, and carry on through the woods above the river. Follow the waymarkers as the path turns to a country lane above Lower Noss Point until it comes to the road.

5. Following the waymarkers over the stile to the right of the path, carry on downhill along the edge of the field to the lane, turning left here towards Maypool, Galmpton and Greenway Ferry and then left again towards Greenway Gardens. Coming out on the road at Maypool, the Dart Valley Trail is joined by the John Musgrave Heritage Trail and the Greenway Walk. Carry on through Maypool towards Greenway.

3. Cross the road, and another smaller one beyond, and carry on through the trees, heading inland above the creek at Cart Wood and turning sharply left with the path as it doubles back towards the River Dart.

Managed by the National Trust, Greenway was the home of Elizabethan explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who founded Newfoundland. His half-brother, Sir Walter Raleigh, also spent time here. A little way

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Lower Ferry

downstream on the opposite bank of the river is Hamblyn’s Coombe, once the family’s hunting lodge, and Raleigh is said to have experimented with growing potatoes here after he brought them back from the New World. 6. Going through the gate onto the National Trust property at Greenway carry on along the path, following through the gate to the right above the river, signed Greenway Gardens, to walk through the field beyond. Ignoring the path to Galmpton, carry on towards Greenway gardens, descending steeply to the car park. 7. Follow the waymarkers signed to Dittisham via the ferry to descend to the quay for the return journey to Dartmouth. There is a charge for the trip to Dartmouth. Please check for further details.

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Taking a break at Tintagel


Rock Valley

Tintagel 3.7 miles

One of the Coast Path’s most magical stretches. At St Nectan’s Kieve the river Trevillet plunges down a 60-foot waterfall with such force that it has carved a series of basins in the rock. 1. From the layby below Halgabron on the Boscastle road walk a short distance towards Tintagel. Turn left on the small road to Halgabron and follow it steeply uphill past the houses.

a natural rock arch to fall the last 12 feet.

2. Take the footpath on the left, shortly after the houses, and follow it through the fields and on along St Nectan’s Glen. Fork right in the valley to climb to St Nectan’s Kieve.

4. In Trethevy take the lane to the right and walk to the road.

In 1985 the glen was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Ferns and mosses love its damp shade, and two rare liverworts grow here, as well as rare mosses. ‘Kieve’ comes from an old English word meaning ‘basin’. St Nectan’s Kieve is a plunge pool at the base of a 60-foot waterfall, where the Trevillet River, having carved a number of kieves into the Devonian slate higher up the rock walls, emerges through

3. At the top of the steps turn left to take the track over the hill towards the coast, following it downhill to Trethevy.

5. On the road turn right to pick up the footpath opposite to Trevalga. 6. In Trevalga bear left and then turn left on the road. When it splits into two lanes take the right-hand fork. 7. Turn left on the South West Coast Path and follow it past Ladies Window and on along Trevalga Cliff, where the quarry workings sound like windchimes as you walk on them. 8. Descending steeply to Rocky Valley, leave the Coast Path to turn left and walk up through the valley back to the road at the start of the walk.

REFRESHMENTS GREENALEIGH: There are numerous tearooms, cafés, pubs and restaurants in Minehead, including several around the harbour. GILLAN CREEK: You can find refreshments in Helford or St Anthony in Meneage, or in Manaccan, just off-route. GREENWAY: You can find refreshments in both Dartmouth and Greenway. For details about the ferry back to Dartmouth visit TINTAGEL: There is parking in the layby at Rocky Valley and refreshments in Tintagel village. For more information on these walks, and to check for changes to the routes, visit

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s l a v i Fest of food

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SOUTH WEST FOOD ADVENTURES For the dedicated foodie, there’s never a shortage of delicious things to do when visiting the South West. All year round, culinary treats and experiences abound, whether you’re sampling the region’s finest artisan products, learning direct from celebrity chefs or conjuring up dishes yourself with hands-on cookery activities. Over the next five pages you’ll find a tasty sample of just a few of our favourite foodie festivals in the South West. →→→

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MAIN & INSET Food Festivals in the South West, like the Padstow Christmas Festival, are attracting some of the best chefs in the UK

If you’re in the West Country from January to March, you’ll find excellent reasons to trip up on those New Year dieting resolutions! Now’s the perfect time, for example, to treat yourself to tasty culinary delights at one of the region’s many farmers’ markets. From St Ives to Bath, 12 months a year, you’ll find farmers’ markets

offering the finest locally sourced meat and fish, with a seemingly never-ending array of foodie treats, from tasty store-cupboard chutneys to creamy cheeses, handmade chocolates and artisan bread in a fantastic variety of shapes and varieties. In Cornwall, markets at Helston, Camborne, Truro, St Ives and

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Sennen are particularly recommended, while visitors to Devon can enjoy great foodie days out at farmers’ markets in Plymouth, Exeter, Totnes and Crediton, to name but a few. Most markets take place weekly, but not always at the weekend, so check to find out when farmers’ markets are running in the area you’re visiting.

OFF-SEASON OFFERINGS Crowds are thinner in the South West at this time of year, but the food events are no less tempting or

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COTTAGES nearby... ISLAND HOUSE: S65 In Golant, on the edge of the harbour and surrounded on three sides by water, is fabulous Island House. With superb water views, this holiday home for 6 is close to Daphne du Maurier’s former home, Menabilly, which inspired Manderley in ‘Rebecca’. This is an exceptional waterside property in a beautiful part of Cornwall.


WEST HENSTILL HOUSE: J27 Only 1.5 miles from Sandford, looking over seemingly endless rich meadows and wooded hedgerows, is a gorgeous, Grade II listed, thatched house for 8. With 16th century origins, this home has now been transformed into a smart, stylish retreat from mainstream hustle and bustle in a beautiful spot.


SEAGULL’S PERCH: Q36 On a private lane on the north side of the superb beach in Mawgan Porth is a semi-detached, recently custom-built house for 5, with superb beach and sea views. In a village clustered around a beautiful cove of soft sand with restaurants, wine bar, surf school and beach shops, this home is a fine example of contemporary living.


ABOVE The World Pasty Championships are a must for any pasty lover BELOW Falmouth hosts its annual oyster festival each October

fascinating - and you won’t need to share so much. If you’re partial to pasties, for example, you’ll be in heaven at the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project in February. Celebrating not only the traditional Cornish pasty recipe, this fun-filled championship enjoys entries of more unusual varieties. From the Americas to Australia, pasties derived from recipes passed down by Cornish emigrants over centuries are eaten and enjoyed by many millions of people, and you’ll find competitors

from around the world at Eden. Or, for those with a sweet tooth, The Big Cake Show in Exeter in March mixes up everything we love about baking, decorating and eating cake to create the ‘biggest, most extravagant cake event the South West has ever seen’! Also in March, the Fifteen – think Jamie Oliver – Spring Farmers’ Market near Newquay offers food enthusiasts much more than your average market, with the best local produce and artisan suppliers and a range of culinary events that includes

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demonstrations by some of the nation’s top chefs. Then, at the end of March, Falmouth hosts its annual Oyster Gathering and Seafood Harvest. Celebrating the start of the oyster dredging season, the diversity and quality of Cornish seafood and, in particular, one of the last remaining traditional oyster fisheries dredging by sail and hand punt, this popular event offers cookery masterclasses, demonstrations by leading local chefs, oysters, wine and local ale, children’s shell painting, sea shanties, a town parade and even live music. Certainly a festival for all oyster, seafood and maritime heritage enthusiasts!

