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Location & the surrounding area

Hole is located in the heart of rural Devon, surrounded by peaceful unspoilt farming countryside, and together with the barn which houses The Milking Parlour, is ring-fenced in the middle of our land providing complete peace and seclusion.

Sheep and cattle graze amongst the patchwork of small celtic fields in this area, surrounded by ancient hedgerows and old Devon banks. Whilst it does give you a feeling of 'getting away from it all', Hole is a great base from which to explore Devon and Cornwall, as it is centrally located for easy road access, and is not very far from anywhere in this part of the West Country.

This area is sometimes known as 'The Land Between the Moors' (Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin) or 'The Culm' because of its rich culm grassland, which is now becoming extremely rare (rarer even than the rainforest), and is host to a huge variety of wild English flowers including orchids, and very rare and beautiful butterflies. It is also known as Ruby Country, after the Ruby Red Devon cattle which are a unique, relatively small breed, indigenous to this area, which can still be seen in the local countryside. www.therubycountry.com provides more details of the local area, specialist food producers and crafts, walks and events, and with our Hole farm food packs, we endeavour to provide the very best of fresh, organic local produce for our guests.

This is an area sharing both an Atlantic influence as well as an ancient inheritance – once part of the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia, it became the boundary buffer area between Celtic Cornwall or 'Kernow' and Anglo-Saxon England. This was one of the last areas in Devon or 'Dewnans' to lose its Celtic language to the encroachment of English in the middle ages. 

There is a distinctive landscape here, and the area remains rich in its range of wildlife of all kinds - so much so that North Devon has recently been designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve

(There are only 482 such designations in the World, and this is the only one of its type in the UK. The Biosphere Reserve extends up the river basins of the Taw and Torridge, and the streams that tumble into the Atlantic Ocean and the Bristol Channel and the sea around Lundy. Essentially the area aims to become a centre of excellence for sustainable living and working, whilst retaining its unique characteristics and safeguarding its environment for future generations).

'Tarka Country' is also used to describe this area after Henry Williamsons’ famous book 'Tarka the Otter', which was based along the nearby river Torridge, and the Tarka Trail has been opened providing scenic walks and cycling along the Torridge valley.

We are situated about 1 mile from both the two small neighbouring villages of Black Torrington and Highampton, both of which have a pub, village shop/post office, church, chapel and primary school. The old market town of Hatherleigh is 5 miles away, where there is a lively and colourful livestock and flea market every Tuesday, regular auctions and a selection of old, picturesque pubs and small shops.  It is also home to the world famous flaming tar barrels run in November - thought to be some kind of link to a distant pagan festival. The BBC Springwatch series has been filmed nearby because of the great abundance of wildlife in this area. The national daily newspaper, 'The Independant's' Best Pub in Britain Award winner, 'The Duke of York' at Iddesleigh, is just a few miles away and we regularly conduct "research visits" there ourselves on behalf of our guests, nothing is too much for us! For beer lovers, the CAMRA Pub of the South West is not too far way either, The Tom Cobley at Spreyton, where an unbelievably wonderful wide selection of real ales are always served.....oh, my favourite kind of research.....

The small market town of Holsworthy is just 8 miles away (market on Wednesdays) where there is a larger selection of shops and a supermarket.  For fishing enthusiasts, this area has a fabulous reputation especially for Carp fishing, and nearby Highampton has its own trout lakes, Kingslake Fishing is nearby at Chilla and 'Anglers Eldorada' at Halwill Junction is just 3 miles away. Roadford Lake, which is a 730 acre lake and spectacular reservoir is just 10 miles away, where all kinds of watersports, fishing, birdwatching and walking and cycling is available, along with a visitors centre and cafe (which serves a good cream tea!).

 

Dartmoor is renowned for its spectacular scenery with its granite tors, heather-clad moorland and rushing streams and rivers and beautiful villages and small towns – a favourite place for outdoor pursuitists, walkers, yompers, horse riders, fishermen etc. For information on guided walks and events on dartmoor visit www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/visiting).

To the South East the town of Okehampton lies 12 miles away or 20 minutes approx by car, and is known as the 'Gateway to Dartmoor'. It is a busy town with a good selection of shops (including a Waitrose supermarket), a monthly farmer’s markets, an ancient Castle, and provides easy access onto the A30, and hence to the more distant Cathedral City of Exeter with it’s airport and M5 motorway, as well as Torbay, Plymouth and the South Devon coast. Travelling westwards on the A30 will take you to Launceston (pronounced "Lanson" by the locals), once the old capital of Cornwall, and then beyond through Bodmin Moor into Cornwall proper– (the world famous Eden Project is located near St Austell and is well worth a visit).

 

Turning North West, the rugged North Cornish Coast can be found, and the small seaside town of Bude is just 16 miles away or some 20-25 minutes approx. away by car.  Bude is renowned for its wide sandy beaches, its annual Jazz festival, its surfing at Widemouth Bay and access to walking along the South West National Trail Coastal Path. To the South West, Boscastle and Tintagel (the reputed birth place of King Arthur) are all within easy reach, and to the North East the beautiful North Devon coastline with the ancient ports of Bideford and Appledore, picture postcard Clovelly village, and rugged Hartland peninsula (from where day trips can be made to Lundy Island)

Other nearby attractions include the RHS gardens at Rosemoor at Great Torrington (www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor) many National Trust properties including Castle Drogo, Buckland Abbey, Cotehele, The Finch Foundry and Lydford Gorge (www.nationaltrust.org.uk), English Heritage properties including Okehampton Castle, Launceston Castle, Tintagel Castle (reputed birth place of King Arthur) (www.english-heritage.org.uk), of course the world renowned Gnome Reserve! (www.gnomereserve.co.uk) at Bradworthy, and there is a wide range of excellent local pubs and restaurants in the area for the drinkers and foodies, as well as farm shops and farmers markets selling wonderful local produce.