Tidicombe House


Visited Willow Lodge for my 40th birthday. It was perfect. Absolutely loved the hot tub! Beautiful setting too. The lodge itself was definitely 5★ luxury. We had everything we needed. The owners made us feel very welcome. The lakes are amazing. Submitted by James on 21/10/2015

James on 21/10/2015 - June 2017

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About Tidicombe House

  • Sleeps: 12
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2

Welcome to Tidicombe! (pron. Tie-dee-cooom in devonshire)

Our traditional stone-built 18th c Devon Long House, Farmhouse & Barns and 5 acres lie hidden away down a private Devon lane - amidst the beautiful foothills of Exmoor & 5 miles from the sea.

The Old Farmhouse, now fully renovated & updated, but still oozing country cottage charm, is a quirky character property full of beams and historic features.

Our 5 acres of former sheep fields have become a network of gardens, wildflower meadow and mature trees, with woodland trails.

This large Holiday Cottage now provides spacious and comfortable accommodation for parties of 4 - 12 (+ 3 Cots).

Short breaks (Friday pm to Monday am) are usually available outside the school holidays.

So many guests have told us it has been the perfect comfy venue for friends’ or family holidays, reunions, celebrations - and extended families, in particular, have appreciated our big table giving them the rare chance of sitting down for meals together. (this table has hosted many feasts down the years!)

Others relish just having a peaceful, relaxing place ‘away from it all’.

Devon coastal resorts can get pretty hectic during the school holidays and parents (especially) often tell us how they love returning ‘home’ to the tranquillity of Tidicombe.

We feel very blessed to live in this rural corner of England - with a natural environment so unspoiled, it is has now been defined as ‘The North Devon Biosphere’ (the first of only 6 in the UK) and declared a Unesco World Heritage Site to help protect it.

Hear birdsong, the bleat of lambs, the odd tractor, the whisper of wind in the trees.

On still days - total silence.... with no background hum of traffic.

And at night - watch for shooting stars - and marvel at the brilliance of myriads of twinkling stars in a (now rare) truly Dark Sky - with no urban glow to dim them.

Despite this rural location- we are centrally situated for easy access to the whole of North Devon.

You can find us on the map between Barnstaple and Lynmouth - close to Arlington Court (N.T.), Wistlandpound Reservoir and Blackmoor Gate - the gateway to Exmoor National Park.

Within 15-30 minutes drive (largely along charming lanes frothing with wildflowers) are Devon’s world famous Atlantic surfing beaches, sandy coves, picturesque harbours, dramatic cliffs, wooded river valleys and the glorious purple moorland and quaint villages of Exmoor.

Also some very nicely presented theme parks to keep both kids and Mum and Dad happy.

The tallest cliffs in England (3x taller than White cliffs of Dover!) are 5mls to the N of us - with wonderful views of Wales.

Also nearby, ‘must see’ Lynton, sits atop the cliffs - joined to its twin, picturesque Lynmouth Harbour, at the bottom - by their famous Victorian water-powered Cliff Railway. The scenic glacial ‘Valley of Rocks’ adjoining Lynton and Watersmeet (N.T.) approached approached from Lynmouth up a glorious wooded valley with tumbling waterfalls, both offer Tea Rooms with excellent Devon Cream Teas.

So much to fill the days (and tummies) and create timeless memories - for guests of every age.

Yet despite all these destinations ‘on our doorstep’, we do feel ‘chuffed’ that many guests choose to spend much of their time here - enjoying the house and gardens,

The Old Farmhouse has been part of our well-loved family home for 30 years and still is. For the last 14 (since our kids have grown) it has been a real pleasure to have such nice guests enjoying this lovely place too - and to welcome back the many who have returned again and again.

We offer the Old Farmhouse for up to 20 weeks of the year. When we have visitors, the two of us ‘downsize’ into the lower end of the white Longhouse (see photo) - which was still housing cattle, back in the swinging sixties!

Once we have welcomed you and shown you around, we treat the Cottage and guest gardens as your private domain.

The two buildings and their rear gardens are separated and positioned so as not to overlook (or overhear) each other - thus giving (both of us) complete privacy.

However, we are on hand if you need assistance, require local information or just feel like a chat - and we are always happy to put on the kettle, spread out the map and point out our own favourite walks and places to visit.

The Cottage is furnished and decorated to our preference - rather than ‘kitted out as a holiday rent’.

We are always adding things we think our guests will like, but it is still our home with ‘our’ DVDs, books and pictures.

We hope it will feel like your home, during your stay. Many guests call it 'a real home-from-home' or 'a Happy House'.

Our kids still love it. Now the grandchildren love it. Visiting children tell us it's 'magical'.

Well, it may not be Hogwarts, but it does have lots of character & places to explore! 'City kids', especially, relish the space and freedom - with no traffic - or neighbours to worry about noise!

