Our guide to Mid-Devon

Lucy
Our guide to Mid-Devon

The Great Outdoors

365 square miles of vast open moorland, with its unique granite Tor formations, wild Dartmoor ponies, highland cattle and sheep that wander along the roads, flora, forna, rivers, lakes, woods, settlements, stone cirles and stone rows, steeped in history, and beautiful villages, churches and National Trust properties. There is so much to see and do - with a square mile for every single day of the year!
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Dartmoor
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365 square miles of vast open moorland, with its unique granite Tor formations, wild Dartmoor ponies, highland cattle and sheep that wander along the roads, flora, forna, rivers, lakes, woods, settlements, stone cirles and stone rows, steeped in history, and beautiful villages, churches and National Trust properties. There is so much to see and do - with a square mile for every single day of the year!
Another National Park on our doorstep - well, a little further, but you could be there in under half an hour. Softer than Dartmoor, with its rolling heather, wild deer and Exmoor ponies, with pretty villages throughout. It stretches from Mid-Devon up to the South West Coastal Path on the north Devon coast. Excellent views in both directions from the top, seeing Wales on a sunny day, and southwards to Dartmoor.
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Exmoor
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Another National Park on our doorstep - well, a little further, but you could be there in under half an hour. Softer than Dartmoor, with its rolling heather, wild deer and Exmoor ponies, with pretty villages throughout. It stretches from Mid-Devon up to the South West Coastal Path on the north Devon coast. Excellent views in both directions from the top, seeing Wales on a sunny day, and southwards to Dartmoor.

