More of a slightly chaotic treasure trove than a museum, this private collection of military equipment, about 15 miles from Wheatland Farm’s eco lodges, opens to the public. It focusses on the second world war and is dedicated to the memory of those who fought.
The collection ranges from military surplus tanks, guns, helmets, artillery, grenades, and bombs, to Home Front ration books, gas masks, ARP and Home Guard uniforms, and blackout lamps.
But there’s also some equipment from the Boer War, WW1, the Falklands, and even the First Gulf War, with kit from the British Army plus Canadian, American and Russian Forces.
This is real equipment that people used – the Sherman tank has genuine shell holes in it – all food for thought. The main collection is housed in 2 large hangers, so it’s good for a slightly rainy day. In the autumn and spring the collection opens on some weekends. Cobbaton Combat Collection is usually closed during the winter, and even with summer’s broader opening hours you might want to ring ahead on 01769 540740 or check out the Cobbaton Combat Collection facebook page to be sure they’ll be open.
The exhibits often get hired out for films and sets, and sometimes the owners are away at exhibitions or fairs – but get in touch via social media if you’re an enthusiast. There’s also a shop offering collectors’ items and memorabilia.
This Devon attraction has wheelchair access and facilities for disabled visitors.
Finding The Cobbaton Combat Collection
The collection is about 15 miles from Wheatland Farm, and this is one for independent rather than public transport. Car is going to be best. You could bike it, but there are some fairly substantial hills between Wheatland Farm and Chittlehampton, the village nearest the Combat Collection. Postcode is EX37 9RZ. Just watch out for the brown tourism ‘tank’ signs!
Other things to do nearby
The Bell Inn, Chittlehampton, is a nearby pub with a decent reputation. Or try the Grove Inn at Kings Nympton. If you want another child-friendly activity nearby, try the swimming pool at High Bullen Hotel, which has public opening hours.
Or you might care to make a bit of a triangular journey, and come back via Great Torrington, which has several things going on, including the Plough Arts Centre (nice cafe, often with an exhibition), the Dartington Glass Factory, another public swimming pool, good access to the Tarka Trail at the Puffing Billy tea room and cafe, and of course nearby RHS Rosemoor.