At Christmas and New Year we decorate the house with boughs of greenery, twinkly lights and traditional decorations, plus, of course, a real Christmas Tree. We can provide a Snowman Hunt for younger ones - and the big Table is perfect for festive feasts.

With logs crackling in the Inglenook fireplace, our guests often comment: the old Farmhouse looks just like a Christmas Card!

(one family returned for 5 Christmases - until their kids grew up! Our own family also insist on their traditional ’Tidicombe Christmas’- so every year, we have a second Christmas here after our New Year visitors leave!)


The Main windows face south - making it light & sunny - with beautiful views across the wooded Valley below.

Thick stone walls keep it cool in hot weather and with full central heating & most windows double glazed, it is always warm and cosy - even in the depths of winter.

So - If the weather does turn grey - you can toast your toes in front of a cheery log fire, curl up in an armchair with a book, play games or watch a movie - perhaps in 3D! -see below.


Park in front of the house in the old Farmyard (plenty of parking space) - Enter the gate into your pretty front walled garden - a sheltered, leafy space with lawn, shrubs and flowerbeds - a real sun trap. A flagged path leads up to front porch -smothered in honeysuckle, clematis and roses.


‘Front Hallway’ has maps and masses of local information, walks & Notice Board with current events, tide times etc

Large cupboard: Outdoor games/BBQ equipment,pond dipping nets -plus surfing body boards, large picnic coolbox, beach shelter, windbreak & brolly(!) to borrow for the beach. ‘Henry’ vacuum, cleaning equipment etc.

'The Old Kitchen' - former kitchen/lounge now opened up into bright airy space with terracotta floor, original paintings and lovely windows onto your front and rear gardens.

Enjoy a book in the sunny window seat or relax in comfy Sofas & Chairs around the Log Burner in the big open stone Fireplace.

Circular Dining Table (extending), traditional Dresser + cupboard bursting with games, jigsaws, puzzles etc

Well-stocked bookshelves offer lots of holiday reading for kids and adults + books/DVDs on the local area;

TV/DVD and Radio/CD player. (having 2 separate rooms for different choices of music/TV can sometimes be useful!!)

Well-equipped kitchen with dishwasher, microwave, large fridge/freezer, Bosch mixer/whisk, weighing scale, Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsule coffee machine, cafetieres, pretty china, 6 slice Dualit Toaster etc. plus thermos flasks/picnic set. (picnic rugs also provided)

'The Big Sitting Room' A colourful cosy room with large 'Clearview' Log Burner in Ingle Nook fireplace, traditional flagstone floor with rugs, Afghan wallhanging and a large window onto the front garden.

Plenty of comfy Arm Chairs & Sofas (incl sofa bed*) and extra beanbags for the kids.

Our huge Antique DiningTable comfortably seats 12++.

An old Dresser has been adapted to house our Home Cinema System - with 50” TV, Surround Sound, BluRay DVD with optional 3D (adult and child 3D specs supplied) + masses of 2D/3D DVDs (incl many kids’ titles) to borrow.

CD/DAB radio/iPod dock.

WiFi Booster (our Internet service is provided by radio link across the valley with Bratton Fleming)

Wii with games plus guitars.

Plus - some less ‘digital’ delights to discover: the old Bread Oven is now the Storyteller’s crystal cave; a scale model Gypsy Caravan shares the wide windowsill with a solar ’mood’ light + 40 year-old money tree; a wooden automata of a rocking galleon (will the knight ever manage to catch the mermaid?) and a Victorian family enjoying perpetual Christmas in their beautiful twelfth-scale mansion.

All family favourites of ours, which we hope you will enjoy too.

2 ‘Bathrooms’: one at the foot of each of 2 carpeted stairways - at either ends of the Cottage. *The sofabed in the Big Sitting Room -with bathroom adjacent - has proved ideal for guests who have difficulty with stairs. (we provide an extra mattress - which has been reported ‘very comfortable’!)

‘Utility Area’: washing machine, drying racks (use of tumble dryer next door if weather is bad), space for coats/boots.


Both stairways, upper Hallway, 4 pretty Bedrooms (House Martin, Otter, Puffin and Dormouse) - are all beamed, fully carpeted and hung with original paintings.

The first 3 south-facing bedrooms have large hand-crafted oak windows with lovely views over the front garden to the beautiful wooded valley beyond. (Watch out for stags and hinds crossing opposite hillside!) Dormouse and the hallway have pretty views over the rear guest gardens.

‘House Martin’ - large, carved furniture, pine double bed, single divan.

‘Otter’ - medium size, pretty hand-decorated furniture, pine double bed (see photo)

‘Puffin’ - very large ‘family’ room, painted furniture, pine double, single, bunkbeds & cotbed.

    (see photo - single bed, cotbed, wardrobe are ‘off camera’  on RHS)

‘Dormouse’ - smaller double aspect room with 2 pine single beds

All the above bedspaces are adult size.

Good quality bedlinen supplied (much of it ‘Dorma’) and towels.

