a disued railwaline converted to a foot and cyclepath runs under a bridge on the Tarka Trail in North Devon The Tarka Trail in North Devon

Find My Favourite Holiday Cottages on The Tarka Trail

The Tarka Trail is one of the country’s longest traffic-free walking and cycling paths, making it perfect for cottage holidays discovering the mudflats, salt marshes, rivers, coast, combes and meadows of North Devon. Tarka, the Otter is a fictional character whose adventures around North Devon’s Rivers Taw and Torridge are described in a novel by Henry Williamson – Tarka the Otter: His Joyful Water-Life and Death in the Country of the Two Rivers. The Tarka Trail explores a few of the journeys taken by this much-loved character. From Exmoor to Meeth, it passes through deep, wooded valleys and swathes of farmland and along the banks of wide estuaries and sandy shores. Being created mainly from disused railway lines, self-catering holiday cottages on the Tarka Trail are perfect for walking and cycling holidays in North Devon.

A large lawn with apple trees has a row of farm cottages in the background.
Sleeps
6
Bedrooms
3

Hen Cottage is a delightful holiday cottage located in the beautiful rural area of North Devon. Stunning grounds surround the cottage, which offers lovely rural views of Little Torrington and the surrounding countryside. Guests can enjoy a variety of amenities, including a heated swimming pool, a games room, and an open fire. The cottage successfully blends modern comforts with traditional charm, creating a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for guests.

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A large North Devon farmhouse with a cluster of three barns, all surrounded by green fields.
Sleeps
10
Bedrooms
5

Braunton Farmhouse is a 5-bedroom holiday cottage in Braunton that has been recently refurbished to a very high standard. This North Devon house is ideally situated on the hill above Braunton and is within a few miles of Georgeham, Croyde, and amazing, award-winning beaches at Putsborough and Woolacombe Bay. Pets are welcome.

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A lovely stretch of the Tarka Trail in North Devon runs between Exmoor in the north, and the sleepy village of Meeth, in the south. The route can be joined in Ilfracombe, a seaside resort with fine Victorian architecture, clifftop walks, rocky beaches and a bustling harbour. A wander around the town should include Verity, a striking statue by the artist Damien Hirst, which can be found at the Quay, overlooking the waves.

From Ilfracombe, the trail heads south, through green, unspoiled countryside, past the villages of Trimstone and West Down. It then loops, with the option of heading west, along the shore of Woolacombe, or along the top of the valley, above the beach. The stretch running through the dunes of Woolacombe Beach is spectacular. This vast stretch of sand is one of the nation’s favourite beaches and an idyllic spot to stop for a picnic or perhaps a refreshing swim in the Atlantic. The trail also takes in Mortehoe, an atmospheric village perched on a clifftop high above Woolacombe. There are a couple of cosy pubs there and a tearoom.

Continuing southward, the Tarka Trail passes through the village of Georgeham, where Tarka the Otter’s creator, Henry Williamson, once lived. Much of his writing was done in a secluded wooden hut on the edge of the village, where he is said to have regularly sat alone for 15 hours a day.

The Tarka Trail runs along the Taw estuary and past the market town of Barnstaple, where hungry travellers can stop for a bite to eat. Instow is one of the following stops – a charming village overlooking the Taw and Torridge rivers’ confluence. The sandy beach is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing in the summer and an enchanting place to walk or cycle along the shore in the winter.

Green, tranquil meadows and remote stretches of the River Torridge are passed on the trail’s route southward, past the historic towns of Bideford and Great Torrington. Much of the final stretch to the village of Meeth follows a disused railway track. It’s a gentle, mostly flat section of the route that runs through expanses of farmland and woods. This stretch is also open to horse riders, cyclists, and walkers.