Historic Towns and villages
Appledore- A unique little fishing village
Appledore is full of history, with watch towers, look-outs, a smuggler's tunnel, fishermen's cottages, captains' houses and a quay overlooking the meeting point of the rivers Torridge and Taw before they flow through the "pool" and over the "bar" into Bideford Bay. Away from the quay the narrow streets, hidden lanes and cobbled courtyards preserve the intriguing history and transport the imagination back through the centuries.
Mostly a conservation area, Appledore is close to the South West Coast Path and beautiful safe beaches for surfing, swimming and sand-castles. Also, nearby is the Northam Burrows Country Park, home to the oldest 18 hole links golf course in England!
Shipbuilding has always been the major trade here and with the largest covered dock in Europe along the river to the south, the trade still thrives, with gas container ships, ships for the Irish Navy, dredgers, tugs, tall ships and long ships! Replicas of Viking long ships, Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind and the Nonesuch were built in Appledore.
The main charm of Appledore is that it remains a living, working village with lots of local characters.
A village full of history!
Bideford- a thriving medieval market town
Bideford is full of charm and history, offering a selection of both specialised and more general shops. There are many narrow streets, largely untouched by time, and both guided tours and individual walking trails are available.
The Victorian novelist Charles Kingsley described Bideford as "The Little White Town which slopes upward from its broad river tide".
Bideford has been slow to change over the years. Indeed much of its architecture and historic associations are still with us today. Little has changed from when Charles Kingsley lived in the area nearly 150 years ago. Kingsley's statue serves as a permanent reminder of this famous resident and the time he spent here writing part of his well-known novel Westward Ho!
Today Bideford is both a thriving market town and working port with much to offer visitors to the region. Amongst the many buildings and places of interest you will find the historic covered Pannier Market, dating from 1883, which holds a market every Tuesday and Saturday. Alongside the history you will find modern shopping amenities, a wide choice of bars and restaurants, entertainment and a tremendous range of visitor attractions for the young and not so young!
Compact, accessible and with good parking facilities, Bideford hopes to combine tradition and heritage with sensible and planned development, so as to ensure the town remains a unique experience for every visitor.
Clovelly- one of the most famous villages in the world
Set into a steep hillside, Clovelly is one of the most famous villages in the world.
The single cobbled High Street winds its way down the hillside through traditional whitewashed cottages festooned with fuchsias and geraniums.
Traffic is banned from the High Street with visitors parking at the top of the hill adjacent to the Visitor Centre. The High Street drops 122m (400ft) in 0.8km (half a mile) through the 16th century cottages to a small harbour, and for a small fee, a Land Rover service ferries visitors up and down the steep hill via a back road.
Charles Kingsley lived here and visitors from all over the world marvel at how time has stood still in the village.
Hartland- a beautiful and unspoilt peninsula that is a haven of peace and tranquility
In an area of outstanding natural beauty set against the spectacular Atlantic coastline to the west and the Bristol Channel to the north, the 17,000 acres of the Hartland Peninsula offer a landscape of wonderful contrasts.
As you cross the peninsula, high open moorland and ancient woodland give way to coastal waterfalls tumbling from hanging valleys onto rocky shores. These meandering valleys afford shelter from the prevailing winds to create micro-climates which support an abundance of wild flowers, rare lichens, culm grassland, insects, birds and animals.
The village itself was a royal manor in the time of King Alfred. The Manor of Harton (Hartland) was one of the largest in Devon.
Today the village is still thriving but in a different way. It boasts three churches, three pubs, two schools, two garages, a medical centre, several shops, a vet dentist and many skilled craftspeople.
There are some interesting Victorian terraced houses, a Square with some handsome Georgian properties and a raised pavement along Fore Street which adds to its charm.
Holsworthy- Ancient Port Town
Holsworthy is a wonderful town which has a market charter dating back to the 12th century. One thousand years ago it was described as a Port Town. The word Port was a Saxon term for a secure place for trade - a market.
Holsworthy boasts one of the busiest and largest livestock markets in the country and lies in the heart of 'Ruby Country', where a new initiative is underway to provide walking, cycling and horse riding trails through this area of charming countryside.
Focusing on themes such as culture, heritage, food and drink, the trails will offer an excellent opportunity to discover some of the natural features in the town and its surrounding area. 'Ruby Country' is a designated area of tranquillity and its unspoilt beauty is a must for any visitor looking for a taste of traditional Devon life.
With many special events, a sports hall, swimming baths, library with Internet facilities and Stanhope Park (a large public area with children's rides etc), all within easy reach, Holsworthy offers something for everyone throughout the whole year.
A historic market town in the heart of Ruby Country!
Great Torrington- a friendly, welcoming market town
Built on the site of an ancient settlement atop an inland cliff with the river Torridge below, Great Torrington offers dramatic, breath taking views. Great Torrington offers a unique visitor experience with its historic town centre, great independent shops and iconic attractions. It also retains a large number of listed buildings, historic factories and industrial landscape features.
The local area offer much to the active visitor. Cycle or walk for miles along the famous Tarka Trail which explores the stunning countryside and offers tempting pubs and cafes to end in.
Torrington is a suprising gem of a town hidden away in a beautiful and uncommercialised part of Devon.
Westward Ho!- Award winning Blue Flag Beach
The coastal town of Westward Ho! is a popular holiday destination with several cafes, tearooms, restaurants, hotels, and activity businesses. Westward Ho! beach offers over two miles of golden sand backed by a unique pebble ridge linking to Northam Burrows Country Park, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Access is fairly easy down a concrete ramp from the town of Westward Ho!
Additional access is also available from Northam Burrows via a rough path over the pebble ridge.
The beach is adjacent to the South West Coast Path and is near to the picturesque villages of Appledore and Clovelly, and the ancient port of Bideford.
Facilities available include several car parks close by, toilets and showers, refreshment facilities, shops, a daily lifeguard and deck chair hire during the summer months.
Both the car parks and the toilets provide facilities for disabled users. A dog exercise area is also provided with restrictions in the Blue Flag area.
The beach has RNLI lifeguard cover between the Spring and Summer seasons (May - September) who oversee the many varieties of activity that the beach lends itself to, everything from horse riding to surfing from Kite Buggying to Kite Surfing!
The beach is also used by many local organisations who utilise the vast area to commercially run their activities, both in and out of the water.
Welcome- North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Welcombe lies on the Atlantic Coast just on the Devon side of the North Devon/Cornwall border midway between Bideford and Bude.
The parish of Welcombe comprises a scattered group of hamlets incorporating approximately 100 households. The village sits astride a deep valley which leads a meandering stream to the cliff edge at Welcombe Mouth where it ends in a picturesque waterfall. St Nectan's Church looks over the northern flank of the valley while The Old Smithy Inn lies on the southern side.
Welcombe is a popular holiday destination and many visitors return year after year. They grow to love the spectacular scenery and peaceful surroundings whilst enjoying the proximity of attractions in both Devon and Cornwall.