Stay in one of Chulmleigh’s handful of well-kept North Devon holiday cottages and you’ll soon discover its peaceful, friendly allure. More large village than town and more sleepy than vibrant, hill-top Chulmleigh is one of mid-Devon’s most charming communities surrounded by countryside and a web of high-banked, flower filled Devon lanes unchanged since being built in Saxon times. It’s a quiet little town where the school bus is the rush hour. It’s part of the undiscovered Devon where time seems to have stood still since the 1950’s.
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- Bratton Fleming
- Bucks Mills
- Combe Martin
- Great Torrington
- Lee Bay
- Newton Ferrers
- North Molton
- Ottery St Mary
- South Molton
- Westward Ho!
Should you need evidence of Chulmleigh’s appeal, then it comes in the form of its many official designations: It lies at the heart of a Conservation Area, an Area of Rural Tranquillity and an Area of Great Landscape Value – the latter referring to its rich fertile grassland which feeds an abundance of wild flowers, birds and rare butterflies. Age old footpaths meander across green fields and alongside chuckling rivers in steep-sided Devon valleys. At the heart of Chulmleigh, ancient and frequently thatched cottages line streets in which pedestrians politely acknowledge friends and visitors as they pass. The village is far enough from other major centres still to support truly local shops, pubs and restaurants including those long since disappeared from towns dominated by supermarkets such as a dairy, bakery and the butcher, as well as a newsagent, Post Office two pubs and two rather good places to eat: a Bistro and an Indian Restaurant.
Holiday in the town in high-summer when, for a week in July to witness a 750-year old tradition: hot pennies are shovelled onto the street from an upper window in the town hall to be scrambled for by children heralding the start of a week of festivities at the annual Chulmleigh Old Fair. The large church of St Mary Magdalene, built on the wealth derived from the woollen industry in Medieval times, still has its ancient rood screen and is worthy of investigation.
Chulmleigh also has its own Par 3, 18-hole golf course, at which visiting golfers are welcome as well as two more courses within a 15-minute drive. Riders can enjoy the countryside on horseback at the Bold Try Equestrian Centre, while there is plenty to keep the angler happy on holiday in Chulmleigh, whether for late-running salmon in the Little Dart river, or at Catham Lakes and Huntacott Water.
For casual or enthusiastic walkers, The Tarka Trail passes through the Little Dart Valley beneath the town. The Tarka Trail traces the route taken by Tarka the Otter in Henry Williamson’s book, now a long-distance footpath (and part cycle path on the North Devon coast). Walk amidst the tall trees on trails in the nearby Eggesford Forest where the newly created Forestry Commission planted its first seedlings in 1919. One of the advantages of choosing Chulmleigh as a base for a self-catering holiday in Devon, is that its central location ensures the beaches and resorts on the North and South Devon coasts from Sidmouth to Woolacombe, within easy day-trip range, as are Devon’s two National Parks: Dartmoor and Exmoor – both must-have additions to any Devon holiday bucket-list.