For babies and toddlers, we can provide:

Cotbed (permanently set up in Puffin - with bars: for babies/toddlers.)

Standard Pine Cot (will fit in House Martin or Puffin)

Travel Cot -with extra mattress for comfort (will fit Puffin, House Martin or Otter -just!)

We also have stairgates, 2 high chairs, adjustable playpen, electric bottle warmer and Avent bottle steriliser (bottles not supplied) + a selection of toys available.


You have a private garden at the front (see above) and at the back, beside the kitchen, is a paved courtyard with brick-built BBQ.

3 steps lead up into a pretty garden of lawns with picnic tables, landscaped flower beds & mature trees. (see photo)

Beyond this is a wild flower meadow with willow dome and big trees ideal for kids play and making dens.

At the top end is our (informal but perfectly playable) Volleyball/Badminton pitch - plus Football goals.

Beyond your half acre of guest garden, Guests (younger children with an adult) are invited to enjoy and explore the rest of our 4 acres of kitchen gardens, flower gardens, Jungle Garden (with Solardome), small ponds, woodland trails and our top meadow with new woodland and beautiful views across to the heights of Exmoor. If you happen to bump into us, working in the Gardens - we always enjoy swapping notes with other keen gardeners!

We have made an illustrated Fun Map to guide you round, which some guests have used to organise Treasure Trails!

If you wish to explore further afield, a public footpath crosses our property - on up across the neighbouring fields to our local farm shop - or down through the beautiful valley below us (see photos of valley and bridge) and then up the next hillside to the Village of Bratton Fleming.

There are many other lovely footpaths close by.


Many visitors book a Supermarket delivery for the evening of their arrival.

Local award-winning Besshill Farm Shop (see above): 4 mins.

Village Stores at Kentisbury, Bratton Fleming, Challacombe (& cream teas): 10-15 mins

Barnstaple: 20 mins. Ilfracombe: 25 mins. Bideford: 40 mins.

‘Old Station Inn’, Blackmoor Gate: 6 mins (caters for families, offers take-away service, 10% discount for our guests!)

There are many other Pubs, serving good food, within a short drive.


(After unfortunate alcohol-related experience, we apologise to the sober majority, but regret we no longer accept bookings from all male groups or groups predominately under the age of 25)

Also due to sheep and cattle in the surrounding farmland, we have promised the Farmer we will not take dogs - or other pets.

As a result, we can cater for many of our guests who suffer from pet allergies.

We have a strict no smoking policy in the Cottage.


We quite understand that you may be concerned about recent stories in the media about fake properties which do not exist and lost payments. (mostly involving properties outside the UK.)

If you would like to check our identity (Cheryl and Edward Thornburgh) we are: - in the phone book (give us a ring!)  - on the local electoral roll (past 26 years)


To prove our property exists(!) press the satellite view and zoom in on ’Tidicombe House’ on our map on this website: New Tidicombe Farm buildings are by the road/lane junction. Our 5 acre ‘island’ is at the bottom (Eastern end) of lane.

Wire Transfers:

We understand certain online money transfers  (especially Western Union) are untraceable and therefore open to abuse. Our bank (Lloyds) has assured us that their person to person bank transfers are secure with records kept of both parties to the transaction. Although a few people still pay by cheque, we have been using the Lloyds bank transfer service for the last 5 years without any problem. (free to use within the UK, with a small fee for other currencies).

Some online agencies are now using scare stories to promote their own booking service, which not only costs extra, but is anonymous with no initial interaction between owner and guests.

We have always preferred - enjoyed - the ‘meeting and greeting’ contact of making bookings with our visitors directly.

Booking is quick and simple!

  1. Check your dates are free on our Availability Calendar and use the Booking Request Form - or give us a ring.

(Changeover day: Half term weeks -sat/sat. Easter/Christmas/New Year - variable. All other weeks - friday/friday)

  1. We email you accommodation details & booking form, confirm the price/dates and ask whether you prefer to pay by bank transfer or cheque.

  2. You return completed booking form & pay one third deposit (or full payment if booking less than 2 months ahead)

  3. We email our confirmation of your booking, receipt and date for balance payment.

  4. 6 weeks before arrival you pay remaining balance. We email receipt for full payment & directions.

If there is anything you want to ask - or you would like me to send you our accommodation & equipment list and/or bedroom map - please use the enquiry form or give me a ring.

We hope you will decide to come and stay in the Old Farmhouse - We assure you of a warm Devon welcome!

Cheryl and Edward

Tidicombe House Availability Calendar

James on 21/10/2015


June 9th 2017

Visited Willow Lodge for my 40th birthday. It was perfect. Absolutely loved the hot tub! Beautiful setting too. The lodge itself was definitely 5★ luxury. We had everything we needed. The owners made us feel very welcome. The lakes are amazing. Submitted by James on 21/10/2015

Tidicombe House
Contact Name
Cheryl Thornburgh
01271 850626
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