City/town information

Chagford is a quirky little moorland town, with an upmarket organic earthy crowd, foody delis, organic and vegan coffee shops, a swanky wine shop, a fresh veg stall, a very upmarket social enterprise charity shop called Uptown, and nice pubs and restaurants. The Globe Inn does the best food in the town, but The Three Crowns (which also does good food) has a bit more gastro-homely feel. Both are very nice and there are loads more pubs and places to eat, to choose from in Chagford. Lots goes on in Chagford, so it is well worth finding out what they have in the diary! Just outside the town is Proper Job, which is a reclamation yard with a difference. Its worth a visit, if you like that sort of thing, or if you like books - it has a really good second hand book section, with every Lonely Planet guide you could ever dream of, recipe books galore, well, every sort of book imaginable infact. Near Chagford is also Castle Drogo, outside the village of Drewsteignton, the National Trust property with a fascinating, emotional history, beautiful gardens, and lots of beautiful, free walking routes around the Teign Valley and deer park. The National Trust gift shop and resturant/coffee shop are also lovely. Our favourite National Trust by miles. Learn about it and you may feel the same!
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Chagford
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Chagford is a quirky little moorland town, with an upmarket organic earthy crowd, foody delis, organic and vegan coffee shops, a swanky wine shop, a fresh veg stall, a very upmarket social enterprise charity shop called Uptown, and nice pubs and restaurants. The Globe Inn does the best food in the town, but The Three Crowns (which also does good food) has a bit more gastro-homely feel. Both are very nice and there are loads more pubs and places to eat, to choose from in Chagford. Lots goes on in Chagford, so it is well worth finding out what they have in the diary! Just outside the town is Proper Job, which is a reclamation yard with a difference. Its worth a visit, if you like that sort of thing, or if you like books - it has a really good second hand book section, with every Lonely Planet guide you could ever dream of, recipe books galore, well, every sort of book imaginable infact. Near Chagford is also Castle Drogo, outside the village of Drewsteignton, the National Trust property with a fascinating, emotional history, beautiful gardens, and lots of beautiful, free walking routes around the Teign Valley and deer park. The National Trust gift shop and resturant/coffee shop are also lovely. Our favourite National Trust by miles. Learn about it and you may feel the same!
This picture postcard moorland village is the perfect place to start and end a walk on Dartmoor, with access straight on to the open moor, up onto Belstone Tor. It has our favourite tea room for a really amazing cream tea (cream then jam in Devon, jam then cream in Cornwall!), and a welcoming village pub called the Tors Inn. Wild Dartmoor ponies and sheep roam up on the village green and highland cattle sometimes wander down through the village. You can also walk the other walk, down Belstone Cleave - a woodland, riverside walk to Sticklepath and back on either side of the babbling woodland river, with little wooden footbridges, and of course, the pub at the end for a local ale or cider.
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Belstone
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This picture postcard moorland village is the perfect place to start and end a walk on Dartmoor, with access straight on to the open moor, up onto Belstone Tor. It has our favourite tea room for a really amazing cream tea (cream then jam in Devon, jam then cream in Cornwall!), and a welcoming village pub called the Tors Inn. Wild Dartmoor ponies and sheep roam up on the village green and highland cattle sometimes wander down through the village. You can also walk the other walk, down Belstone Cleave - a woodland, riverside walk to Sticklepath and back on either side of the babbling woodland river, with little wooden footbridges, and of course, the pub at the end for a local ale or cider.
Alternate Saturday's in Crediton hold the vibrant Farmers Market in the town square. This old market town has lots of independent shops, local foody shops, and coffee shops, mostly around the square, but also try the Moto Velo cafe just passed the main shops, to drink really amazing hot chocolate and soups surrounded by Harley Davidsons, and cool retro seating. And the amazing cakes at Coco’s coffee shop - but you’ll need to arrive early, as they close the doors when the cakes are sold out - they are that good! Outside Crediton is Shoebrooke Park, a lovely expanse of park land for walks, picnics and a spot of cricket spectating. Crediton also has the Sandford Orchards Cider Works that open the doors on a Friday evening for pizza and cider on long tables surrounded by the cider vats.
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Crediton
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Alternate Saturday's in Crediton hold the vibrant Farmers Market in the town square. This old market town has lots of independent shops, local foody shops, and coffee shops, mostly around the square, but also try the Moto Velo cafe just passed the main shops, to drink really amazing hot chocolate and soups surrounded by Harley Davidsons, and cool retro seating. And the amazing cakes at Coco’s coffee shop - but you’ll need to arrive early, as they close the doors when the cakes are sold out - they are that good! Outside Crediton is Shoebrooke Park, a lovely expanse of park land for walks, picnics and a spot of cricket spectating. Crediton also has the Sandford Orchards Cider Works that open the doors on a Friday evening for pizza and cider on long tables surrounded by the cider vats.
