Note: As the postcode is used to identify the general area of the property, it may not always reflect its precise location, therefore please only use this map as a guide.
The beautiful Hartland Peninsula is one of 46 designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. Due to its extraordinary array of wildlife and unique geological features it is also home to four Sites of Special Scientific Interest. It is such a wonderful environment to explore, with fantastic walking opportunities, incredible wildlife and some of the most beautiful scenery in North Devon.
We have some equally stunning holiday cottages to make your stay on the Hartland Peninsula a truly memorable one. If you’re looking for a place to relax in luxury after a tiring day exploring the beautiful surroundings, we’ve got some lovely cottages with hot tubs! If you prefer to stay dry, why not indulge in a glass of champagne while enjoying the warmth of an open fire.
If you’re holidaying as a family, treat the children to a stay on a working farm, where you can enjoy the peace of the countryside and they can take in the sights and sounds of the farmyard. Many of our cottages have fantastic play areas and games too, as well as plenty of room to run around!
One of the main attractions of Hartland is its vast variety of landscapes, showcasing examples of moorland, heath, peaceful wooded valleys, picturesque country roads and an amazing stretch of coastline. There is no better way to appreciate the area than take to the fantastic network of paths and trails.
The Peninsula is an accredited ‘Walkers are Welcome’ area, meeting criteria such as providing top quality information on walks and well sign posted routes. The section of the South West Coast Path which wends its way along the coastal periphery of the Peninsula towards Bude is often regarded as the toughest part of the whole route, although those who are up for a challenge will have their efforts rewarded with spectacular views and scenery. It’s not only for seasoned ramblers, however, as many level, easily accessible sections allow everyone to enjoy the coast. Dogs, too, will love exploring new territory by your side, and with many dog friendly properties in the area, there’s no reason to leave them behind!
The Peninsula is blessed with a number of beauty spots. Walk south from Hartland Quay and you’ll find Speke’s Mill Mouth waterfall, cascading 50 foot down the cliff to the long curving beach below. Sandymouth, a broad bay owned by the National Trust, is another scenic spot. Surrounded by cliffs peppered with wildflowers, it offers incredible coastal views. To gain an insight into the area’s industrial past, drive down the winding road to the visitors’ car park at Buck’s Mill to continue down to the pebbly beach on foot. Old lime kilns tower at the edge of the spectacularly rugged beach where you can often spot surfers bobbing among the waves.
Make your way inland and you’ll find 17,000 acres of fine Hartland countryside to explore. There are several circular heritage trails through varied landscapes, taking you past historical sites and ancient parklands. Take a walk through Beckland Woods, to the rampart of the Hill Fort, perched on Windbury Head. The woods are particularly pretty in the spring, when a carpet of bluebells turns them into a purple paradise. In January it’s the turn of the snowdrops to flourish!
The 12th century town of Hartland, once known as Harton Borough, is Devon’s most north-westerly settlement. It provides a social centre for the whole peninsula and is brimming with history and character. The one mile Harton Borough Heritage Trail, suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, provides a fantastic insight into the history of the town, its buildings and monuments. In January it’s the turn of the snowdrops to flourish!
The town is also an art hub, with artisan workshops and galleries featuring everything from paintings to pottery and furniture.
Fabulous food and drink
Surrounded by the sea and with countryside in abundance, Hartland Peninsula is the ideal place to indulge in some delicious produce fresh from the sea and farm. Whether it’s a portion of fish and chips made from the fresh local catch, or a fabulous meal in a local restaurant, you’ll not be disappointed. The gold medal award winning garden at Docton Mill Gardens and Tea Rooms provides a beautiful environment to sample a local cream tea, especially as it’s been voted the best in North Devon!
Once you’ve tried some of the local produce, you may wish to purchase some yourself to cook in the comfort of your homely holiday cottage. On the first Sunday of each month from April to October, The Parish Hall hosts a farmers’ market where you can pick up all your ingredients – local and fresh.
The picturesque preserved fishing village of Clovelly, with its little white houses jostling for space down a cobbled street leading to a quaint harbour, has its own annual food festivals. The Lobster and Crab Feast celebrates the area’s fine seafood, along with beer tasting, cookery demonstrations and craft stalls. Another date in the calendar is Clovelly’s Herring Festival which promotes the nutritious little fish caught by the local fishermen.
Wildlife in abundance
With so many different habitats throughout the peninsula, Hartland is home to a whole range of animals, from badgers, bats and hedgehogs in the hedgerows and woodland, to barn owls, brown hares, rabbits and deer roaming the moorland and heath. The coast and waters support a stunning array of marine life, with dolphins, seals and basking sharks being regular visitors. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the occasional peregrine falcon soaring in search of its next meal.
So much to see and do
For such a rural location, Hartland has a fantastic range of places to visit. The magnificent Hartland Abbey, still a cherished family home, is open to the public and makes for a wonderful family day out. Children will enjoy making friends with the resident donkeys and there’s even a quiz to keep them occupied indoors on a rainy day.
If it’s wildlife you want to see, there really is no place better than Lundy Island, situated 12 miles into the English Channel off the coast of Hartland. It can be reached by boat from nearby Bideford or Ilfracombe, or to add a little more romance and excitement you can take the helicopter during the summer from Hartland Point. The island is home to birds so rare that enthusiasts flock from all over the country for their chance to see them. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it also has an abundance of flowering plants and sea life.
Back on the mainland, Hartland Quay is definitely worth a visit. The museum sheds a light on the peninsula’s interesting history of shipwrecks and smuggling and after you’ve absorbed a bit of the heritage, head for the Wreckers Retreat Bar for a bite to eat surrounded by wreck relics. If you linger until the evening, you’ll be rewarded by an amazing sunset on a clear day.
Water sports enthusiasts will enjoy the awesome opportunities to practise kite surfing, body boarding and surfing on the beaches around the peninsula. With some fantastic waves for more experienced surfers at Speke’s Mill Mouth and Hartland Quay, and some great kite surfing spots at nearby Bude and Westward Ho! It’s the perfect year round destination.
For a comfortable base from which to discover the Peninsula’s rural charms, browse our Hartland holiday cottages. With everything from couples’ retreats and large houses for groups, to family lodgings and period properties, we’re sure you’ll find something to suit you. If you’d like a little help, we’re only at the end of the phone - give us a call!