About the Barnstaple Country area of North Devon
- this is the name we give to the countryside and villages that encircle Barnstaple, from two to five miles from the town's central stone.
To the north and east are the lower foothills of Exmoor, cut by fast flowing streams coursing their way down 'V'-shaped valleys, mostly clad with broadleafed woodland: to the north is Muddiford with its excellent inn beside the Bradiford Water; to the north-east Shirwell, high on a hill, where Sir Francis Chichester was raised; and to the east, Goodleigh with its popular New Inn, on another hill above the River Yeo. To the south of Goodleigh are some romantic knobbly hills, fashioned by ancient quarrying and many small streams, here are the villages of Landkey and Swimbridge. Landkey has two rival good food pubs, The Castle and The Ring o' Bells. Swimbridge's tavern is named after its illustrious, if somewhat eccentric, hunting parson Jack Russell, who originated the popular breed of terriers. To the south, the great River Taw, tidal for its last four miles to Barnstaple, meanders through the salt marshes between the villages of Tawstock and Bishops Tawton. To the west of Barnstaple, the Taw steadily broadens on its eight mile tidal course to Barnstaple Bay: the larger villages of Bickington and Fremington sprawl across the southern bank.
Blakewell Trout Fisheries
Muddiford, Barnstaple, EX31 4ET. Tel: 01271 344533.
Working trout farm with 'catch your own trout' facilities for children and adults. Waterside tearooms.
Feed fish (£1) & watch the life cycle from egg to adult of a range of species, including ornamental fish. Catch your own trout. £2.50 to fish. £2.05/lb price of the trout caught - we will clean and gut them so you can take them away ready for cooking. Our experienced and friendly staff are on hand to help and offer advice and information.
Fly angling for the experienced angler and novice. Ornamental fish for sale.
Opening Times: All year, daily, 0800-sunset. Fly fishery: All year, daily, 0800- 1 hour after sunset. Closed 25 Dec.
Tickets: Fly fishing: £23.00 (2 fish), £24.00 (3 fish), £26.00 (4 fish), £28.00(5 fish), £50.00 (10 fish). Tackle hire: £7.00.
Admission Charges: Adult: FREE Child: FREE Concession: FREE
Dogs admitted: No.
Broomhill Sculpture Garden
Muddiford, Barnstaple, EX31 4EX. Tel: 01271 850262.
Comtemporary Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden in and around the award-winning Broomhill Art Hotel. Many works by international artists. The scupture garden, with 300 sculptures by over 60 artists, extends into adjacent woodland and along the banks of the river Bradiford Water. Headquarters of North Devon Art (association of local artists). Lunchtime restaurant, Teas.
Opening Times: daily: 1100-1600.
Admission Charges: Adult: £4.50 Child: £1.50 Concession: £3.50 Family: £10.00
Dogs admitted: No.
New Plant Centre offers plants rarely found in commercial garden centres.
Marwood Hill Gardens
Marwood Hill, Marwood, Barnstaple, EX31 4EB. Tel: 01271 342528.
An 18-acre garden with 3 small lakes, unusual trees and shrubs, bog garden, national collection of astilbes, iris ensata and tulbaghias. "Our gardening year starts in February with masses of Snowdrops welcoming the early spring. These are followed by daffodils and later bluebells. During March and April the large collection of Magnolias is at its best and together with Camellias, Rhododendrons and Cherry blossom, makes a riot of colour for Easter time. In May the alpines and early flowering herbaceous plants begin to flower...." Plant Centre (in the walled garden) is open 1100-1700, daily. The Garden Tea Room is open 1030-1630, daily from March until the end of October. Free admission to Tea Room and Shop.
Opening Times: Every day, all year (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day) from 1000-1730.
Admission Charges: Adult: £5.50 Child (12-16) £2.50 Child under 12: FREE
Dogs admitted: Yes - on a lead.