Just outside Exeter is the swanky riverside town of Topsham (pronounced Tops-ham, if you want people to know you live there; and Top-sham to everyone else!) It also has lovely independent shops, restaurants, pubs; a great cider pub and grill called the Pig and Whistle; pubs on the river for a sunny day; a really great, quirky antiques/vintage centre well worth popping and bringing back some childhood memories, especially on the higher stories... It has lovely circular walks that take in the attractive high street, the river and estuary, the RSPB wildlife reserves and wetland viewing bothy, and Darts Farm. Darts Farm is a huge, very nice, farm shop with enclosed gift shop, Aga shop, Fired Earth, restaurants, really fantastic fish and chips, cycle hire, outdoor play area, camping shop, you name it. It is well worth a visit if you are passing - idea for a sunny day or a wet day, with loads of free parking. You could park here, and walk to Topsham (about a 20 minute walk - very scenic if you go via the RSPB reserves - just ask in the RSPB store upstairs from the outdoor shop, and they will direct you.) There is shaded parking for dogs at the rear, taps for dog water, and a nice play area for children, with picnic benches. You can also walk up and around the crop fields on the edge of the car park for a short walk, or take in the whole of the wetlands, coast, and Topsham. For longer days out, there is an excellent cycle route and footpath all the way to Exmouth, with boardwalks, wetlands and villages. Hire bikes from Darts Farm or Exmouth, or walk a part of it. You can get here by car, or on a short bus or train journey, from Exeter.
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Topsham
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Just outside Exeter is the swanky riverside town of Topsham (pronounced Tops-ham, if you want people to know you live there; and Top-sham to everyone else!) It also has lovely independent shops, restaurants, pubs; a great cider pub and grill called the Pig and Whistle; pubs on the river for a sunny day; a really great, quirky antiques/vintage centre well worth popping and bringing back some childhood memories, especially on the higher stories... It has lovely circular walks that take in the attractive high street, the river and estuary, the RSPB wildlife reserves and wetland viewing bothy, and Darts Farm. Darts Farm is a huge, very nice, farm shop with enclosed gift shop, Aga shop, Fired Earth, restaurants, really fantastic fish and chips, cycle hire, outdoor play area, camping shop, you name it. It is well worth a visit if you are passing - idea for a sunny day or a wet day, with loads of free parking. You could park here, and walk to Topsham (about a 20 minute walk - very scenic if you go via the RSPB reserves - just ask in the RSPB store upstairs from the outdoor shop, and they will direct you.) There is shaded parking for dogs at the rear, taps for dog water, and a nice play area for children, with picnic benches. You can also walk up and around the crop fields on the edge of the car park for a short walk, or take in the whole of the wetlands, coast, and Topsham. For longer days out, there is an excellent cycle route and footpath all the way to Exmouth, with boardwalks, wetlands and villages. Hire bikes from Darts Farm or Exmouth, or walk a part of it. You can get here by car, or on a short bus or train journey, from Exeter.
So much more than a city. With the small quayside bars and shops, breweries, paddleboarding, kayaking and pedalos; riverside walks galore; stunning Cathedral with plenty of excellent music events and picnicking out on Cathedral Green or the restaurants around it; the independent shopping quarter of Gandy Street, Queen Street and Fore Street, and the retro Fore Street Arcade shops; museums, arts centres, independent cinemas and much more. Exeter is a small, friendly city, with green space, a Cathedral, a quay, and beautiful university and lots of independent shops. Parking can be pricier for long stays in the city car parks, but there are three park and rides, and it is small enough to park on the outskirts and take a five minute walk right into the city centre. We often park at the low-cost Okehampton Street car park in Exeter, and walk into town along the river and up Fore Street. It is a 5 minute walk to the bottom of Fore Street and a 15 minute walk from the centre. Further down the river, are lovely circular walks, from the quay, or you can park further downstream, to grab lunch at The Double Locks pub, or for a longer walk still, Turf Locks - which is very remote, but very lovely too! There is no parking at the pub, so you can only walk, therefore, check its opening hours before you set off!
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Exeter
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So much more than a city. With the small quayside bars and shops, breweries, paddleboarding, kayaking and pedalos; riverside walks galore; stunning Cathedral with plenty of excellent music events and picnicking out on Cathedral Green or the restaurants around it; the independent shopping quarter of Gandy Street, Queen Street and Fore Street, and the retro Fore Street Arcade shops; museums, arts centres, independent cinemas and much more. Exeter is a small, friendly city, with green space, a Cathedral, a quay, and beautiful university and lots of independent shops. Parking can be pricier for long stays in the city car parks, but there are three park and rides, and it is small enough to park on the outskirts and take a five minute walk right into the city centre. We often park at the low-cost Okehampton Street car park in Exeter, and walk into town along the river and up Fore Street. It is a 5 minute walk to the bottom of Fore Street and a 15 minute walk from the centre. Further down the river, are lovely circular walks, from the quay, or you can park further downstream, to grab lunch at The Double Locks pub, or for a longer walk still, Turf Locks - which is very remote, but very lovely too! There is no parking at the pub, so you can only walk, therefore, check its opening hours before you set off!

