During the summer months, one of the nicest places to swim in Devon is Chagford’s Open Air Swimming Pool, on Dartmoor.Continue reading “Chagford Open Air Swimming Pool”
#30DaysWild no 12. Ian’s wild moment today was a fell run across the north moor above Meldon reservoir, Dartmoor.Continue reading “Skylarks, a Dartmoor run and a day out from Wheatland Farm”
Our wildish act today for #30DaysWild no. 2 was to paddle the Exeter Ship Canal, hiring a Canadian style canoe from Kayak Hub at the canal basin.Continue reading “Paddle the Exeter Canal”
#30DaysWild 15: Ian went running, starting from the eco lodges and heading down into Hollocombe. He has mapped out a simple 6km route with a section through the woods along a bridle path. Going down the road into Hollocombe and back up again gives it a bit of a gradient in it, but maybe that’s an excuse to have a bit of a walk…Continue reading “#30DaysWild 15: A Local 6km Run”
Today’s Random Act of Wildness was to take time off to kayak the Exe Estuary. And since it’s a fun thing to do if you’re staying at Wheatland Farm this summer, here’s a bit more information.Continue reading “#30DaysWild 9. Explore the Exe Estuary by Boat”
After all that Christmas cheer it’s time to take in a bit of late afternoon sun and stretch our legs on Dartmoor.Continue reading “Stretching our legs on Dartmoor”
Devon’s RHS Rosemoor, 11 miles from Wheatland Farm, usually has as winter sculpture exhibition, running until the end of January.Continue reading “Rosemoor’s Winter Sculpture Exhibition”
Rain or shine (well, you’re going to get wet anyway…) the inflatables or wake boarding at the North Devon Wake Park are great fun for kids and adults.Continue reading “Make a Splash at the North Devon Wake Park”
People quite often ask us where they can go running from Wheatland Farm. Well, there’s round the fields on the mown paths of course. But if you want a 5km run along Devon lanes, this is it. We thought we’d put it up for #NaturallyHealthyMonth 2019.Continue reading “Wheatland Farm 5km Running Route”
Exeter’s Haldon Forest Park makes a great day out for all. Those with lots of energy can go mountain biking on a good number of graded trails. For the less active there’s the butterfly walk (part of the Forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its wildlife), the cafe, or even Segways to hire! Continue reading “Mountain biking at Haldon Forest”
Belstone Tor, just outside the Dartmoor village of Belstone, is one of the easiest Tors to ‘bag’. It’ll give you feel for the wild nature of Northern Dartmoor. OK, it’s not often snowy, as it is in this image, but it’s fabulous at any time of year, and in clear weather you get an amazing view of North Devon. If you’ve got binoculars with you you might pick out the turbine at Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges. Continue reading “Belstone Tor: A Taste Of The Wild North Moor”
Fingle Bridge woods makes a lovely walk with a great pub for lunch or a snack. It’s about 19 miles from the eco lodges and combines well with Castle Drogo. In fact, the National Trust’s Castle Drogo land goes all the way to Fingle Bridge, and meets up with Woodland Trust land. It’s now under joint management. Continue reading “A walk at Fingle Bridge”
Black a Tor Copse and Black Tor make a lovely Dartmoor walk at any time of year. You can start at Meldon Reservoir (16 miles from Wheatland Farm’s eco lodges) and go up to High Willhays and Yes Tor first, then cross to the West Okement valley. Or you can walk along Meldon Reservoir and up the river. Either way, the navigation is easy and you get a good taste of the wild north moor. Take a compass and map though, just in case.Continue reading “Meldon Reservoir to Black A Tor Copse National Nature Reserve and Black Tor”
Draughts and chess in the lodge field! (April through to the end of October, then in the Party Shed). The draughts, made out of sliced-up branches, will be in a box under the board but the chess pieces will be in the Party Shed in the lodge field. Feel free to borrow them, but please return the chess set after use. (That way hard to replace pieces are less likely to get lost in the long grass.) Continue reading “Outdoor chess”
Even on a grey day you can’t beat a Hocking’s Ice Cream! Made in Appledore, they are an integral part of a Devon holiday. There are almost always vans on the Torrington Commons, on Bideford Quay (car park end) and at Northam Burrows Country Park, among many other places.
From spring to autumn you can go ‘small game hunting’ in our wildlife pond. Voyage out across the pond in the good ship Tender and collect armfuls of invasive Canadian pondweed, which Maggie or Ian will help you search for invertebrates (and the odd newt). Continue reading “Go small game hunting!”
