After 3 nights in Braunton, the second part of Jolly’s North Devon Adventure took us back to the A361 and a little further North towards Ilfracombe. On our way we stopped off for a cheeky full english brunch at the Foxhunter Cafe on the A361 which set us up nicely for the day ahead.
We arrived in time for a midday check-in at Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, Berrynarbor, which is situated between Ilfracombe and the coastal village of Combe Martin. It’s a touring and camping site which also offers other onsite accommodation and is set in an idyllic location by the Cove and at the foot of Watermouth Castle.
Our arrival involved a little confused detour into the grounds of the Castle which you come across before reaching the site entrance (opposite side of road after a slight bend just slightly further on ). In our defence, this seemed to be a common mistake as we noticed several people initially driving past the entrance and having to turn around again during our stay.
Anyhoo, we parked up and checked in then a member of staff directed us to our pitch. There’s a varied choice of pitch types as can be seen on the website. We opted for a large fully serviced shingle and grass pitch and were allocated SP74. We couldn’t help but be impressed with the size of the pitch, and it was perfectly placed for all day sunshine. The fully serviced element was a little different to what we’re used to – the EHU was fine as they’re quite often a distance away hence the long cables. However, the waste drop and water tap were situated to the rear of an adjacent pitch which were too far away for us to utilise properly. Luckily there was nobody on that pitch for the duration of our stay so we were able to reverse onto it to fill up on arrival and drop off before leaving, so no problem.
The Holiday Park has a new (2016) timber built showers/toilets facilities, private Cove access, private beach, outdoor pool area and an onsite Beach Hut Cafe-Bar. We used the cafe bar once during our stay when we enjoyed a very tasty curry. The rest of the time we were out and about in the local area. For dog owners, the site is very pet friendly, having it’s own dog exercise area.
As mentioned, the site is set more or less at the foot of Watermouth Castle, which incorporates a family theme park within its grounds. A little info on the history of the castle:-
Weather-wise our day of arrival here was the wettest of our whole visit to North Devon. It was constant rain of varying intensity throughout the day. We decided to hop on a bus and visit nearby Combe Martin. There’s a bus stop right outside the site entrance and across the road you can access a bus service to Ilfracombe.
The large coastal village of Combe Martin lays claim to having the longest main street of any village in the country at more than two miles long. The South West Coastal Path also runs through this village.
However, we only walked a short part of the record-busting street as the rain was relentless. We reached The Pack of Cards Inn which was built in 1626 by George Ley of Marwood. It was built to celebrate a big cards win and is meant to resemble a stack of cards. The building has 52 windows (one for each card in the pack), 4 floors (one for each suit) and 13 doors on each floor (one for each card in the suit). We took refuge here hoping the rain would stop but it didn’t so we thought no big ‘deal’ and ordered another pint which was ‘ace’. There were no ‘clubs’ to go to so I took my ‘diamond’ geezer for a wander back to the cove …
Moving swiftly on …. the cove at Combe Martin offers a number of activities including rock pooling, fishing, and kayaking. None of that on a day like this, it was pretty desolate but still a very impressive sight watching the wild waves crashing against into the cove as the tide rolled in. Later we caught a bus back to camp to dry off and that was the night we got our tasty takeaway from the Beach Hut on site. Yum!
The next day the weather was lots better and we got a taxi into Ilfracombe. It was a Sunday so there wasn’t a bus service and the road for this route isn’t ideal for cycling. There’s a taxi phone service from the beach hut on site which we used.
We had a lovely day meandering around the old Victorian seaside resort. We’ll let the pictures tell the story of our day.
One sight not to miss though is Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’ statue, loaned to the town in 2012 for 20 years. At just over 20 metres tall you’d be hard pushed to miss it anyway. It stands on the pier looking out over the entrance to the harbour. The work represents truth and justice, portraying a pregnant woman holding up a sword in one hand, the scales of justice in another and standing on a mound of law books. Half of the sculpture shows her internal anatomy.
We had originally also intended on spending a day on Lundy Island, a granite rock formation just 3 miles long and half a mile wide, lying where the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic ocean. However, the MS Oldenburg (Lundy’s supply ship) trip days didn’t tie in with our stay here, so we decided to save this trip for our next visit to North Devon. There are other services that can take you there but for us the only way to visit Lundy would have to be on the 1958 German-built vessel which retains many of its original fittings. This will have to wait for another time for us but if you get the chance it certainly looks an interesting visit.
The next day we enjoyed some chill out time in the sunshine by Jolly then had a short walk into Berrynarbor village. It’s a pretty village that has won ‘Britain in Bloom’ and ‘Best Kept Village’ awards. The streets here are narrow and quite steep and converge at a small village square. There’s a village pub, the 17th century Ye Olde Globe Inn, and also a Church – the Church of St Peter. This isn’t a touristy place which was nice.
On the way back we called in for a drink and meal at The Old Sawmills, a lovely inn and restaurant on the main road.
There are plenty of walks to do around this area and this website gives free downloads of many of varying lengths:-
We had a great time on this part of Jolly’s North Devon Adventure which passed so quickly! Next stop the following morning was to be Lynton about half an hour further North on the Exmoor Coast of North Devon. By this point we had definitely fallen for North Devon ❤
Suzie & Bri