SPRING INTO FOOD As the South West moves into spring, the food festival season hots up too. At the Porthleven Food and Music Festival at the end of April, foodie treats and activities are served up alongside a lively programme of music. Gastronomic

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treats from near and far will be on the menu as the very best of Cornish produce is cooked up accompanied by a selection of global street food and a packed programme of music and events. At the same time, the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink offers a spectacular celebration of culinary delights and events, including cookery demonstrations, workshops and hands-on activities for all the family. This festival, an annual event held in the courtyard of Exeter Castle and surrounding Northernhay Gardens, includes two evening Festival After Dark events featuring live music, chef demos and a great atmosphere. Then, at the beginning of May, the Cornwall Home and Lifestyle Show at Wadebridge is a great place to taste delights on offer from some of the region’s best food and drink local producers, while those visiting later in the month will find at the St Ives and TorqEat food festivals a feast of

food-related entertainment.

SUMMER SAVOURIES Come June, the South West food festival season gets into full swing. At the Big Food Event in Plymouth you can sample delicious locally produced fare, together with cookery competitions, debates and countless other culinary capers. The event is a city-wide celebration of good food. With so much going on in the city, visitors get the opportunity to taste and enjoy some of the wonderful food right here on our doorstep. In the same month, there are also vibrant food festivals to be found at Crediton, Ottery St Mary and Dartington, where local food producers sell their wares alongside children’s entertainment.

STUNNING SEAFOOD Surrounded by sea, the South West’s foodie calendar inevitably includes the chance to feast on stunning seafood, freshly caught and prepared. In August, the Newlyn Fish

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Ply mouth

COTTAGES nearby... BOSOLJACK: S416 In the beautifuly unspoilt creek-side hamlet of Port Navas is this light and bright former boathouse holiday home for 4. Beside the tidal creek that leads into the Helford River, close to Glendurgan and Trebah gardens, this is a fantastic retreat from which to explore Cornwall’s ‘Med’, from Constantine to Falmouth.


MAZEYS COTTAGE: T11 Half a mile from the tiny village of Germoe, between Helston and Penzance, on a 15 acre smallholding, is this delightful cottage for 5. With lovely footpaths from the door up Tregonning Hill and to the Godolphin Estate, and fantastic panoramic views over fields to Mount’s Bay, this is a spacious and tranquil cottage.


MAIN Plymouth’s Flavour Fest is the South West’s largest free food and drink event INSET TOP LEFT The Newlyn Fish Festival, where you can enjoy great cooking demos, live entertainment and bidding at the seafood auction INSET BOTTOM Exeter’s Christmas Market offers a mix of great food, excellent crafts, unique gifts and decorations

Festival serves up a tantalising mix of piscine-themed cuisine and activities. You can see one of the biggest displays of fish, watch a rolling programme of cookery demos by top local chefs and catch the Cornish Fishmonger of the Year competition. Head over to the Fish Tales Tent where you’ll hear some of the best local storytellers, or keep the kids entertained with bouncy castles, face-painting, crazy theatre and the ever-popular Fishy Trail. In September, Brixham hosts its annual, award-winning Fishstock festival. This renowned urban music and seafood festival takes place at the new Fish Quay on Brixham’s picturesque fishing harbour. The one-day event will be held on Saturday 5th September 2015 with the seafood show running all day and the music show continuing throughout the evening. A real hit for the whole family, thousands of visitors regularly enjoy marvelling at the live theatre cooking demonstrations with some of the

1 BLACKMOOR COTTAGES: J32 Set back from a country lane in Shobrooke, a country village in the heart of Devon, with lovely views, is this thatched cottage for 6. With a very well maintained, large garden and pond, and with easy access to Exeter, this sweet little cottage is in a convenient location to explore both the country and city life of Devon.


DRIFT COTTAGE: L151 Tucked right on the water’s edge in the heart of Turnchapel, this beautifully refurbished, cottage for 6, a former pilot boat house, has everchanging and outstanding views across bustling Plymouth harbour towards the city from almost every room. This is a modern nautical home in a wonderful location.


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COTTAGES nearby... THE DOLPHINS: B26 In the large pretty village of Shaldon at the mouth of the river Teign estuary is a fabulous, toes-in-the-water house for 6 standing right on the beach. This smart, stylish and contemporary home delivers terrific panoramic views from the back across the water to Teignmouth, making it a brilliant place year-round for relaxed waterside living.


WOODBINE COTTAGE: P20 Just 200 yards back from the harbour in the old town of Padstow, home to Rick Stein, is this end-of-terrace, 19th century cottage for 3. With a position that makes it extremely convenient for everything, this surprisingly roomy holiday home is fantastic for experiencing one of the South West’s famous foodie capitals.

Fo of e r a te m acro vents pting ss t and list sim he Sou festiva p l eve ly see th Wes s nts t, o gui ur de SEE PA – 70 GE –


English Riviera’s most famous chefs.

AUTUMN HARVEST As autumn advances, the foodie visitor to the South West will not go hungry. At the end of September, the Great Cornish Food Festival offers a fantastic range of food-related activities and treats, while the Powderham Food Festival in October hosts more than 100 food producers selling their wares, together with fascinating talks, demonstrations and delicious tasting opportunities. In the same month, the North Devon Food Fest and Dartmouth Food Festival both promise to serve up a smorgasbord of culinary delights, with a great choice of local food and drink exhibitors, visits by top chefs and tempting foodie treats for everyone, including chocolate, breads, local fish dishes, street food and mouth-watering cakes and bakes. Then, at the end of October,

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the Big Food Show in Exeter is set to repeat its successful mix of demonstration classes, talks and activities for children, together with more than 100 food producers and suppliers all vying to please the food enthusiast with their tasty food and drink. And lastly for October, Budleigh Salterton Food and Drink Lite Fest offers a day of great live music, food and drink for adults and youngsters, with its own mini beer festival for those who appreciate a hoppy tipple with their meal.

FOODIE FESTIVE SEASON By the end of the year, it’s ‘eat, drink and be merry’, with the ingenuity of South West food producers gearing up for the Christmas period. There are, of course, Christmas markets to be found across the South West from the end of November and into December, where you can enjoy a choice range of local produce and street food offerings while shopping

for perfect Christmas gifts. Devon Christmas markets are hosted by Exeter, Plymouth, Totnes, Exmouth and Chagford, while in Cornwall more delicious treats can be found at the annual Padstow Christmas Festival. Last year Rick Stein was on stage cooking dishes from his BBC India series, while son Jack Stein was championing local produce just ‘a knife’s throw’ away. Gordon Ramsay’s protégée, Angela Hartnett, was seen cooking up some modern cuisine with her signature Italian flair and award-winning chef Tom Kerridge prepared dishes from his new BBC Two series, Proper Pub Food. Whether your dining dream is oysters and fine wine or a platter of hearty fare to share beside an open fire, the South West’s food festivals will inspire you with scrumptious food and drink and leave you coming back for more.

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Serving local, organic food and drink in stunning locations ALL DAY, EVERY DAY* Summer evening dining available at Blackpool Sands offering steak, freshly caught fish, crab and lobster For opening times and menus visit

DEVON: Blackpool Sands · Bigbury on Sea · East Portlemouth · Dartington CORNWALL: Watergate Bay & Tolcarne Beach *Except East Portlemouth & Tolcarne (Easter-October only)

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DIGGERLAND The Ultimate Adventure Theme Park Experience



SAVE 15% WITH THIS VOUCHER Present this voucher on arrival at Diggerland Devon to receive 15% off the standard price! CODE: 30165

Pay on the day only. Only originals accepted. EXPIRY: 01/11/15 Not valid with any other offer, concession or online entry. Height restrictions apply. Max 4 per voucher. Visit our website for full details, special offers and more!


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ESSENTIAL GADGETS r fantastic holidays Well, ‘essential’ may be a bit of an overstatement, but we do think these gorgeous gadgets will help make your holiday in the West Country even more special. And if going on holiday isn’t an excuse for a bit of retail therapy, then we don’t know what is.



