What we love about where we live
Below is an ever expanding list of some of the amazing places to explore, walk, eat and enjoy around Lemons Farm and further afield across the whole of North Devon. We are constantly finding more exciting places on our adventures with our children and dogs and would love to hear from you with any of your recommendations!
Instow (25 mins drive)
An estuary beach, beautiful at high tide for a dog walk or play in the sand dunes. The Instow Arms has a small beer garden looking over the beach and the Boathouse next door has a lovely new roof terrace with great sea views. The Glorious Oyster (oyster bar and seafood shack) has won awards for its seafood.
Northam Burrows (25 mins drive)
Often the quietest beach at the height of summer, when tourists tend to go to Saunton or Croyde. This is a long strip of deserted sand, backing onto the dunes of the Royal North Devon Golf Club, where wild ponies and sheep roam free. Best at low or mid tide, as the whole beach is covered at high tide. You can walk left along the beach into Westward Ho! itself, or right into the nature reserve (dunes – dogs allowed here all year round). There are no toilet facilities at Northam Burrows, but a van does coffee, tea and burgers. Parking is £3.50 per day in summer, free all day if you arrive before 9:30am.
Westward Ho! (25 mins drive)
A busy seaside resort with fish ‘n’ chips, arcades and tourist shops. The Waterfront Inn only does basic pub grub food but is good for children as it has a pirate ship climbing frame in the beer garden! We like going to the Pier House which has good views and amazing views over the sea. Westward Ho! can get very busy over summer weekends. Dogs not allowed on the beach during the summer months.
Saunton Sands (30 mins drive)
One of our favourite beaches, although if you go on a weekend during summer holidays, get there before mid morning to be sure to get a parking space. Saunton has a lovely open strip of sand, and you can walk for miles along the beach or explore the sand dunes. Dogs allowed on parts of the beach all year round. There is a good café, restaurant and shop, as well as toilets.
Croyde (35 mins drive)
A lovely beach, smaller than the open sandy strips at Saunton and Woolacombe and more protected. Croyde beach is in the town itself, so there are lots of options for eating and shopping nearby. It gets very busy during the summer months, so go early! Dogs not allowed during the summer.
Woolacombe (40 mins drive)
Our favourite beach, although it gets very busy during the summer (so go early at weekends!) You can either park in the town itself, where there are cafes, toilets, shops etc, or park further up the hill on Marine Drive, where you can walk across the dunes to a more secluded part of the beach (where dogs are allowed all year round). Barricane Bay, just to the north of Woolacombe is a lovely secluded cove with a café serving Sri Lankan curry in the summer evenings (see Food & Drink section below).
Lee (45 mins drive)
A beautiful little pebble cove, not at all like the other beaches mentioned above. Lee is situated on the north coast, so is much more sheltered. You wind your way down to the cove through a lovely little village and there is a tiny car park just across the street from the beach. Great for rock-pooling, kayaking or crabbing. There are loos but no café. Dogs allowed all year.
Atherington itself is low on good footpaths but we have plenty of lovely walks nearby.
River Taw, Umberleigh
Park near Umberleigh station and walk down the track which goes alongside the river through the yard by Murch’s antiques and the tractor repair place. After walking through the tractor yard, the path comes out along the riverbank where you can walk for around 20 minutes or so, stopping off at the little pebble beaches on the way.
Over 20 miles of footpaths where you'll find you take a different route each time. The tracks vary from narrow winding paths up steep banks while others are wide open wheelchair friendly routes so there is something for everybody. There are lots of accessible water sources along the river so great for dogs who enjoy getting their paws wet. On the website below there is a downloadable 3k tree trail map which identifies lots of the trees on the common. There is also a children's play area and a burger van and often you'll find a Hockings Ice Cream van tempting you over!
A lovely, easy walk in beautiful Exmoor, with a good pub at the start/end of it (Tarr Farm Inn) with a beer garden overlooking the river. This beautiful circular walk is clearly signed and takes you along one bank of the river and back the other side, in around one hour.
Heddon Valley is on the north coast of Exmoor and you can walk down the river valley to Heddon’s Mouth beach. You start your walk at a pub called Hunter’s Inn (good food and a nice beer garden and from here you can walk down an easily accessible and well signed route to the beach (about half an hour in each direction).
The wild coastal point just to the north of Croyde. There is a National Trust car park and café and a few different length circular walks, which are all spectacular.
There are so many more fantastic walks near us, such as the South West Coast Path, the Tarka Trail and Braunton Burrows. There is an Exmoor guide in the black folder in the Hide, and a walking book with maps. We also have OS maps we can lend you if you need them.
Our house backs onto a playing field with tennis court, football pitch and a children’s play area.
The Tarka Trail is one of the country's longest continuous traffic-free walking and cycling paths, and forms part of the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route. You can join it not far from Lemons Farm. We like to cycle or walk from Puffing Billy Café in Torrington (which you should find on google). There is a cycle hire place there.
North Devon boasts some of the country’s best surf spots and there are beaches to suit all levels. If the swell is small, try Saunton, Woolacombe or Northam Burrows. If the waves are getting to wild, try a more sheltered spot like Croyde or Putsborough. Why not try stand up paddleboarding, surf kayaking or just have a dip? Boards and wetsuits can be hired at Saunton, Woolacombe, Croyde, Westward Ho! and Braunton.
Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club, Chittlehamholt (15 mins drive)
The hotel has a swimming pool and spa, gym, tennis courts and a ‘pay and play’ golf course. We love the ‘dine and dip’ option (free swim when you book Sunday lunch). The restaurant has a lovely view over the valley below.
