Best of land and sea
Situated in the North Devon village of Bickington on the outskirts of Barnstaple, Pine Lodge benefits from a great central location for exploring the best of North Devon and Exmoor. Looking to venture further afield? North Cornwall, Dartmoor and North Somerset are all within reach for an enjoyable day trip.
Barnstaple is North Devon's largest town and is a good place to explore on a cloudy day. The high street is home to a wide array of shops, from well-known brands to charming independent retailers. There is also the historic Pannier Market where you can admire local produce, including vegetables, bread and crafts.
The heart of Bickington is within walking distance of the house and is home to two reasonably priced family friendly pubs, The Plough Inn and The Old Barn Inn. For somewhere a little more memorable, the Old English Inn, Cedars is less than a 15 minute walk, and is a great place to celebrate a special occasion. Surrounded by landscaped gardens, Cedars has an excellent restaurant and bar offering traditional English food, real ales and fine wines.
Bickington has its own village shop and post office for purchasing daily essentials. For a wider range of products, Sainsbury is less than a five minute drive, and Barnstaple is a mile away. Don't want to get in the car? A bus stop is only a five minute walk from Pine Lodge, and buses to Barnstaple run every 10 minutes.
Only a short drive from Bickington is Fremington, which is located on the estuary of the River Taw. The village was famous for its Fishley Pottery, which was made in the stone free clay pits that were also owned by Brannam's Pottery and once used to create Barum Ware.
Fremington Quay is loved by many visitors, with its wonderful views of the estuary and small beach. The Taka Trail, a traffic free path for walkers and cyclist also passes the quay, and bikes can be hired in the village. The Quay Café, which was formerly a railway station, is a great place to enjoy a cream tea or light lunch. For evening entertainment in Fremington, Han Court is an excellent Chinese restaurant and Graylings serves some of the best fish and chips in North Devon.
Facilities available in Barnstaple include a large leisure centre with swimming pool, an excellent tennis centre with indoor courts, a multi-screen cinema and a very good theatre. There is also a good range of pubs, restaurants and shops for take away.
Bickington is only a 10 minute drive from Instow, a pretty seaside village overlooking Bideford Bay. Offering something for all ages, Instow is a lovely place to relax and unwind. For the young and young at heart, crabbing at Instow is a wonderful pastime, as is flying a kite and sandcastle building. Water sport enthusiasts will love the wind surfing opportunities available, thanks to the excellent conditions in the estuary, whilst walkers can admire the views and wildlife that call Instow home.
Finish your day at Instow with a meal in one of the excellent restaurants, including the Instow Arms and The Bar. For picnics, Johns of Instow is a well-stocked deli.
Just a little further along the coast from Instow and only a 20 minute drive from Bickington is Westward Ho! a lovely village with excellent sandy beach. Backed by a pebble ridge and the Northam Burrows, Westward Ho! beach is able to provide sand, rock pools and nature to its visitors. Water sports available at the beach include surfing, kitesurfing, kayaking and fishing.
Continue along the Atlantic Highway and you will soon be crossing the border into North Cornwall where beaches at Bude, Newquay and Perranporth await.
Some of North Devon's best beaches are located to the east of Pine Lodge. Saunton and Croyde are a half hour's drive from Bickington, whilst the award winning Woolacombe is around a 45 minute journey depending on the traffic. These three beaches are popular with families and surfers with miles of golden sands and Blue Flag waters attracting visitors all year round.
A trip to North Devon would not be complete without visiting the Exmoor National Park. Located only a short drive from Pine Lodge, the park is a wonderful place to enjoy a walk, discover a traditional pub or tea rooms, and see a variety of different wildlife. One of the best places to see Exmoor is around Lynton and Lynmouth where the National Park meets the sea.
For a quick stroll after dinner there is a well maintained footpath situated behind the house that winds its way through open fields and has some beautiful views of the coastline from Saunton to Ashford. Other footpaths nearby include the South West Coast Path, which can easily be accessed via Fremington.