A bit of everything!

We love it here! We have written a bit more about Castle Drogo under the Chagford entry - so you can read more there too. Visit for beautiful scenery, beautiful walks, incredible colours in autumn especially, and a really welcoming gift shop and restaurant for that all important cream tea and cuppa, or great food and soups. In the summer, if you are brave, you can wild swim at ‘Salmon Leaps’ pool in the Teign River below. It is a fairly steep walk, but well worth it.
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National Trust - Castle Drogo
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We love it here! We have written a bit more about Castle Drogo under the Chagford entry - so you can read more there too. Visit for beautiful scenery, beautiful walks, incredible colours in autumn especially, and a really welcoming gift shop and restaurant for that all important cream tea and cuppa, or great food and soups. In the summer, if you are brave, you can wild swim at ‘Salmon Leaps’ pool in the Teign River below. It is a fairly steep walk, but well worth it.
This is a must! Free to get in, but they rely on donations and visits to the really fantastic cafe restaurant, and lovely gift shop. Or you can sponsor your favourite donkey! It is such a beautiful place, spread across countryside, with lovely walks. Take the walk out of the main area, up to the Pitou Donkeys, and around the memorial fields for more lovable donkeys. In fact just go everywhere - it’s so lovely!
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Donkey Sanctuary
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This is a must! Free to get in, but they rely on donations and visits to the really fantastic cafe restaurant, and lovely gift shop. Or you can sponsor your favourite donkey! It is such a beautiful place, spread across countryside, with lovely walks. Take the walk out of the main area, up to the Pitou Donkeys, and around the memorial fields for more lovable donkeys. In fact just go everywhere - it’s so lovely!
We have to admit, we have never been (and really should!). But Lucy’s mum goes regularly and highly recommends it for a peaceful, calm, inspiring day out. If you like tranquility and impressive gardens, you can spend a whole day here, including lunch at the lovely Garden Kitchen restaurant. It is absolutely huge, with so much to see.
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RHS Garden Rosemoor
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We have to admit, we have never been (and really should!). But Lucy’s mum goes regularly and highly recommends it for a peaceful, calm, inspiring day out. If you like tranquility and impressive gardens, you can spend a whole day here, including lunch at the lovely Garden Kitchen restaurant. It is absolutely huge, with so much to see.
The UK's first marine protected area, Lundy Island is a must-visit for the hard-core nature lovers and bird watchers! Find puffins, seals, the very fluffy soay sheep, goats, sika deer, Lundy ponies, highland cattle, pigs, manx shearwaters, pygmy shrew, willow -warblers. And enjoy boat trips, walks, snorkelling, diving, rock pooling, fishing, climbing, bird watching, or just soaking up the beautiful, remote scenery and nature.
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Lundy
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The UK's first marine protected area, Lundy Island is a must-visit for the hard-core nature lovers and bird watchers! Find puffins, seals, the very fluffy soay sheep, goats, sika deer, Lundy ponies, highland cattle, pigs, manx shearwaters, pygmy shrew, willow -warblers. And enjoy boat trips, walks, snorkelling, diving, rock pooling, fishing, climbing, bird watching, or just soaking up the beautiful, remote scenery and nature.
Lovely cinema in Exeter with bar and coffee shop, where you can take your drinks into the film and sit on sofas or comfy seats, showing some of the main films, but also a great line up of quirky new and old favourites - well worth looking up what is playing. The Phoenix Art Centre also show some really unique films, documentaries and old classics, in their tiny, intimate cinema, also with bar and coffee shop. There are often plenty of people in both other these watching films on their own, or with others.
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Exeter Picturehouse
51 Bartholomew St W
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Lovely cinema in Exeter with bar and coffee shop, where you can take your drinks into the film and sit on sofas or comfy seats, showing some of the main films, but also a great line up of quirky new and old favourites - well worth looking up what is playing. The Phoenix Art Centre also show some really unique films, documentaries and old classics, in their tiny, intimate cinema, also with bar and coffee shop. There are often plenty of people in both other these watching films on their own, or with others.

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Walking the Devon lanes, trails and footpaths

There are so many beautiful paths, lanes and trails to walk straight out of the front door, you will never be bored! With farm shops, pubs, far reaching views - and not just on Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.
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The fortnightly Farmers' Market brings Crediton to life

A lovely fortnightly farmers market bring the town square to life twice a month on alternate Saturdays. Even when the market is ot on, Crediton is the place to head on a sunny Saturday morning, for coffee culture and a vibrant market town feel. We like the Moto Cafe in Crediton - alive with cyclists, bikers and ordinary folk who just love good coffee and good cakes!
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Rivers, reservoirs, lakes - so much nature to see!