SEALSKINZ HAT: We love to stride out on the Coast Path, especially if there’s a warming cosy pub at the end. Waterproof (and winterproof), this Sealskinz hat, with its breathable membrane and micro fleece lining, will certainly keep you warm and dry. And when the wind picks up and the rain comes down, the ear flaps drop for extra protection.


£28 Cotswold Outdoors



SONY DSC-QX100: If you like to record every moment of your holiday, but don’t want to carry a quality camera and a phone, then how about this clever bit of tech?All you have to do is place the smart lens against any NFC smartphone to make a connection. Now you have the power and control for some serious photography.

£299 John Lewis



SONY DEV-50V BINOCULARS: There’s so much to see when holidaying in the South West that it would be a shame to miss something just because it was a little far off. From fascinating wildlife to scenic views and coastal castles, observing and capturing “wow” moments can easily be achieved with these digital binoculars. No more wobbly, outof-focus views for us!

£1,196.10 Amazon

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WeTshte greaCt oouutdnootrsry




OUTBACK BATTERY HEATED SOCKS: Sometimes, no matter how good your boots are, if you’re walking in the winter months, you’re going to get cold toes... or are you? Outback Battery Heated Socks take just 10 minutes to reach 39°C, a couple of degrees warmer than body temperature, and the warmth is concentrated to the toe area, just where you need it most.

£19.95 Prezzybox



GOPRO HD HERO4: If you love surfing or are the outdoors sort and want to capture your holiday from an adventurous angle, you simply have to get a GoPro! The GoPro HD HERO4 is a feat of engineering. It’s wearable, mountable on surfboards, waterproof, has a truly immersive 170 degree wide-angle and, most importantly, is lots of fun. We think it’s great, you’ll think it’s great and so will the rest of the family.

£369.99 Argos



MEINDL BURMA BOOTS: A good pair of walking boots is an absolute essential, and we love Meindl, the daddy of walking boots. Having produced footwear in Germany for more than 300 years, the Burma is their best-known boot. With fantastic grip and incredible ventilation, this is a boot that will keep you warm and dry and stay faithful year after year.

£144.89 Millet Sport

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m a e r D cottage

Garden designer Martha Krempel tells Amber Key about finding, owning and managing her cottage in the rolling Devon countryside.

Martha Krempel spent 10 months researching the market and the county of Devon before she bought a 500-year-old, thatched dream home a short drive from the stunning Devon coast in the village of Combpyne in east Devon. And, of course, it has a garden – an essential element for a professional garden designer. After many years of happy holidays in the South West with Helpful Holidays, buying a property was a natural

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If you’re considering entering the holiday home market, but aren’t sure where to start, have a look at our 10 simple steps to getting the best out of your investment. TURN TO PAGE 60 You can find out more about Mart ha’s garden design at:

www.marthakrempelgardendesign. com

next step. Martha drew on her own experience of the perfect break and applied this to her property search.

like too, such as Mark Hix’s fish restaurant above the beach at Lyme Regis and Brassica in Beaminster.

There were plenty of things to consider, including ease of access by car to the cottage, parking, potential congestion in the summer and, of course, proximity to the sea.

Marlborough Cottage (G39) is also just five minutes from the seaside by car and tucked away from some of the busiest spots near Seaton and Lyme Regis. “It overlooks rolling hills and the views across the valley are poetic. We discovered some gems after a few months of being in the area, like Millers Farm Shop in nearby Kilmington,” she says. “It sells fresh, local produce and lovely cheese and wine.”

“We bought in an accessible location near a good town with restaurants and cafés where we liked to eat, which we thought our guests might

“We bought in an accessible location near a good town with restaurants and cafés where we liked to eat, which we thought our guests might like too.”


Find out more

Another consideration was distance from both her family home in London

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e g a t t o C h g u M arlboro


and her sister’s home in Surrey. As one of seven siblings, Martha was keen that the whole family should be able to spend plenty of time at the cottage. “I share the cottage with my sister Louise and it’s a place we come to with our families and friends. Proximity to London was good, and less than a three-hour drive.” Then there’s the cottage itself. “It’s worth investing in a cottage you want to spend time in, as chances are so will your guests. The Aga and woodburner are real bonuses, especially when it’s chilly outside.” Then there’s the garden. Martha is currently creating a wildflower

meadow, about which she is especially excited as a professional garden designer. “This is such a fantastic property! We have begun to clear the garden area and we’re planting flowers that are specific to the area – cornflowers, red campion and cow parsley.” Martha relies on an extended team to ensure the cottage runs smoothly all year round. “You need a great team of people; we have a gardener, housekeeper, builder and electrician. We use Helpful Holidays to organise the letting side of things because they are best in class and we’ve always found them to be excellent.”

MAIN IMAGE Martha’s 500-year-old dream cottage in Devon INSET TOP The living room at Marlborough Cottage: G39 INSET BOTTOM The garden at Marlborough Cottage, with its wildflower meadow and summer house INSET LEFT Martha Krempel is a professional garden designer from London

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Steps Do you love the West Country and find it hard to tear yourself away? Then why not consider buying your own holiday home, a place to call your own, where you can retreat for a staycation whenever the mood takes you? And if you let it, consider it an investment as well as a luxury.

Competition time! For an opportunity to win your first year as a Helpful Holidays cottage owner totally commission free, call

01647 434360

to join us today and quote:



FINDING THE RIGHT PLACE Coast or country? ‘Chocolate box’ charm or state-of-the-art? Country cottage or penthouse apartment? Choices of location and style for your holiday home can seem bewildering, but a pin and blindfold isn’t the only way - guidance is at hand. A reputable holiday letting agency will recommend the best places and types of property to generate good income, and some West Country estate agents, such as Chartsedge and Knight Frank, have very experienced holiday home specialists.

2 INSET IMAGES This year, with holiday homes like Sheafhayne, (right) and Mill Barn (left), we’ll arrange holidays for over 100,000 guests

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BALANCING THE BOOKS You’ve found the perfect place – how do you get the best deal? From new builds to taking on a tried and tested holiday home, an agency like Helpful Holidays will offer support, recommending finance companies and preparing estimates for mortgage lenders. We also give guidance on business rates and how to offset expenses against income. Low interest rates make this an excellent time to invest in property.


INSURANCE PROTECTION Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of your own holiday home. The first consideration is to safeguard your property. Helpful Holidays can put you in touch with insurers who specialise in the cottage letting market.


RULES AND REGULATIONS Keeping up to date with law relating to letting can be daunting, although fundamentally you need to make your premises ‘reasonably safe’. An agency will guide you on current legislation regarding discrimination, risk assessments, fire and gas safety, electrical equipment and product safety. Helpful Holidays keeps copies of certificates and we’ll remind you when a renewal is due.


LONE RANGER OR POSSE Are you ready to manage your property or is working with a letting agency a better option? As well as

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s e g a t t o c y a d i l o h d e Handpickout the West Country through

helping prepare your home, a good agency offers an effective website and booking system, marketing and investment, a database of potential customers, high rates of occupancy and maximum returns. Guaranteed payment for bookings might alleviate stress and make letting even more enjoyable.

Guests hope for, and often expect, something better than a home-fromhome. We recommend neutral décor and furnishings, allowing you to regularly update a boutique hotel look with distinctive cushions, artwork, lampshades etc. Quality curtains and comfy soft furnishings are essential.



FIRST IMPRESSION Look at the outside of your holiday home through fresh eyes. Does it look loved and well cared for? Are paths weed-free, paintwork fresh, fences secure and plants tended? It’s worth taking special care to make the first impression inviting. If you have a garden, keep it neat and provide quality furniture. Light the approach, with a clear sign so your guests know they’ve arrived at the right place.


