Watermouth Cove, Near Ilfracombe, North Devon

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 MS Oldenburg sails to Lundy Island from Ilfracombe or Bideford

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.

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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



Braunton & Saunton, North Devon

So our 2017 summer has begun with a 9-night adventure to North Devon, beginning in the village of Braunton which is situated at the centre of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, about 5 miles outside the main town of Barnstaple.  It’s the most populated village in Devon, and did actually feel a little more towny than a village with no shortage of varied eating places, drinking holes and shops – if you’re a surfer this definitely seems to be the place to go (we’re not by the way!).


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We stayed for 3 nights at Lobb Fields Camping & Caravan Park,  chosen due to its location between Braunton village and Saunton Sands.   This allowed us to explore the local area well on bike.

This site’s spread across 2 fields comprising 180 pitches, 107 of them have EHU and 10 are hardstanding.  Many are sloping.  There are also some seasonal pitches. There are 2 chemical disposal points and 2 re-cycling areas and facilities were good.

Both fields are open and exposed, giving it a very spacious feel. The night before we arrived the site had been battered with strong winds and our neighbour beside us had had his awning destroyed 😮  It remained quite windy there during our stay, but then it is on the coast of the Atlantic, so …


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During our stay here we ate in the village at:-


– a friendly, family owned place serving great food.  A cafe by day and contemporary restaurant by night.  We enjoyed excellent seafood dishes including sea bass, pollock, and scallops.


– a long-standing fish n chip shop/restaurant recommended by Rick Stein.  We both loved the fish curry here.

The day after arrival we set out on our bikes, cycling the couple of miles from site to the Northern end of Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows dune system – England’s largest sand dune system.  There’s a car park, shop and cafe at this end. The weather began as overcast but soon enough some welcome sunshine broke through the fast moving clouds and stayed with us for the remainder of the day.

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Saunton Sands is a stunning 3-mile crescent of sand and is dog friendly.  Apparently, Robbie Williams filmed the video for his single ‘Angels’ on this beach.  The wild Atlantic waves attract many surfers, windsurfers, and kite surfers and it’s great to just sit and watch from the beach.

We stayed a while just wandering along the beach before cycling (sometimes walking and pushing!) on from Saunton past the Saunton Sands Hotels where we took in more impressive views right out to sea on one side and back across the dunes and burrows on the other.  From there we climbed up the hill and down into Croyde.  Don’t forget to look back as you go up, some of the views are breathtaking.  Be careful though because there’s a fair bit of traffic at times along this road.

When you reach the top of the hill and turn the bend you’re rewarded with magnificent views down towards Croyde Bay and the picturesque village of Croyde, with its numerous thatched cottages.   It’s a pleasant downhill cycle here.  We’d definitely recommend visiting Croyde if in the area.


We had a pitstop pint (or two 😉 ) at the characterful Thatch Inn and enjoyed some sunshine for an hour or so.


We then just HAD to call into Croyde’s Ice Cream Parlour further down the road.  We wouldn’t necessarily have stopped for ice cream had there not been a sign on the shop stating “This is the famous shop that serves ice cream with clotted cream on top” … eek! well, we’re only human!

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Later, from Croyde, we cycled through nearby Georgeham village as part of our 12-mile circular route back to site at the end of the day, stopping off at a gem of a pub:-


This place felt cosy and welcoming the minute we walked through the door and fortunately we decided to ask for a table just in time as it proved to be a popular choice. A big thumbs up for this place.

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Another uphill and downhill cycle ride along quiet roads and lanes helped us burn off some calories and took us back to site just before sunset at the end of a very enjoyable first day in North Devon.

Also during our stay we took the bus to the seaside resort of Woolacombe with its award-winning beach, lying between Morte Point and Baggy Point.  You drop steeply down into Woolacombe which was once a small fishing hamlet before becoming popular as a seaside resort in the 19th century.


The bus runs regularly from outside the George Hotel in Braunton and passes through Morthoe, a village mentioned in the Domesday Book.  It’s worth a saunter around this village too which has an interesting history, more recently in farming but further back in time it was a place used by smugglers and wreckers.

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Although we cycled and made use of public transport to explore the local area, there are a variety of walks to be had around this part of North Devon.


There’s also a 6-mile stretch of the Tarka Trail passing between Braunton and Barnstaple, the largest town in North Devon, or parts of the South West Coast Path.


Well, part 1 of our 3-part North Devon adventure had come to a close and hadn’t disappointed.  Our next stop was to be just a half hour drive north along the coast to Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, Berrynarbor, just outside Ilfracombe.


Suzie & Bri