About Tarka Country
As is the way throughout Britain, holiday regions are often rebranded under a name linked to a famous person, a long-running television series, a dramatic film or, as in this case, a popular book. For Tarka the Otter is the case here. The fictional story of the adventures of an otter roving the rivers and estuaries of North Devon was written by local author, Henry Williamson, in 1927. The book, popular with all ages, was made into a film in the 1979.
Nowadays Tarka Country generally refers to the rural area of lush pastures, fat cattle, lazy rivers and fly fishermen, which lies to the south and south-east of Barnstaple. Narrow country lanes, which meander through the rolling hills and woodlands, flush out hilltop hamlets, open gardens and country pubs.
South Molton awakens from its slumbers every Thursday morning to welcome what seems to be the entire farming community from miles around. A livestock market held in the heart of the town starts its sales "at eleven in the forenoon". The pannier market, close by, has a higher proportion of genuine country traders than markets in the larger towns.
West Barton Farm
Alverdiscott, Barnstaple, EX31 3PT. Tel: 01271 858230.
A family-run working farm of 240 acres, with a pedigree herd of suckler cows and sheep, in a small village between Barnstaple and Torrington. Perfect for a family holiday on a working Devon farm. The family bedroom, which is en-suite, may be taken as a double or a twin. The other two bedrooms share their own bathroom. Approx 6 miles from Instow beach, Bideford Quay and RHS Rosemoor Gardens. 1¼ miles from Hunters' Inn (good food tavern) at Newton Tracey. 5¼ miles from the ancient Black Horse Inn at Great Torrington. 7 miles south-west of Barnstaple - beside the B3232.
Bed & Breakfast per night: double room £50.00-£56.00; twin and single
£22.50-£25.00 per person, reduced prices for children.
Bedrooms: 1 family(3), 1 twin, 1 single. Bathrooms: 1 en-suite, 1 public.
Parking for 5. Open: March to November.
Northcote Manor Country House Hotel
Burrington, Umberleigh, EX37 9LZ. Tel: 01769 560501.
C18th Country House in extensive estate (long private drive through woodland). Elegant and spacious rooms, wonderful woodland walks. Award winning.... 3 AA Red Stars, 2 AA Rosettes, AA Notable Wine List 2008, AA Inspector's Choice Hotel, Best Hotel 2008 by North Devon+, Devon Venue 2008 by Westcountry Wedding Awards, Conde Nast Johansens 'Readers Award' 2006.... "what more could you expect other than professional unobtrusive service, coupled with the finest fresh local produce, prepared with excellent flair and imagination." 12 miles south-east of Barnstaple, betwixt High Bickington and Burrington.
Bed & Breakfast per night: £170.00-£280.00
Dinner, Bed & Breakfast per night: £260.00-£340.00 per room.
Bedrooms: 9 double, 2 twin. Bathrooms: 11 en-suite.
Parking for 30. Open: All year round.
Stevenstone, St Giles, Torrington, EX38 7HY. Tel: 01805 623484.
Attractive, peaceful cottage accommodation on historic country estate. Extensive gardens (2 acres), including the estate's part walled garden and victorian greenhouse. Ground floor double bedroom with en-suite showerroom and private sittingroom. Excellent location for visiting this part of Devon, being 21 miles equidistant from Dartmoor Nat Pk, Exmoor Nat Pk, Saunton & Croyde beaches and Clovelly's pretty harbour. 3½ miles from RHS Rosemoor Gardens. 2 miles east of Great Torrington.
Bed & Breakfast per night: double room £60.00.
Bedrooms: 1 double. Bathrooms: 1 en-suite. Private sitting room with tv and tea/coffee.
Parking for 2. Open: All year round.
Eastington Cross, Lapford, EX17 6NE. Tel: 01363 83809.
Merryfields is a stone built cottage, set in 14 acres of woodland, gardens and paddocks,
1½ miles from the village of Lapford (rail station, post office, famous inn). Lovely walking country
here - lots of trees, wildflower woods and riverside meadows. Transport for walkers available, also packed
lunches, clothes drying facilities, evening meals (by arrangement) and an extensive knowledge of the locality.
25 miles south-east of Barnstaple, 10 miles north-west of Crediton.
Bed & Breakfast per night: single occupancy from £25.00; double room £50.00.
Bedrooms: 2 double. Bathrooms: 1 en-suite, 1 private.
Parking for 3. Open: All year round.