‘WOW’ FACTOR Different generations, diverse characters… we know how we like our own home to look, but how to ensure everyone else loves it too?

MAINTAINING THE SHINE A good caretaker is a godsend if you live far away or you have a busy life. You’ve created the holiday home of your dreams and a reliable person to keep it in shape will put your mind at rest. They’ll manage changeovers, possibly greet guests and resolve problems. We can recommend highly capable Mrs Doubtfires who will deal with your domestic responsibilities with aplomb.


FANTASTIC FEEDBACK One of the pleasures of owning a holiday home is knowing other people are enjoying it too, having wonderful, memorable holidays. Provide a visitors’ book and enjoy

browsing guests’ enthusiastic comments, with perhaps a separate book for your wee visitors who’ll love illustrating their adventures. Helpful Holidays’ customers are encouraged to provide feedback, which is published online to help others select their perfect accommodation. On the rare occasion a complaint arises, we’re always willing to help both property owner and holidaymaker resolve it.


RELAX AND HAVE FUN! Owning and letting a holiday home makes a sound business investment, but don’t forget the best thing of all – it’s a place for you to enjoy. Gather all the generations for a glorious family jamboree or simply slip away for a quiet weekend to put up your feet with a good book and revitalise. Most agencies are happy for you to take time out for your family and friends, so… escape to your very own West Country retreat.

Find out more

If you have a great holiday home, we’d love to hear from you. You’ll be looked after by our experienced property managers, and will have the friendly support of our entire team. CALL US ON: 01647 434360

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Shopping Dunster MAIN IMAGE Dunster Castle which overlooks the main street of Dunster village. Read more about the South West’s castles on page 10

With so many historic sites to explore in the village of Dunster, the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Exmoor National Park, you may be surprised to discover its wealth of shopping opportunities. Nestled below the sweeping hills of Exmoor, Dunster has a rich and colourful past, much of it linked with magnificent Dunster Castle, truly a must-see visitor destination. The castle overlooks Dunster village, which has many attractions in its own right, including the beautiful Gallox Bridge, the old Yarn Market and fascinating historic buildings wherever you look. But nowadays Dunster prides itself too on being a shoppers’ paradise,

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with a wealth of retail opportunities that belie its size, and should satisfy even the most avid of shoppers. If you’re searching for quality accessories and gifts to take away that complement your home, the Humming Bird on Church Street is an excellent first port of call. Here you’ll find a carefully selected range of gorgeous home accessories, that include the amazing Annie Sloan paint, unique gifts, cards, toys and even quirky vintage finds.

If you don’t find the perfect item there, you’re certain to track it down at Home Coming on the High Street, or Horse and Crook, selling an intriguing mix of new and vintage gifts for home and garden, and where, if you step inside, you’ll find a 16th century fireplace. Or for something that’s truly unique, visit Made in Dunster on West Street, where gifts and home accessories inspired by nature are hand-crafted in the workshop just next door.

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llage Historic market vi

COTTAGES nearby... CASTLE VIEW: F23 In the heart of Dunster is this elegant first and second floor apartment for 5 in a large converted Georgian house with views over ancient rooftops and the distant wooded Exmoor hills. Observe the world pass by as the church bells chime, or indulge in wonderful walks over the ancient castle’s estate.


THE OVAL: F46 Nestled on West Street is this historically fascinating, quirky cottage, believed to date back to the 1400s. Now beautifully upgraded, yet still retaining its charm with wonky floors and historical features, this holiday cottage for 6 is a very lovely, civilised house with fruit trees and views over the village to wooded hills beyond.


INSET BOTTOM Dunster’s Yarn Market, erected in 1609

INSET TOP The kitchen at Hathaway’s restaurant on West Street INSET MIDDLE Made in Dunster’s hand-crafted gifts inspired by nature

Still for the home, there’s a great selection of antiques at Crooked Window on the High Street, and Chatelaine on West Street. Or, for locally produced gifts including pottery, wooden toys and jewellery, head along to Chapel House Crafts, where you can also sit and enjoy homemade lunches and cakes. If jewellery is your thing, we recommend you visit the Exmoor Jeweller at the Kiwi Gallery on the High Street, or for something a little

otherworldly, 5Quarters nearby offers a magical mix of crystals, fairies and angels and jewellery inspired by nature’s elements – earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Thankfully, Dunster also caters for the hungry shopper, with a range of popular eateries such as Reeves Restaurant, where owner Justin has over 20 years’ cooking experience, starting in the early eighties at La Sorbonne in Oxford under master chef André Chavagnon.

Located on West Street and celebrating its 10th anniversary, you’ll find Hathaway’s, a 16th century restaurant which is the perfect venue for a romantic dinner by candlelight in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. This wonderful historic village, with its culinary delights, strives to achieve quality, offer the unusual and provide a truly unique shopping experience, just what you need for a spot of retail therapy on a great holiday day out.

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ShoppingTopsha m If you’re looking for somewhere to shop that has unique character and a wonderful waterside setting, you can’t wish for more than Topsham, just four miles from the city of Exeter

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MAIN IMAGE Topsham with beautiful views over the Exe estuary

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Topsha m

e Exe

th M aritime town on

COTTAGES nearby... COLLINGWOOD HOUSE: G84 On a quiet lane, close to the shops, pubs and a slipway, is a surprisingly spacious second-floor apartment in a terrace of 18th century houses, once thought to be a warehouse. This lovely escape, which sleeps 4, offers pretty views over the quay and estuary to beautiful Devonshire countryside beyond.


CHURCH COTTAGE: G58 In the heart of Otterton, on a quiet lane between the mill and the church, is this pretty detached cottage for 6, furnished in chic cottage style. Only a mile from the ‘Jurassic Coast’ and 8 miles from Topsham, this holiday home makes a very friendly and civilised base from which to explore this very special part of Devon.

NEAR TOPSHAM ABOVE INSET La Petite Maison, award-winning restaurant in the heart of Topsham

With beautiful views over the Exe Estuary, Topsham prides itself on its welcoming atmosphere and relaxed pace of life. However, in the past this was a modern and bustling port. As a result, the town offers something rather special for the modern shopper. Alongside views of fishing and sailing boats by the Quay, you’ll find a great selection of independent shops stocking luxury brands and award-winning eateries, all in a quaint and charming setting of cobbled alleyways and fascinating architecture. Topsham’s main shopping street is Fore Street and this is the place to head to if you’re after a

gift to take home to friends or family. Visit Fleming and Sell, part gallery, part emporium of lovely things. You’ll find unique pieces of work and special gifts and there’s always an exciting and distinctive display created by owner artist, Charlotte Fleming. If contemporary art is your gift (perhaps to yourself) of choice, don’t miss The Art Room. Open at weekends, this gallery sells work by artists from all over the South West, with an everchanging programme of exhibits. There’s never a need to be less than fully occupied exploring this wonderfully

BOTTOM INSET Oliva Kitchen Deli offers local produce, filled baguettes and freshly baked cakes

characterful town. You can spend the morning browsing books at The Topsham Book Shop or maybe pick up an antique from the Topsham Quay Antiques Centre or indulge in high-end brands such as Dubarry. On Topsham’s outskirts, Darts Farm Village offers a specialist selection of locally produced food and drink and retail outlets to suit the most discerning and fashionable tastes. It’s not all retail therapy. Topsham also boasts an amazing choice of historic pubs and award-winning restaurants to revive flagging bargain hunters, including The Galley, La Petite Maison and The Georgian Tea Room, or if you feel like a slice of cake there are great independent cafés too, including Route 2, the Avocet Café and the wonderful Oliva Kitchen Deli.