We know we’ve got it right when you stay on the farm to have fun. The wildlife pond is perfect for a calm moment of reflection… or maybe you’d rather make a splash? In summer we usually have a boat or paddle board available for you to use – just ask for a quick induction first! Continue reading “Paddle the boat on the wildlife pond”
This post is mainly about another of our ‘big bike out’ videos – from Wheatland Farm to Sampford Courtney for lunch at the New Inn. But of course you could drive too – the New Inn is a lovely traditional Devon pub serving good food.Continue reading “Cycle to the New Inn, Sampford Courtney, for lunch”
Belstone Cleave, on the edge of Dartmoor, is beautiful even when it’s raining or cold. And unlike the moor itself, is sheltered from the worst of the wind. Belstone also boasts a welcoming pub serving 50 kinds of whiskeys – should you need re-warming after your walk.Continue reading “Belstone Cleave and the Tors Pub”
At Wheatland Farm eco lodges we have a sizeable and growing collection of ‘farm bikes’, which are all free for you to use on your holiday. We have kids’ and adults’ sizes. They’ve all been rescued from the local recycling centre and refurbished. So they may not be sparkly new, but they are serviceable and fun.Continue reading “Borrow a bike”
Climb the hill to Torrington and reward yourself with a coffee at the Plough Arts Centre or perhaps a cake from our favourite bakery, Sandford’s in the square.. Continue reading “Climb the hill to Torrington for tea and cakes”
Broomhill Sculpture Gardens is a great place for a bit of peace and quiet in beautiful and thought provoking surroundings, and a leisurely lunch. Continue reading “Broomhill sculpture gardens”
Here’s a day out for rain or shine. If it’s sunny, then all the better, but if it rains, well you’ll be wet anyway so it won’t matter. Right on the edge of Westward Ho!’s gigantic North Devon beach you’ll find the North Devon Surf School. Continue reading “North Devon Surf School”
Fancy a road biking challenge? If you’re inspired to get out on a bike here’s an idea: Wheatland Farm to Belstone, on the edge of Dartmoor, and back. Yes really, you could do it for lunch at the Tors Pub. Don’t be daunted! You can borrow our free farm bikes. Continue reading “Belstone and back by bike”
Volunteer Veronica arrived and left on her bike, and while she was here took a day out and did a full circuit from Wheatland Farm to Barnstaple and back. Bike to the station, Tarka Line to Barnstaple, Tarka Trail to Fremington, to Instow, to Bideford, to Puffing Billy at Torrington, on to East Yarde and then nearly to Meeth, and finally back on Devon country lanes to the farm. About 40 miles cycling in all, so suitable for fit adults! But we’ve also done it with an eleven year old, as a challenge. Continue reading “To Barnstaple and back by bike (and train)”
Here’s a lovely spot for a river-side picnic 6 miles from the cottage and lodges, at Bondleigh.
This little woodland is owned by the Woodland Trust, and as such has public access. That means you can wander off the path – indeed right down to the Taw – without worry. It’s a pretty small wood, but you could combine a picnic with a Bondleigh Walk too. There’s room to park (just) at the second gate (the Bondleigh end) some big trees, and a lovely peaceful atmosphere.
If you want something similar by even closer, try the Big Tree Walk at Haywood Wood, Eggesford, just 4 miles from us (and easier to get to by bike).
This circular Devon dog walk is fairly easy terrain, with wide paths and no styles. But it does have a couple of gates – and a couple of hills in it too, so you’ll get a bit of exercise!
You’ll start about 2 miles from the Wheatland Farm eco lodges and cottage. You can borrow a bike, or drive. Turn right out of our drive, and keep going until you get to the Methodist Chapel at Stable Green. Just opposite the chapel take a left, at right angles to the road, steeply downhill into Hollocombe – not the one that almost doubles back on you when you reach the chapel. Head down into Hollocombe and leave your bike or park opposite the house at the bottom of the valley and just before the stream. Take a lead because you may encounter livestock or tractors. OS Explorer map 127.
We set off through Hole Wood. It’s a bridle path, meaning it’s fairly wide and flat, though it can be muddy. You go through conifers, roughly following the stream – Hollocombe Water. When you get to some out buildings turn left, walk downhill and through the gate. There were pigs here! Great hairy things. I was on my guard, ready to warn everyone, but the kids didn’t seem concerned and even scratched the lazy beasts’ bellies through the fence. Hey – that’s my role isn’t it – lying around in the sun and being tickled on the tummy?
