Things To Do

Local Country Houses and Gardens Nearby

There are lovely historic houses and gardens within a short driving distance from Combe Martin.

Chambercombe Manor, Ilfracombe

Ann Watt, a guest at Mellstock House, reported a very strange experience when visiting Chambercombe Manor. “In the Chippendale room my legs seemed to lose control and I almost fell over. This sensation continued in all the rooms until I suddenly dropped to the floor onto both knees. At the end of the tour I found myself unable to write in the visitors book; it was as if someone else was doing the writing!” Visitors have witnessed a host of other strange phenomena which cannot be accounted for!!!

Dare you visit Ilfracombe’s most haunted location? Chambercombe Manor is a stunning 11th Century Historic manor House with 3 acres of beautiful gardens.  There are tours of the history and hauntings and Lady Jane’s tea rooms and gift shop.

Marwood Hill Gardens

Covers an area of 20 acres with three lakes and is set in a valley tucked away between Combe Martin and Barnstaple. They were created in the 1950’s and are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees and experience the views and peaceful atmosphere whilst walking through the woodland area. Marwood Hill is famous for it’s collection of Camelias and has three national collections; Astilbe, Japanese Iris Ensata and Tulbaghia. Wildlife abound around the lakes including visiting Canada geese.

There is a tea garden offering light refreshments throughout the day with wonderful views of the gardens.

Broomhill Sculpture Garden

Is very near Marwood Hill garden and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland and is bound by its own stream.  Here you will find one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary art and sculpture in the south west. The award winning Broomhill kitchen is based around the “slow food philosophy”, respecting authentic produce and local ingredients.

Arlington Court (National Trust Property) is an extensive estate between Combe Martin and Barnstaple nestled in the wooded valley of the river Yeo. The estate includes a large Regency house and gardens.  There are many  collections housed here from the Chichester family and the picturesque garden has been developed from the 19th century. Housed within the grounds is an extensive carriage museum and there are many events throughout the year such as living history tours and children’s crafts.

Castle Hill Gardens and Park

Surround the magnificent Palladian House, home of the Fortesque family since 1454. It is set in 18th century landscape with grass terraces and statues. It is located south of Combe Martin just off the North Devon link road west of South Molton. There are beautiful walks through the gardens and woodland, the final climb taking you to the castle perched splendidly on the high hill behind the house with panoramic views to Exmoor, Dartmoor and Lundy island. Guide tours by arrangement.

RHS Garden Rosemoor

Is just south of great Torrington (home of Dartington Glass and 1646 experience!) If you are looking for a relaxing and inspiring day visit Rosemoor and stroll around the 65 acre garden, acclaimed by gardeners everywhere and acknowledged as one of the most exciting horticultural accomplishments of recent years. It has formal and informal gardens with a wealth of ideas to inspire visitors. A wide range of events also take place.

Tapeley Park Stately Home

(As seen on TV “Country House Rescue”) overlooks the estuary between Bideford and Instow. Here you will find Italian terraces, a Permaculture garden, a lake surrounded by huge Thuja-Plicata trees (the oldest specimens in the country), a kitchen garden and a Labyrinth built from fragments of an ancient obelisk that were flung far and wide by a thunderbolt in 1931. The walk up to the Labyrinth has the best views of the sea, Lundy island, the estuary and dunes.

Hartland Abbey and gardens

Are near the coast just beyond the picturesque village of Clovelly. The beautiful gardens and parkland leading down through a valley to the Atlantic ocean is the historic home of the Stucley family and was founded by Augustinian Monks in 1157. It has survived longer than any other monastery in the country. Hartland Abbey is fascinating whether you are interested in heritage, history or gardens and suitable for all ages. The Abbey has been used for a number of film locations, “Sense and Sensibility” and Rosamund Pilcher’s “The Shell Seekers”. In July 2011 Hartland Abbey was the location for the BBC Antiques Roadshow. To find out about the collections in the house and gardens visit their website.

Docton Mill

Docton Mill gardens and award winning tearooms are located south of Hartland Abbey and the Mill and its adjoining leat, head weir and tailrace have been traced back to Saxon times just after the death of King Alfred 901. The gardens are situated in a stunning valley location, 1000m from the coast and famous Spekes valley waterfall, giving it a unique micro-climate. The garden surrounds the mill pond which feeds the mill wheel. The garden provides interest throughout the year.

Cheristow Lavender

gardens and award winning tearooms and are located between Clovelly and Hartland. Follow the spectacular farm walk admiring far reaching countryside views or wander around the lavender and rose gardens followed by homemade refreshments (many including lavender in the recipe!) in the tearooms. There are handmade aromatherapy gifts made on the premises using the  healing qualities of lavender and other essential oils.

Clovelly Court Garden

is a classic example of a lovingly restored Victorian walled kitchen garden including magnificent lean-to glasshouses with their original manual levers. The unique maritime micro climate of the garden is produced by the effects of the warm Gulf stream flowing past Clovelly, which with its enviable sheltered position in the Bristol channel allows the growth of tender and exotic plants.