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Fern Tor Vegetarian and Vegan Guest House

The Area

South Molton is an interesting old market town, noted for its Georgian buildings and antique shops. It has an indoor swimming pool and an award winning  museum .
For those interested in a bit of retail therapy, you might try Mole Valley Farmers , a co-operative run by the self-proclaimed "guardians of the countryside" - especially good for outdoor clothing,  and for those chocoholics who didn't get enough of Jane's steamed chocolate pudding, there's Melchior Chocolates.   Market days are Thursday and Saturday.

Tiverton also has a superb  museum   for rainy days, a good town trail for exploring on foot, a fascinating medieval castle and a restored canal. Both towns can be reached by a local bus from our front door, six times a day, six days a week.

Barnstaple is the commercial centre of North Devon and has a large pannier market. Many of the nearby villages have thatched cottages and pubs, as well as interesting old churches, with a marvellous tower in Chittlehampton and charming squares in Chulmleigh.

The North Devon coast varies from the 2 mile long sandy beach at Woolacombe to many small rocky coves, the desolate area around Hartland Point with spectacular nearby waterfalls, the old port of Bideford and the picture-postcard Clovelly. The remote and tranquil Lundy Island , 11 miles off the coast, has a nature and marine reserve and can be reached all year round.  There are a number of excellent surfing beaches, and descriptions of them and current conditions can be found at Gulf Stream Surfboard's surf report . Conditions can also be checked at the new  BBC  Devon's Surfing Conditions site.

The Taw-Torridge estuary as recently been designated as Britain's first UNESCO ( United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) Biosphere Reserve.  It covers the area from Braunton Burrows in the east, with it's huge dunes and nature reserve, through the sands of Instow, the old port of Bideford and the interesting village of Appledore, to the Northan Burrows in the west.  There are many outside activities from walking to cycling on the Tarka Trail (see below) to sunbathing to bird watching and just mooching about.  More activities and facilities are being planned.  

The North Devon coast has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty , and its area of 171 sg km  makes up one of the finest 'Protected Landscapes' in England.

Exmoor National Park is 20 minutes drive away, with many spectacular views over breathtakingly rugged coastline, wild heather moors and deep wooded valleys. There are guided walks and talks throughout the year.

Dartmoor National Park , with its ancient stone clapper bridges and granite tors, the south coast of Devon and the city of Exeter can all be reached within an hour.

For the serious or recreational walker there are many opportunities in the area, from a gentle family stroll through river meadow and woodland to the challenging Coastal Path. Nearby is the Two Moors Way which connects Dartmoor and Exmoor, and the 180 mile Tarka Trail named after Henry Williamson's famed otter. A number of circular walks can be taken directly from Fern Tor or are within easy reach.

Cycle hire is available locally for exploring the Taw-Torridge estuary on the disused railway lines, the Tarka Trail or county lanes. One local company,  Bike Trail, has several cycle tours on its website.

Within 20 miles are Marwood Garden., Arlington Court, Rosemoor Gardens (The Royal Horticultural Society ), Knightshayes Court and Tapeley Park . Arlington Court and Knightshayes are  National Trust    properties.

The League Against Cruel Sports has it's West Country headquarters and main sanctuary near Dulverton., about 40 minutes away.  They welcome visitors and can often give a tour, but only with advance notice please.

There are over a dozen golf courses in North Devon, from the two links (i.e., expensive) courses at Saunton Sands and Westward Ho!, to the many 'field' courses.  Despite recently finding a golf ball in the goat's straw, we do not have a putting green.

For a overview of the area, look at the map below.  Further maps are available on our How to find us   page.

Area Map 56k

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
    Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Multi Media Mapping .

Even if you came by car, why not have a day out using our good local bus service? There are 11 buses in each direction Monday theough Saturday which will stop at our front gate.  And they are doggy friendly too!  Below are some suggestions:

        Towards Tiverton, you could get off at Witheridge or Withleigh for some good walks.

        At Tiverton, you could:
                a) see Tiverton, with its good Town Trail, and excellent museum.  Tuesday is market day.
                b) connect with a bus towards Tiverton Parkway for a walk along the Grand Western Canal.
                c) connect with the many buses towards Exeter, getting off at Bickleigh, visiting the Castle or Mill, where you could also walk the Exe                             Valley Way south, or back towards Tiverton.

        At South Molton, you could catch a bus to:
                a) North Molton, on the edge of Exmoor, and walk back to South Molton.
                b) Dulverton, headquarters of the Exmoor National Perk, museum, many walks up the Barle valley.
                c) Chittlehampton, for walks and a splendid church tower and attractive village.

        Barnstaple is the commercial centre of North Devon.  You could walk or cycle along the estuary, or catch a bus to:
                a) Croyde or Saunton Sands for good beaches.  One could walk through the Braunton Burrows, an UNESCO World Heritage Site,                               and back to  Braunton.
                b) Lynton and Lynmouth for the rugged coast, the cliff railway, walks, the Valley of the Rocks with the ferral goats.

         Half of our local buses are extended to Exeter - see suggestions above under Tiverton, and below about things to do in Exeter.

Further information  on the area can be found in the following links:

The South Molton Tourist Association has more details about the immediate area and  the North Devon Link has information on tourism, business and shopping, as does the North Devon Marketing Bureau.   Devon County Council has a tourist site giving details of attractions and things to do all over the county.

The Council in nearby Somerset also has a useful tourist site.  Most of  Exmoor National Park is in Somerset, and comprehensive information can be also found at Fern Tor or the South Molton Tourist Office.

If you fancy a day out in Exeter, the Exeter City Council has a good site for tourist attractions, what's on, and history - the cathedral's astronomical clock was the inspiration for Hickory, Dickey, Dock.

Extensive tourist information can also be found at the local tourist office or at Fern Tor.

You might also want to check out The Devon Holiday Directory - "over a 1000 links to web sites full of information for visitors to Devon - attractions, towns and villages, museums and gardens, pubs, restaurants and accommodation." (not that you would want to stay anywhereelse of course)

And finally, if you wish to check out the long range weather forecast before you come, you can get a 15 day forecast for South Molton , or check out the weather for all of Devon and Cornwall.

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Updated June 2012