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s e i r o m e M e Favourit A beautiful riverside settlement on the River Dart

GABY WAKLEY Property Manager, Helpful Holidays When asked what she does in her spare time, Gaby explains, “We gad about the West Country doing lots of different things, usually with Buster, our dog, in tow”. Gaby spends most of her working week whizzing around the region looking at properties, but this doesn’t diminish her enthusiasm for exploring in her spare time. “We enjoy lots of walking on the moor and some cycling, too.” Gaby was born in Shaldon in south Devon and now lives in Sticklepath, “a really lovely community” on the edge of north Dartmoor, and has worked for

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“We love to walk the Coast Path in the South Hams”, says Gaby, “when we visit Dad in South Pool. The highlight of visiting Grandad for Aggie and Freya is to eat at Gara Rock in East Portlemouth, an amazing place with spectacular views, and the most lovely walk down to the beach below where you can swim.”

Helpful Holidays, with just a brief break, for over 18 years. She lives with her husband, their daughters, Aggie and Freya, and a badly behaved black lab Buster who has a passion for eating socks.

An amazing place with spectacular views, and the most lovely walk down to the beach below where you can swim.

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North Devon

G ara Rock

AMANDA STOCKS Senior Booking Advisor, Helpful Holidays

She loves living at the edge of Dartmoor and so does her 18-month old son: “Arnold loves open spaces, puddles and rock climbing so when we take him up to the tors of Dartmoor then he’s in heaven. We’re very lucky because it’s all on our doorstep.” “What we like most about living here”, she explains, “is that you can go from one extreme to the other. You can visit

the most isolated beach on the rugged north Devon coast and take the dogs (two Staffordshire bull terriers called Bruce and Moo) for a run, or find a sociable waterside location such as Teignmouth or Shaldon where there are lots of people. That’s the beauty of Devon – you have such versatility.” “I also like to be where the food is”, continues Amanda, “so we do an energetic walk along the Coast Path and dip our toes in the sea and then round it all off with a Sunday roast.”

Amanda lives in Chagford and has what we all dream of - a five-minute walk to work. Originally from Hertfordshire, she’s been in Devon for nearly 20 years.

That’s the beauty of Devon - you have such versatility. .

n r ow he you e t in t a s Cre ent ’ve m o , we m help cial ter e o p T . s win t fun Wes e h t som Sou ted s. ges vite sug acti

E PAG SEE 6 – –1

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WHAT'S On EVENT GUIDE SEASON AND OPENING TIMES Subject to change. Please check the website

Powderham Castle, gardens and deer park are open to visitors from Friday 27th March 2015. Currently, the opening times are 11am to 4.30pm and 11am to 5.30pm (20th July to 29th August). The first guided tour is at 11.15am, running at regular intervals thereafter, with the last tour an hour before closing.


Toby Buckland’s annual Garden Festival at Powderham Castle, Devon, is fast becoming recognised as one of the most important events of its kind in the South West, attracting celebrity gardening experts and providing an annual rendezvous for enthusiastic gardeners and awardwinning regional nurseries. In 2015 the festival on 1st and 2nd May will be a bigger event with the same mix of some of the country’s best plant specialists, plus gardening, craft and equipment stalls, entertainment and high quality local food producers.


Let’s Rock Exeter! brings the very best of the 80s back to Devon on Saturday 4th July 2015. The line-up for the star studded festival includes: Thompson Twins, Tom Bailey, Billy Ocean, Bananarama, ABC, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, Go West, Five Star, Nick Heyward, Nik Kershaw, The Real Thing, Altered Images, Brother Beyond, plus Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers.


Now in its third year, the Powderham Food Festival has become an established event on the Devon ‘foodie calendar’, attracting visitors from far and wide. With over 100 producers exhibiting in the castle and grounds, fascinating demonstrations and talks and tastings, each year this fun-filled and exciting festival just gets better and better.


Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm; Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Located in the centre of Powderham Country Store is Toby Buckland’s Plant Centre, offering a boutique collection of seasonal bedding and herbs, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and roses and locally-grown cut flowers. It also offers a small range of tools, seeds and gardening gifts. Much of the stock is raised on Toby’s nursery (not open to the public) on the Powderham Castle estate or is sourced in the West Country.

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For great our , check y discounts E DO SHALL W E T A H ‘W ?’ GUID TODAY

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Powderha m

POWDERHAM Powderham Castle is located in a picturesque setting just outside Exeter on the Exe estuary. Six hundred years of history are contained within the walls of one of England’s oldest family homes. Sir Philip Courtenay began building it in 1391 and it has remained in the same family to this day, currently home to the 18th Earl and Countess of Devon. The magical setting and convenient location make it a fantastic venue and a wonderful family day out with its deer park, walled garden play area and pets corner. For visitors to Devon, this has certainly become a ‘must see’.

THE POWDERHAM FOOD FESTIVAL With the 2015 date now set to October 3rd, we are once again anticipating an exciting day of food, fun and family festivities.


The 2014 event was based heavily around the theme of fire. Think succulent barbecued meat, hot chestnuts, slow-cooked pulled pork, roasted pumpkins, fish baked in corn husks, clams scattered onto hot coals, sizzling mussels, ravishing ribs. Outdoor cooking over traditional fire, all served up in the beautiful surroundings of Powderham Castle. From fire-pits to charcoal filled wheelbarrows, via flaming tandoori ovens, the festival

provided a bonanza of barbecued and chargrilled meats including venison from Powderham parkland, fish and shellfish from the Exe estuary and superb grass fed Devon beef and pork from Pipers Farm. Fantastic West Country food is very much a part of our guests’ selfcatering holidays, so we’re sponsoring the festival again in 2015, making it four years in a row. We’re looking forward to sampling some of the delicious local food, all washed down with fantastic West Country ales and cider, partaking in some family fun, listening to the wonderful live music in two venues and hopefully getting the opportunity to meet some of you.

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What’s on?

Cornwall has activities and attractions aplenty to keep you entertained, whether you snatch a short break to relax and revitalise or bring the family for an annual treat of fun and long, leisurely days. The county is rich in marvellously diverse festivals and cultural celebrations, from ancient May Day festivities and historic fishing village traditions, to surf culture, sea shanties and theatre under the unpolluted starlit sky. So whenever you choose to enjoy a holiday in Cornwall, there’s sure to be something going on - just leave your troubles at home and come and join the revelry!

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MAIN IMAGE Polo On The Beach at Watergate Bay

Falmouth oyster harvesting Helston Flora D


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APRIL 2015

MARCH 2015




Jan 1 – 3 Mousehole Christmas Lights, Mousehole

MAY 2015

Miracle Theatre presents Dr Livingstone I Presume (touring)

Jan 1 – 11

Winter Wonderland at Retallack Resort, Tremayne

Jan 1 – Mar 1

Ice Skating at The Eden Project, St Austell

Jan 1 – 25

Kurt Jackson: Line Caught and Local, National Maritime Museum

Jan 30

It’s Summer Somewhere BBQ, Watergate Bay

Jan 1 – 30

Sleeping Giants Exhibition, Redruth

Jan 31 The Steampunk Faery Ball, Penzance

Feb 7

Cinema by The Sea, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Looe

Feb 9

St Ives Feast and Hurling the Silver Ball

Feb 11

The History of Telegraphy in Cornwall, Portscatho

Feb 16 – 20

Pirates and Smugglers, Pendennis Castle, Falmouth

Mar 5

St Piran’s Day, throughout Cornwall

Mar 12 – 29

Falmouth Spring Festival, Falmouth

Mar 14

Fifteen Cornwall’s Spring Farmers’ Market, Watergate Bay

Apr 3 – 6 Trereife Easter Food and Craft Fair, Penzance Apr 4 – 12

St Endellion Easter Music Festival

Apr 10 – 12

Outsid’er Festival, St Agnes

Apr 11 – 12 Charity Garden Open Weekend, Tregothnan

May 1 – 4 Art8 - Newquay Arts and Culture Festival May 2 – 3 Cornwall Home and Lifestyle Show, Wadebridge May 4 St Ives May Day May 4 Black Prince Flower Boat May Day Procession, Torpoint May 8

