Today I donned my photographers cap in pursuit of some sunny outdoor shots of our latest properties Motte and Bailey Cottage, located just outside the market town of Holsworthy in the pretty hamlet Newton St Petrocks. With blue skies and Autumn sunshine, I couldn’t have asked for better conditions.Motte and Bailey Cottages are a sister cottages, and the perfect choice if you are looking for a base to explore this lovely region. Offering the best of both worlds, the cottages are hidden away down a pretty country lane, and with just a few neighbouring cottages nearby, the setting is peaceful and relaxing, yet easy to access and deceptively close to the North Devon and Cornish coast.
Having captured a selection of outside images, I headed west towards the market town of Holsworthy, the nearest town and just 8 miles away. Holsworthy is literally on the edge of the Cornish and Devon border, and depending where you live in the surrounding area, will dictate if you are a Cornish or Devon resident. In the heart of what is known as Devon’s Ruby County, named after the Ruby Red Cattle, this area is renown for the fine local food and produce grown here. The farming heritage is celebrated every Wednesday when the town hosts its Pannier Market in Market Square for the local producers to sell their wares. As with all Devon markets the produce available is fresh, wholesome and seasonal and well worth sampling especially if you are on a self catering holiday. The Christmas market is definitely one not to miss as the atmosphere is festive and fun and the market carries on through into the evening and is supported by brass bands and other live musicians and is a lovely family fun-filled evening out.
Blackberry Farm Shop – a must visit especially if you have children
Just outside of the town you will find Blackberry Farm Shop. Open every day Blackberry farm is home to Mike, Lizzy and their three children and as a family they breed and show their pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle and a variety of breeds of sheep. Lizzy runs their award winning farm shop located in the village of Milton Damerel where the views of the surrounding countryside and towards Dartmoor are outstanding. If you visit the farm you can enjoy a tour of the farm – a real treat for children and an opportunity for them to learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. Its not intended as a commercial visitor attraction, many of the young animals are orphans and are being hand reared so might be a little nervous, but the experience is real and not manufactured as with many commercial paid for attractions. I would urge you to sample some of the home made produce in the tea room, the Devonshire cream teas are apparently well worth indulging in, and if you are looking for a souvenir of your stay in Devon there are some lovely home made jams and marmalades that make great gifts to take home.
The town of Holsworthy does have a good selection of shops most of them located around the town’s square. If you are looking to pick up a large weekly shop there is a good Sainsbury’s in the town.
Eating out in Holsworthy
Holsworthy has a good selection of pubs and tea rooms that pride themselves on serving local produce.
The Rydon Inn is located just outside the town and pride’s itself on using local suppliers and local produce. Owned by the Prouse family, the pub is a true family establishment. Dog friendly with a lovely garden overlooking the countryside, the Rydon Inn also welcomes families with young children.
Another lovely pub with a welcoming atmosphere is The Kings Arms, located in the town square. By all accounts the pub serves a fantastic steak and kidney pudding, and again the pub is dog friendly so will welcome your fourlegged friend can sit patiently at your feet, hoping that you might leave the odd crumb or two for them to enjoy also!
Places to visit
The Tamar Lakes Country Park is an outdoor centre for everyone including the dog to enjoy. Located near Kilkhampton the activity centre offers a whole host of water based fun filled activities from sailing, windsurfing and kayaking to pedalos and rowing boats. There is a circular walk around the lake and a cycle trail suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Once you have used up all your energy you can recharge with a snack from the Tamar cafe, that overlooks the lake. The cafe serves a selection of light meals and snacks throughout the day. The Tamar Lake is open Easter to October and prices vary on activity. Equipment hire starts from £11 for an hour.
The Gnome Reserve a little further away towards Bradworthy is a family run attraction and ideal for families with children. Set within 4 acres of reserve woodland, the garden is home to 1000 plus gnomes and pixies. Children will love it as they are free to roam and if you have a Gnome collector in the family – well say no more!
Days out at the beach
If you are on holiday near Holsworthy then you must discover the beaches of Bude – Summerleaze and Crooklets beach two vast expanses of soft sands & rockpools and just 10miles from Holsworthy over the Cornish border. Holsworthy has a distinctly agricultural and traditionally rural flavour, therefore you may be surprised at how close you are to the sea, sun and surfing resort of Bude, that has an entirely different feel. With beach wear, flipflops and surf boards on every corner Bude is definitely geared for fun in the sun or at least fun on the beach!
Back to my trip and although officially now in Autumn and my flipflops have been safely packed away for next spring, a barefoot walk across Summerleaze beach I felt was essential in this unexpected Autumn sunshine, as I was keen to discover one of Bude’s finest attractions the Bude Sea Water Pool.
Built in the 1930’s to offer save bathing to the towns folk, the pool is set at the base of the cliff, topped up daily by the local tide and overlooks the beach and straight out to sea. Again another must visit if you have water babies in the family, or even if you wish to simply enjoy a dip in its calm waters – there can be no better place to splash and bob about and enjoy the magnificent views across the sands. From October 1st the beaches are also dog friendly and so its a great location if you are a couple and want to bring the family pet for an off season break.
Having soaked up the calming surrounds of the sea water pool, I headed up the steps and back along the coast path to the perfectly placed ‘Life’s a Beach’ the beach cafe that overlooks Summerleaze beach.
With time slightly against me I was so disappointed that I didn’t have time for lunch especially when I witnessed some of the delicious feasts that were served in the glorious Autumn sunshine. I can honestly say even though I didn’t have the opportunity to sample the menu that day (I did over hear the couple on the next table gushing about their mouthwatering beef burger) Life’s a Beach cafe serves up super locally produced food and the location is simply fabulous. The cafe is open daily and most evenings and parking is easy just around the corner.
Heading back to collect my car – I spotted an ice cream parlour in the town and having dipped out on lunch I couldn’t resist trying the latest flavour ‘carrot cake’ icecream. Delicious and highly recommended!