Food and drink
Pig and Olive pizza / fish and chip vans, Umberleigh (5 mins drive)
Every Wednesday there is a van doing stone cooked pizzas next to Umberleigh station from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Every other Tuesday evening there is a fish and chip van (please check the blackboard for dates/timings).
The Rising Sun, Umberleigh
Our nearest pub, has just reopened under new management. Dog friendly pub with good food and nice river walk nearby.
The Cranford Inn (5 mins drive)
Nice food and atmosphere. They do ‘Tapas Tuesdays’ where you can get 5 tapas plates for £20.
The Bell, Chittlehampton (10 mins drive)
A great village pub with a fantastic atmosphere, always busy and does great food deals almost every evening. It is definitely worth booking a table if you are eating there over the weekend. The Bell also has a children’s play area outside.
The Chichester Arms, Bishops Tawton (10 mins drive)
Lovely food and a nice village pub atmosphere.
The New Inn, Roborough (10 mins drive)
We love the food at the New Inn and they also have a great gin menu.
The Pier House, Westward Ho! (30 mins drive)
The food is good, but the location is amazing, right above the sea with big windows and a nice sun terrace. Would be perfect for sunset drinks, or coffee on a sunny morning.
Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club, Chittlehamholt (15 mins drive)
We love the ‘dine and dip’ option (free swim when you book Sunday lunch). The restaurant has a lovely view over the valley below. They have recently started serving afternoon tea in their Laura Ashley Afternoon Tea Room.
The Instow Arms (20 mins drive)
Relaxed atmosphere and a beer garden overlooking the estuary beach at Instow (best for a dog walk at high tide). Big upstairs seating area for large groups.
The Boathouse, Instow (20 mins drive)
Newly opened, good food and has a fantastic sun terrace overlooking the estuary.
Broomhill Art Hotel, near Barnstaple (25 mins drive)
This hotel has a beautiful sculpture garden and do afternoon teas. They also do three course lunch or dinner deals.
The Corn Dolly, South Molton (20 mins drive)
A traditional café with a buzzing atmosphere, serving delicious Devonshire afternoon teas with large slices of warm, freshly baked scone.
Barricane Bay beach café, Woolacombe (40 mins drive)
A great little bay just a few minutes north of the main Woolacombe beach, with a little beach shack style café which serves Sri Lankan curries in the evening. We love it because where else in England can you can sit on the sand with a plate of curry on your lap? Amazing! Info below from their facebook page (April 2019): “We are open every day (unless it is raining) from 10 am. We serve baguettes, baps, ciabattas and soups on our lunch time menus along with cream teas, cakes and ice creams. Our curry evenings are from 5-7 pm every day again weather dependent! We have a meat or veggie curry served with 2 veg curries with rice, poppadoms and sambol. We also sell jacket potatoes with tuna mayo or cheese and baps with ham, cheese or tuna mayo. All of our curries are gluten free, and dairy free and we don’t put any nuts in but can’t guarantee that all our ingredients are made in a nut free location. We do not have a license so please feel free to bring your own wine/beer but we do ask that you take your rubbish and recycling home with you. Dogs - dogs are welcome on the beach but must be kept on a lead and please clean up after them! There is a dog bin located above the beach by the road.”
RHS Garden Rosemoor (15 mins drive)
Beautiful, world famous gardens run by the Royal Horticultural Society. They run various activities and there is a lot to see throughout the year. They also have a café and fantastic play areas for children. The restaurant serves award winning food. Tickets £11.50 per adult or £5.75 for children aged 5-16 (2018 prices).
Scott Cinemas, Barnstaple (20 mins drive)
An independent, art deco style cinema, showing the latest releases. Park in the Queen Street car park, or on the High Street for evening showings.
Broomhill Arts Hotel and Sculpture Garden (25 mins drive)
Beautiful sculpture gardens with some interesting modern art. You can also have tea or a meal in the hotel restaurant.
Arlington Court (40 mins drive)
Arlington Court is a National Trust property which houses the national Carriage Museum. They hold events throughout the year (such as open air plays in the summer) and have lovely grounds for walking. Tickets £11.60 per adult or £5.80 for children (2018 prices).
Ilfracombe (45 mins drive)
Home to Damien Hirst’s giant sculpture ‘Verity’, and the Landmark Theatre, which has many touring productions and events. Ilfracombe has a vibrant shopping scene and lovely harbour as well as a couple of beaches.
Exeter (1hr drive or train from Umberleigh)
Exeter has a spectacular cathedral, Roman walls and a beautiful medieval city centre. The university also puts on a programme of public arts events.
There is a children’s playing field behind our house, with swings, slide etc, football pitch, tennis court and a circular bike/scooter track.
Quince Honey Farm, South Molton (15 mins drive)
Newly reopened in April 2019 so please see website for details. A museum all about bees and honey, which also has a giant soft play with a café.
The Big Sheep, Bideford (25 mins drive)
An all-weather attraction, with farm park, rides and various activities all day long (sheep racing, tractor rides, beer show, archery, mountain boarding, duck trials, carousel, roller coaster, train rides…).
Atlantis, Bideford (25 mins drive)
Another all-weather activity centre, with rides, crazy golf, jumping pillow, maze, pirate ship, soft play etc. Open all year.
Westward Ho! (25 mins drive)
Children will love the beach and seafront at Westward Ho!, with its arcade machines and fairground rides. The Waterfront Inn does fairly basic pub grub food but the beer garden has a pirate ship climbing frame.
We also like visiting RHS Rosemoor with our children, and cycling along the Tarka Trail from Torrington followed by a visit to the Puffing Billy café which has plenty of toys and a gift shop inside a disused railway carriage.