June 4 – 6

JUNE 2015

Jan 1 - Feb 12

Feb 22 East Cornwall Hunt Point to Point, Liskeard Feb 28

World Pasty Championships, The Eden Project, St Austell

Feb 28

European Union Chamber Orchestra, Truro

Mar 27 – 29

Oyster Gathering and Seafood Harvest, Falmouth

Mar 28 Goodall’s Eternal Light, Truro Cathedral Mar 28 – 29 Cornwall Spring Flower Show, Lostwithiel

Apr 18 – 25

Boscastle Walking Week

Apr 18 – 25

Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival (touring)

Apr 25

Trevithick Day, Camborne

Apr 25

Porthleven Food Festival

May 9 – 16 Fowey Festival of Words and Music May 9 – 16

St Ives Literature Festival

May 17

Lostfest, Lostwithiel

May 22 – 25

Bude and Stratton Folk Festival

May 22 – 31

Fal River Festival, Falmouth

June 26 – 28

Polo On The Beach, Watergate Bay

June 27 – 28

Saltash Regatta

Helston Flora Day

Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge

June 12 – 14 Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival June 12 – 14 Charles Causley Festival, Launceston June 13

Murdoch Day, Redruth

June 26 – 28

Golowan Festival, Penzance

June 28 West Cornwall Motor Show, Underlane June 28 – Jul 4

Mevagissey Feast Week

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What’s on?

MAIN IMAGE Stride out with the North Devon Walking Festival

There’s even more to Devon than the pleasures of clotted cream, fresh crab sandwiches on the beach and cider on the quayside; it’s a salty surfing lesson, camping wild on rugged Dartmoor and driving at leisure down country lanes with green fields rolling on both sides. While you can step back in time to explore ancient cities and discover seafaring characters like Drake, as well as settings for novels by Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle, today Devon hosts everything from food festivals to literature celebrations and sailing regattas.

Exeter Food and Drink Festival

Brixham Pirate

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Jan 1 – 14

‘Tales From Beyond a Tangled Wood’ Exhibition, RHS Rosemoor

Jan 1 – 21

Art and Soul: Victorians and the Gothics Exhibition, Exeter Museum

Jan 1 – Mar 2 Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Plymouth

Feb 4 – 8 Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival, Exeter Feb 5 Gothic Revival Tour, Exeter Cathedral Feb 14 – 22

MARCH 2015 MAY 2015

Jan 18 Bird watching on the Exe Estuary with Ruby Cole of the National Trust, Exmouth Jan 29

Craft 4 Crafters Exhibition, Exeter

Jan 31 Antiques Fair, Newton Abbot Racecourse

Feb 14 – 22

Fabulous February Fun, Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton

Feb 14 – Mar 22 The F Word: the changing landscape of fashion, Killerton Feb 17

Scarecrow Spectacular, Parke, near Bovey Tracey

Dartmouth Comedy Festival

Mar 7 – 8 Star Trek Exmoor Charity Night Walks, Ilfracombe Mar 13 – 28

Exeter Vibraphonic Music Festival

Mar 20

Big beach clean, Sandymouth, near Bude

Mar 20 – 22

Exeter Open Studios

Apr 1 – 9

Easter Fun at Compton Castle

Apr 3 – 4

Mar 21

Rock Solid Race, Escot, Ottery St Mary

Mar 28 – Apr 6

Fantastic Fudge Hunt, Clovelly

Mar 28 – Apr 6

Cadbury’s Family Easter Egg Trail, Lydford Gorge

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Trail on the beach, South Milton Sands

Apr 16 – 18

Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival, Newton Abbot

Apr 3 – 6 Mr Finch’s Tool Trail, Finch Foundry, Sticklepath

Apr 17 – 19

Crediton Folk Weekend

Apr 17 – 19

Budleigh Salterton Jazz Festival

Apr 7

Apr 24 – 26

Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink

Crafty Castle Capers, Castle Drogo

Apr 11 Classic Cars, Finch Foundry, Sticklepath May 1 – 2 Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival, Powderham Castle (see page 68) May 2 – 4 Brixham Pirate Festival May 2 – 10 North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival May 3 International Worm Charming Festival, Blackawton May 15 – 17 Dart Music Festival, Dartmouth

JUNE 2015

Devon Nature Walks Workshops, various locations

Feb 18 – April 10 Ranger days (5 dates only), Arlington Court, near Barnstaple Mar 5 – 8

APRIL 2015

Exeter Dance Festival

Jan 4 – 6

May 21 – 23 Devon County Show, Exeter May 22 – 24 Ashburton Blues Festival May 22 – 25 Hunting of the Earl of Rone, Combe Martin May 23 – 24 Brixham Heritage Sailing Regatta May 23 – 25 Brixfest, Brixham May 23 – 25 Clovelly Celebration of Local Ales

June 5 – 7

Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

June 19 – 21

Teignmouth Folk Festival

June 6 – 14

Ilfracombe Victorian Celebrations

June 19 – 21

Goldcoast Oceanfest, Croyde

June 14

Seaweed Festival, Clovelly

June 20

Brixham Trawler Race

June 18 – 21

Shaldon Music Festival

June 21

Dartmoor Classic Cyclosportive

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What’s on?

MAIN IMAGE Bridport Food Festival

Set in the very heart of the West Country, Dorset and Somerset are stunning holiday destinations with varied landscape featuring broad elevated chalk downs, steep limestone ridges and low-lying clay valleys. Much of these two counties are designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with World Heritage coastlines and ancient woodlands dotted with historic towns and villages.To help with your planning, here are some of our favourite events from across Somerset and Dorset.

Wimborne Folk


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MAY 2015

APRIL 2015

MARCH 2015




Jan 10

Deane Big Band, Taunton

Jan 1

Lyme Lunge Swim, Lyme Regis

Jan 11 – 17

Beauty and the Beast Panto, Taunton

Jan 24

Living Willow Sculpture Day, Stoke St Gregory

Jan 1 – 3

Winter Café On Board Tall Ship Pelican, Weymouth

Jan 27

Museum of Somerset Object Handling, Taunton

Jan 31

Pro Wrestling, Weston-super-Mare

Feb 1 – 2 Vintage Tractor Show, Shepton Mallet

Jan 1 – 5 Christmas Dinosaur Hunt, Dorchester Jan 1, 10

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra New Year Johann Strauss Gala, Poole