The walks, trails and picnic spots are endless. Picnic down by the winding river at Meldon, or take a walk or paddleboard along the babbling River Torridge, or kayak down the River Dart, or hire canoes or pedalos to mosey down the canal by the quay in Exeter. If you love nature, adventure and countryside, there is so much to see and do in Devon, all year round.
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Best beaches

Here are some of our favourites for a lovely walk, paddle, sunbathe or day out. Croyde: Small remote surf village with lovely sandy beach. If busy in high season, it gets quieter by sunset and is a great to see the sun go down because of that relaxed surfy vibe. Woolacombe Bay: beautiful long sandy beach great for a really long walk! When it’s busy on a hot day, you only have to walk 100m past the bucket and spade gang, to have the remaining 3km to yourselves. Stainton Sands - also very long and sandy. Pastow - for the lovely foody arty town, and Rock opposite for a quieter coastal walk.
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Best beaches continued...

Newquay was once lovely, then got overrun by stag parties and is now on its way back to being lovely again. But the best beaches near Newquay are the stunning Watergate Bay with classy spa hotel and some great beach bars/restaurants. And Crantock Bay for dunes, walks, sunsets, and a cliff top walk from the e d of the beach round to the Bowgie Inn pub at West Pentire. St Ives is the place for a classy day out with lovely shops, restaurants and cafes. On the opposite side of Devon, Salcombe is similar. Dartmouth is also a fab town for a day out of shops, estuary, harbour and nearby beaches.
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Even more beaches

Pedn Vouder is a 2.5 hr drive but it’s like being on the Caribbean. It’s a risky walk down and requires some scrambling - so it’s not suitable for anyone frail. Kids and elderly do make it down, but just take it really easy. Park at Treen and walk. If you have a tent, stay at Treen campsite for a night. Fishing villages like Foy and Polperro are lovely for lunch, look at the shops and harbour etc. Falmouth is quite busy but has a lovely ferry over to St Mawes opposite. Further east, take a nice walk from Inner Hope to South Milton Sands - which has a great beach bar for lunch.
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Yet again more beaches!

East of Exeter you have lovely sea side towns with pebbly beaches such as Budleigh Salterton and Seaton. Back to the NW coast Clovelly is a very twee little fishing village which you can only access from the pay and display visitor centre, unless you walk in along the coast. It’s worth a visit. The Exmoor coast road from Porkock heading west, is lovely with wild ponies and glimpses of the ocean. Drive across Exmoor via Exford or Dunkers Beacon, and back via other moor roads if you have time, to take it more scenery and villages.
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Wild swimming spots

There are so many lovely places for a wild swim. Many are small places for a dip. Here are some favourite. Culliver Steps, me Okehampton, Dartmoor - there is a small plunge pool and two foot bridges/streams that meet. Shilley Pool, South Zeal - nearby plunge pool. Meldon Quarry near Okehampton - head uphill from carpark for pools that cascade down, and down from the carpark for a shallow river to dip your feet or swim. Scorhill Stone Circle has a lovely river on the way to Batworthy Corner. The carpark at Dartmeet has a nice walk up the river to some good swim spots.
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More wild swims

The river Dart south of Holme has lovely tiny beaches and pools. The cleave (river) from Belstone to Sticklepath has so lovely bathing spots. The Ford on the footbridge down from Belstone Common (by the Tors Inn) is a lovely shallow pool with deeper spots up and down stream. Sharrah Pool is a 50 min walk from Holne Woods but well worth it. Also lookup Mel Tor Pools and Bel Pool. Off Dartmoor, Brampford Speke has a great river swimming area and a nice pub! And the River Torridge has nice spots on a river walk around Huish, Beaford and RHS Garden Rosemoor.