View Tarka Trail Holiday Cottages in 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 sweeping estuaries and sandy shores. The Tarka Trail is one of the country’s longest traffic-free walking and cycling paths, making it perfect for visitors who want to discover the mudflats, salt marshes, rivers, coast, combes and meadows of North Devon.
Braunton Farmhouse is a 5 bedroom farmhouse, recently refurbished to a very high standard. The North Devon house is perfectly situated on the hill above Braunton and within a few miles of Georgeham, Croyde and amazing, award-winning, beaches at Putsborough and Woolacombe Bay. Pets welcome.
Hen Cottage is a delightful rural cottage surrounded by beautiful grounds and boasts wonderful rural views of Little Torrington and the North Devon countryside. The charming cottage offers a heated swimming pool, games room, an open fire and a successful blend of modernity and tradition.
A particularly beautiful stretch of the Tarka Trail 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 of a picnic, or perhaps an invigorating swim in the Atlantic. The trail also takes in Mortehoe, an atmospheric village, perched on a cliff-top, 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 there are plenty of options for hungry travellers to stop for a bite to eat. Instow is one of the next stops – a charming village overlooking the meeting point of the Rivers Taw and Torridge. 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, as well as cyclists and walkers.