Jan 11

Bird Walk, Durlston Castle

Feb 7

Let’s Dance Show, Weymouth

Feb 8

Bird Walk, Durlston Castle

Feb 1 – 28

Snowdrop Weekends, Forde Abbey

Feb 14 – 22

Snowdrop Festival, Shaftesbury

Feb 1 – 28

Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross

Feb 16 – Mar 1

Purbeck Literary Festival

Feb 22

Somerset Potato Day, Castle Cary

Feb 21

Food and Craft Fayre, Bournemouth

Feb 22

Purbeck’s Mini Beasts, Durlston Castle

Feb 28

Seed Fair, Shaftesbury

Feb 27 – Mar 8 Bath Literature Festival Feb 28

Artisan Soft Cheese Making Course, South Petherton

Mar 1

Forde Abbey Plant Fair

Mar 1 – 9

Crocus Week, Forde Abbey

Mar 5 – 8

Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival

Mar 13 Murder on the Pier, Weston super-Mare Mar 26 – 29

Spring Steam Gala, West Somerset Railway

Mar 1 Wind in the Willows, Sturminster Newton Mar 1

Swanage Beach Clean,

Mar 14

Dorset’s Women’s Day, Dorchester

Mar 20

Bridge Over Troubled Lager, Sturminster Newton

Mar 20

Evening of Burlesque, Bournemouth

Mar 27 – Apr 6 Bath Comedy Festival

Mar 28 – Apr 19 Great Easter Dinosaur Egg Hunt, Dorchester

Apr 1 – Oct 31 Dunster Castle Express, West Somerset Railway

Apr 8 Wildlife Wander with Widget, Swanage

Apr 3 – 4

Vegetable Days, East Pennard

Apr 8 – 12

Apr 3 – 6

Easter Egg Trail, Barrington Court

Apr 11 Spring Greens Foraging Walk, Swanage

Apr 10 – 11 Yandles Woodworking Spring Show, Martock Apr 12

Spring on the Farm, Chard

Film Festival, Bridport

Apr 12

Walk for Wildlife, Langton Matravers

Apr 18

Weldmar’s Colour Run, Weymouth

Apr 23 – 26 Creative Crafts Show, Shepton Mallet

Apr 23 Access All Areas, The Tank Museum, Bovington

May 2 Stars of Time Sci-Fi and Movie Extravaganza, Helicopter Museum, Weston-super-Mare

May 1 – 3

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

May 3

Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival, Dorchester

May 3

May Day Fête, Lyme Regis

May 9 – 10

Christchurch Food and Wine Festival

May 9 – 10

Ropewalk Fayre, Bridport

May 21

Willow Workshop, Corfe Mullen

May 22 – 24

Bournemouth 7s Festival

June 6 – 7

Open Gardens, Netherbury

May 2 – 10 North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival May 10 Swedish Day, Crewkerne May 16 WWII Hangar Dance, Helicopter Museum, Weston-super-Mare May 27 – 30

JUNE 2015


Royal Bath and West Show

June 5 – 7

Home Farm Music Festival, Chilthorne Domer

June 11 – 14

Ilminster Midsummer Experience

June 7 Dorset Smuggler Cyclosportive, Weymouth

June 13

Crafts Fair, Lytes Cary Manor

June 12 – 14

Wimborne Minster Folk Festival

Green Scythe Fair, Thorney Lakes

June 13

Bridport Food Festival

June 19 – 21 Nunney International Horse Trials, Frome

June 13

Christchurch Regatta

June 21

Race to the Bill Triathlon, Portland

June 21 – 22

Open Gardens, Cerne Abbas

June 14

June 21

Jazz on the Lawn, Barrington Court

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n w o d r e k n u H

The cosy pub guide

When it’s cold outside, there are few things that beat hunkering down in a cosy pub. Listening to the wind and rain as it beats on the window or the sound of waves breaking against a harbour wall while you settle beside a roaring open fire is both comforting and very English. To make the most of a holiday in the South West, here are just a few of our favourite pubs and inns - perfect to while away an hour or three.


on ancient floorboards or flagstones.


This is a truly Cornish pub built into the rocks at the seaward entrance to Porthleven, one of the most southerly ports in England.

The pub has a bustling and cheerful atmosphere enjoyed by locals and visitors (many with their dogs), with wonderful homemade, locally sourced food and a selection of fine real ales.

Although not the easiest pub to find in Cornwall, a drive over to Treen near Zennor is well worth the trip if your end goal is to settle for an afternoon in a fine pub.

Here you can really soak up the atmosphere of bygone days, and if you arrive early enough you can grab yourself a window seat in the bar and look out across the sea as the waves roll into the harbour. Settling down for an evening in The Ship Inn, you’ll find warming open fires set in stone fireplaces, cushioned settles and mates’ chairs

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Wintertime can be spectacular here, with the weather throwing all it can at the pub, but whilst it’s easy to focus on the stunning views through the windows, do take a moment to cast your eyes up where you’ll find a ceiling covered in banknotes and beermats.

The coastline here is magical and the walk along the coast to St Ives (if the weather is fine) is hard to beat. The Gurnard’s Head is earthy, warm, stylish and friendly, with colourwashed walls, stripped floors and warming fires at both ends of the bar. You’ll find logs piled up, maps and art hanging on the walls,

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COTTAGES nearby... TREGWYNNE: Z41 In Rinsey, a pretty hamlet of cottages at the end of a lane leading to the Coast Path, is this semi-detached cottage for 4, with long views across farmland to the sea and along the coast. Cosy, with a woodburner in an inglenook fireplace, this holiday home is a welcoming and comfortable cottage for both walkers and surfers.


ROSEMERGY: Z48 In a tiny cluster of dwellings, wonderfully off the beaten track between Penzance and St Ives, is this generously sized detached house for 7. With lovely long views to the sea over surrounding gorse meadows, this rambling house makes a fantastic rural retreat, perfect for walking and family get-togethers.

NEAR TREEN MAIN IMAGE The Ship Inn on Porthleven harbour

INSET TOP The Gurnard’s Head in Treen, near St Ives INSET BOTTOM The popular Royal Oak at Perranwell Station

while books fill every shelf. If you do decide to pick one up but don’t have the time to finish it, you can simply take it home and post it back. Lunch at The Gurnard’s Head can be as fleeting or as leisurely a visit as you like. They have menus to suit all, from the walker seeking refuelling to the serious luncher looking to settle in with a carafe of wine or two. They run a short, fresh and seasonal menu that changes every day according to what’s brought to their back door. In winter you might get fish soup with rouille or in summer, a ceviche of sea bass alongside foraged leaf salads. Whatever you decide on, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it.

THE ROYAL OAK The Royal Oak can be found almost half-way between Truro and Falmouth in the village of Perranwell Station. The village is steeped in farming tradition and surrounded by wooded valleys and fields. The hub of the village, warm and friendly to all, this is a small traditional pub surrounded by wonderful walks and cycle paths in attractive countryside. There’s a really relaxed atmosphere here with traditional horsebrasses on black beams and paintings by local artists on the walls, and a big stone fireplace and a snug.

If a good local ale is your tipple, you’ll be well pleased with St Austell Tribute, Sharp’s Doom Bar, Skinner’s Betty Stogs and a guest ale on handpump, as well as good wines by the glass and farm cider. The food menu presents a fabulous variety of both traditional and novel dishes, such as scallops and chorizo, battered fish and chips and juicy steaks. Look out for the catch-of-theday fish and the excellent venison steak on the specials list; whenever the latter makes a guest appearance it absolutely flies out. It’s recommended you make a reservation as this cosy pub is very popular with locals and visitors.

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Pub Finder

The Ship Inn: Porthleven, Cornwall, TR13 9JS www.theshipinncornw The Gurnard’s Head: Treen, near St Ives, Co rnwall, TR26 3DE uk The Royal Oak: Perranwell Station, Co rnwall, TR3 7PX www.theroyaloakperra The Rock Inn: Georgeham, Devon, EX33 1JW www.therockgeorgeham The Royal Inn: Horsebridge, Devon, PL19 8PJ The Royal Oak Inn: Luxborough, Somerse t, TA23 0SH www.theroyaloakinnlu

THE ROCK INN While this pub in Georgeham on the north Devon coast has a particular emphasis on good food, you’ll find that if you just pop in for a drink you’ll feel very much at home too. The large heavy beamed bar is divided in two by a step, with the higher area furnished with halfplanked walls, a woodburning stove in a stone fireplace and captains’ chairs around wooden tables on quarry tiles. The lower area, just right for poring over the papers, with its panelled wall seats, cosy settles and old local photographs leads off to a red-carpeted dining room with black and white photographs of north Devon folk. This 17th century inn boasts an extensive wine list and fantastic fresh food cooked with passion and flair, served in either of their cosy fireside bars or conservatory.