So anyway, swiftly on to the footbridge (for me) or the ford (for those who like to splash) and then a right turn and walk up the lane on the other side.
Don’t get side-tracked here by the diverted footpath sign looking like it wants to send you up a steep hill. Not that I mind hills but there are others coming… No, just stay on the lane, which is still a bridle path, and go through the farm buildings and on. Where the lane divides, ignore the track curving uphill and stay on the concrete driveway.
You’ll soon come to a hairpin turning, almost back on yourself that takes you down to the water again.
Enjoy the flowers in the hedgerow, but when you reach the footbridge watch out for rotten planks!
You’ll come across a pretty pink thatched cottage – turn right alongside it and follow the path that takes you up the hill. You walk through conifers first, then broadleaved woodland with speckled wood butterflies and dappled sunshine, and eventually come out at a gate. Pause for a pant if you like, then go through the gate, shutting it behind you and follow the edge of the field.
You come to the farm buildings at Redland and another pretty Devon thatched cottage. Walk with the farmhouse on your right, following the track through a gate and around the buildings until you get to the lane. This will take you back to the public road, but both are pretty much as quiet and grassy as each other. When you do get to the road turn right and head back, downhill, to where you started. It’s a steep and windy Devon lane, so be ready for cars but you probably won’t even get a sniff of one.
This Devon walk, good for dogs, adults and kids, starts at Speke Cross in Wembworthy, just a couple of miles from Wheatland Farm.
To get there:
Right out of the drive, right at the first cross roads (Tinker’s post), bear right at Lane End – a Thatched farmhouse. Carry on over and down the hill, and up into Wembworthy on the other side. Turn left through the village, until you see the playground on your left. Leave your bikes, or car, near the playground, then cross the road at the junction and follow the footpath sign towards Wembworthy Down.
You’ll go past the houses that front onto the road and along a lane until you get to a new barn on your left. Just past the barn the footpath has been redirected – take the kissing gate into the field and follow the signs. It’s a bit different from the OS map here, but clear enough.
When you go through a metal gate, and the path no-longer seems to go straight on, head downhill to the gate in the middle of the hedge at the bottom of the field. It seems to have lost it’s waymarker, but you can’t get too confused – there aren’t any other options!
Through the gate (don’t forget to shut it) turn left, along the field margin, heading towards another gate. On this one you can just glimpse the yellow waymarker badge.
Go through this gate and follow the hedge line. The field falls steeply away from you down into the valley.
Here there’s a stile into a steep corner field. The dogs (2 labradors and Muttley) managed to wriggle a way through. On our March walk there were daffodils flowering in the grass here – not the native ones though.
Follow the old hedgerow into the corner of the field where the stream is. Snow drops flower here early in the year. Look for hedgerow flowers and spring turns to summer.
You’re in amongst trees here, and it’s a good place to stop for a coffee – if you’re that way inclined! Watch out for woodland flowers – wood sorrel and wild garlic in spring. When you’re rested, follow the well-marked path to a stile into Stone Wood plantation – forestry commission land and therefore open access.
The path brings you out onto a forestry commission track. Turn right, downhill. You’ll soon come across a large wooden gate, which you go through.
You’re temporarily leaving open access forestry land and crossing farmland again. But the public footpath follows the river valley – to another gate.
Once back in the plantation the forestry track takes you uphill through conifers. Bear right when you meet the next track, roughly following the stream below you.
Just follow the track, keeping the stream closeby, and you’ll come across a stone bridge crossing the stream. Your path heads downhill to cross it.
As you start to head uphill after the bridge (and small gate), look to your right. In the field (and unfortunately off the public right of way), is the trunk of an enormous tree, now sadly toppled. It’s still an awesome sight though.
You walk uphill here through trees until you come to a gate in the corner of the field and near the main house. That gate takes you back onto the farm drive. The footpath now skirts the property, returning you past the the new barn seen at the start of your walk, to the start point.
This tag along bike will be available for loan to guests at Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges on an ‘ask us first’ basis. It should help younger families get out and about. Euan has already test driven it up to the farm shop for a cake! Continue reading “A reclaimed tagalong bike joins the fleet for our lodges and cottage”