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The food is made using the best local produce and is cooked to order by the team, so expect good food, not fast food. They try and keep five Cask Marque real ales on all year round, with the usual favourites available, such as Tribute by St Austell Brewery, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. They also regularly stock Otter beers from Devon and Exmoor Ales’ varieties, as well as occasionally offering Wizard beers from Ilfracombe and Barum beers from Barnstaple, not to mention a fair selection of lovely local ciders.

THE ROYAL INN The 15th century Royal Inn, on the Tamar Trail in the beautiful Tamar valley just over the border from Cornwall, was once a nunnery and stands near ancient Horsebridge, built over the river Tamar in 1437 by French Benedictine monks.

Charles I is reputed to have visited the pub during the Civil War and left his seal in the granite step ‘for services rendered’. As you enter the inn through its Devon porch, look for the seal leaded into the step beneath your feet. With features including half panelling and stone floors, there’s a romantic and traditional feel to this pub that harks back to yesteryear. The Royal Inn certainly offers a kingly welcome with beamed ceilings and open log fires and a selection of real ales. Offering home-cooked cuisine, lovingly prepared using locally sourced produce, the traditional roast lunch on Sunday is the perfect end to a long walk in the Devon countryside. And don’t worry if you’re accompanied by your dog, you’ll find they’re more than welcome here in this lovely rural gem.

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COTTAGES nearby ANCARVA COTTAGE: S208 In the country lanes between Truro and Falmouth, close to the coast-to-coast cycle path, is this semi-detached cottage for 4, with its own ‘secret’ garden by a stream. Close to sailing and good golf, and only 5 miles from sandy beaches and Trelissick Garden, this is an unspoilt, cosy little cottage in a pretty setting.


BEACHWALK: K40 Tucked away on a private no through road, just 500 yards by footpath from the magnificent sandy beach at Croyde, is this smart, spacious and beautifully presented, detached seaside home for 10. Big rooms, which are full of light with gleaming, fresh white décor and contemporary furnishings, make this a stylish yet relaxed place to stay.



THE ROYAL OAK INN MAIN IMAGE Many pubs in the South West serve a good variety of local ales INSET TOP LEFT The Rock Inn at Georgeham INSET BOTTOM LEFT The 15th century Royal Inn at Horsebridge INSET TOP RIGHT The Royal Oak Inn set deep in Exmoor National Park INSET BOTTOM RIGHT Tarr Steps in Exmoor National Park, home to The Royal Oak Inn

Hidden on Exmoor you’ll find this atmospheric, cosy inn with a log fire, plenty of locals, dogs, good food and a selection of local beers. Set in the lovely village of Luxborough, the inn has been part of this picturesque landscape since the 14th century. Inside, the building boasts original flagstone and cobblestone flooring coupled with stone walls and open beams which give the bar wonderful character. The quaint, atmospheric main bar will keep you toasty with a huge inglenook fireplace, while the back bar with its tile, cobblestone and slate flooring is perfect for families to relax in, with a pool table and an assortment of bar games available behind the bar. This is a superb, utterly authentic Somerset pub where the food is simple but excellent, and where those who want just a pint are every bit as welcome as those who wish to eat.

Only half a mile from The Royal Inn in Horsebridge, at the far end of a no through farm lane, stands a very handsome, large, detached, Georgian/ Victorian farmhouse for 8. Recently renovated by craftsmen and refurbished by an artist, this exceptional house is a superb, totally private, tranquil home surrounded by lush, wooded farmland.


EAST THORNEY COTTAGE: F8 Just a mile from Luxborough village with its 14th century pub is this pretty and very private, semi-detached, 18th century cottage for 6. This is a lovely setting on the banks of a stream that runs into the Washford River, a very tranquil place for people seeking peace and relaxation.


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Morpurgo In conversation with

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MAIN IMAGE The Isles of Scilly, where Michael finds much of his inspiration

Mandy Milano chats to renowned children’s author Michael Morpurgo as his new book, Listen to the Moon, is released. Michael Morpurgo has lived in Devon for many years and found inspiration there for his numerous successful children’s stories. In his latest book, he journeys to the Isles of Scilly, a place he loves, for a tale of adventure and drama set in wartime. The author describes himself as a daydreamer, explaining that writing is his hobby, as well as his work. “I want to be enthusiastic about it,” he tells me. “I don’t just mean the actual writing, but the thinking and daydreaming about an idea. I need room for my imagination to breathe and wonder.” At home, he does this in a garden with a Japanese style tearoom.

“Here, I can retreat, watch the birds and daydream,” he says. “It’s why we love the Isles of Scilly and often visit Cornwall – for the space, tranquillity and quiet. It’s about pootling around really!” The process of writing involves plenty of thinking. The author talks to his wife Clare about the story as part of the development process. “For instance, I was a bit stuck in the new book as to why the German submarine would put a child onto a beach on the Scillies,” he says. “Clare

reminded me of the sinking of the German ship, The Schiller, and that the German government had been so impressed with the way the Scillonians had treated the dead, that they sent out orders that no bombing or attack of the islands should take place in recognition of the kindness of the islanders.

“I want to be enthusiastic about it,” he tells me. “I don’t just mean the actual writing, but the thinking and daydreaming about an idea.” 81

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So talking it out really works for me, but the greater part is daydreaming – dreaming the dream of the story. It’s the writing down of it I always find hard!” Michael then talks about his inspiration for Listen to the Moon.

Second World War had a purpose – to be rid of Hitler – but the First World War was different; it seemed pointless in many ways.” Michael is influenced by the war poets too, absorbing the poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried

We knew people who were wounded or didn’t come home, and my mother left my father during the war, so it is a part of me. “When my wife was little she had chickenpox and was confined to the house to recover. As she got better she quickly got bored so went off exploring round the house, looking into everything, and found an old military looking medal at the back of a drawer and was fascinated with it. “On one side was a picture of the ship the Lusitania, and on the other queues of people getting their tickets for the Cunard ship. That medal just kept turning up in our house and I began to think about the passengers, who they might have been and what happened to them.” I ask Michael why it is that the First World War and animals are such a regular theme in his books. He explains that as a child of the Second World War, its effects were all around him, including bombsites: “We knew people who were wounded or didn’t come home, and my mother left my father during the war, so it is a part of me. I think we can all see that the

Sassoon. When Michael and Clare moved to Devon, he met three local men in the pub who had all lived through the First World War. “One had fought in the war, one had worked with the horses in the war, and one had stayed at home working the land and had seen the boys and the horses leave for war and not come back. They talked and talked to me about their experiences. One million horses went to war in WW1 and 65,000 came back, hence War Horse, and yes, Peg the rather cantankerous horse in the new book is part of the healing process.” He’s now back to pootling around, observing people with animals. “The effect children have on horses – the horses seem to visibly relax; old soldiers and their love of horses; old people and their dogs. It can be a wonderful, mutually beneficial relationship. And young people love animals – they tell them all their hopes and dreams.”


Our nom for in Chil 2015 is ated ch dren a F , fou arms fo rity nde r Cit and d y b his w y ife C Michae lare FIN l


What did you read as a child?

“I didn’t read much as a small child, but I loved being read to. My mother was an actress and read Rudyard Kipling stories beautifully to me. Then I started reading Enid Blyton - they were quick and they weren’t allowed! But Treasure Island is the first book I remember properly - the complexity of the characters and landscape. Now I read biographies and poetry, not fiction.”

What inspires you?

“It’s the truth for me, not creating a complete fantasy world. We do need the magical worlds of Philip Pullman or JK Rowling. But I work with memories - mine and other people's.”

Which is your favourite book?

“My books are all precious to me, like my children. But I guess I like the books people I love really like: my wife loves War Horse, so I love it. But Listen to the Moon is fresh in my head right now and my wife thinks it may be as good as War Horse!”

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