Choice Cottages | Self catering holiday accommodation | September 2012

Award winning Woolacombe Beach & Holiday Cottages

by Justin Beckley19. September 2012 11:20

Woolacombe Holiday Cottages

Woolacombe holds the 'England for Excellence Gold Award' for best family resort and was voted the Best British Beach in the Mail On Sunday. Many Woolacombe Holiday Cottages overlook it's award winning beach, which lies between Morte Point, Putsborough and Baggy Point (Croyde). This three-mile long stretch of golden sand, which has Dog Friendly sections, perfect for your Pet, has won both the Blue Flag and Premier Seaside Beach awards for it's cleanliness, water quality and facilities. Life guards ensure safe family swimming during the summer and surfers come from all over the country book self catering accommodation to enjoy the great waves and clean water.

Woolacombe itself is a lively village with great pubs like the Red Barn, restaurants and a range of quality self catering holiday cottages to stay. Visitors of all ages will find plenty to do away from the beach. There's a friendly, laid-back atmosphere here which visitors are sure to enjoy. Visit us and you'll see why people come back summer after summer.

Woolacombe is an ideal base from which to explore North Devon, but if you prefer to remain local, there is an amazing range of Adventure Sports including Surfing, Paragliding, Kayaking, Coasteering and much more. Take a boat trip to Lundy Island,or a coastal Wildlife Cruise, enjoy a day out on a Fishing boat or saddle up and go Horseriding across the sandunes and bridle ways.


The winter population is very small (around 1,000), but during the summer, large numbers of people come to the village for their holidays. Many are motivated to visit because of the excellent surfing conditions found locally. Choice Cottages has carefully selected self catering accommodation in Woolacombe, and most of the entertainment opportunities are aimed at tourists. A long-established attraction in the centre of the village was a crazy golf course, which featured North Devon landmarks for the holes, the unique model buildings being constructed from the various types of stone found in the local area. This attraction was demolished and rebuilt as a pirate themed crazy golf course in 2010.


Like a number of British beaches, it is privately owned and until 1948 the beach and much of the surrounding land was owned by the Chichester family, who acquired it in 1133 during the reign of King Henry I. When Lady Rosalie Chichester, the last of the line, died in 1949 it had been in her family’s possession for over 800 years. On her death the Chichesters' land in Woolacombe and Mortehoe and the family estate at Arlington near Barnstaple had been willed to the National Trust. However, the beach and some surrounding land had previously been purchased by Stanley Parkin, a family friend. Ray Parkin, the current chairman, has been closely involved with the development and management of the company since 1985 and took over as chairman on the death of his father in 1995.

During the Second World War, the U.S. Army Assault Training Centre was based at Woolacombe, where thousands of small boat crews and infantry practised amphibious landing assaults on the beach in preparation for the Invasion of Normandy, part of Operation Overlord. The long flat shape of the beach and the conditions of the hinterland were considered to closely resemble the Omaha Beach landing area.[8]

There is a stone memorial to the soldiers, dedicated in 1992[9], sited on the grassy headland at the northern end of the beach.


The main way to get to Woolacombe is by road. During the summer the roads, which are largely very rural and quite narrow, can become very congested as people queue up to get into one of the two large car parks which are situated close to the beach.

A bus service runs from the village to Barnstaple (303), Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and Mortehoe. The village had a joint railway station with Mortehoe on the Ilfracombe Branch Line which closed in 1970.

The South West Coast Path runs through the village, and gives access to the spectacular North Devon coast, with the walk out to and around Morte Point being particularly popular. There are several establishments in the area that provide opportunities for pony trekking. Some offer experienced riders the chance to ride along Woolacombe Sands.

Places to eat in North Devon | Top 10 North Devon Pubs

by Justin Beckley13. September 2012 10:25

With so many things to see and do in North Devon you will be spoilt for choice when deciding on a restaurant or pub to eat out at. Enjoy Devon's top food while discovering the best sandy beaches, all weather family attractions, great nights on the town and activities for all ages and abilities.

North Devon is famous for its wildlife and breathtaking countryside with much of the coast designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Our market towns are perfect for retail therapy, and you can reward yourself to some of North Devon’s award winning local food and drink.

The Staghunters Inn, Brendon, near Lynton

Readers of a sensitive disposition may not be suited to the pubs of Exmoor. In general, they are steeped in hunting culture, the walls bedecked with stag and fox heads – not to mention mysterious bits of equipment designed for the dispatching of large, furry wild animals. To this day, following the Devon and Somerset Staghounds – whether on horseback, quadbike or just a clapped out 4x4 – remains the principal means of entertainment in this desolate location. The Staghunters Inn, tucked away in the Doone Valley (setting of Lorna Doone), defines the type – good beer, good food and good dead animals on the walls. ? 01598 741222,

Hartland Quay Hotel, near Bideford

Humbly I propose that the treacherous and – in large parts – inaccessible north-west Devon coastline is the UK's most beautiful. And this pub-hotel is one of the few relatively easy places to experience it. Hartland is a desolate, wind-swept place but the surf, granite cliffs and rock-pooling are unparalleled. The pub itself is good, but the bill of fare is really not the point – although you might hope to have something frothy and fine from the Hartland Forge Brewery while there. This area is splendidly isolated and – unlike the beaches to the east (Saunton, Croyde and the like) – almost devoid of any organised tourist attraction other than the occasional red flash of a stonechat bouncing around in the gorse, or the primal thrill of watching your child net a bucket full of prawns. ? 01237 441218,

The Thatch, Croyde

The polar opposite to The Quay at Hartland, the Thatch is the hub of Croyde – North Devon's surfing mecca. London prices, and food that verges on the lacklustre, but who cares? This is the place to be – and heaven help you if you're 18 and you're anywhere else at peak season. Beach parties, "masked balls" and live bands complete the package. This is an unabashed party pub – don't go for a quiet pint in the summer months. ? 14 Hobbs Hill, 01271 890349,, mains £9.95-£12.95

The Poltimore Arms, Yarde Down, Brayford

When I first moved to Exmoor, I spent a lot of time looking for this pub: driving down winding, high-hedged lanes, happening upon mysteriously named crossroads, placating thirsty passengers. It is very, very hard to find. Perhaps satnav has now nixed what was this pub's USP. Not that it's not a great pub – it certainly is that – but there is something magical in the looking for it. Once there, you are greeted by the clatter of a generator – for the Polty is too remote to have mains electricity. Ales, hearty food and real fire are a given. A recent visit occasioned excellent pints of Betty Stogs, brewed by Skinner's of Truro, and a foaming glass of Litehouse, from the Forge Brewery. Ring ahead to make sure they are open (hours are somewhat eccentric) and – of course – for directions. Recommended for Sunday lunch (£7.95).?• 01598 710381,, mains £9.95-£16.95

The London Inn, Molland

A genuine Exmoor village local. Virtually every building in this quiet, disparate collection of late medieval buildings is owned by the Molland Estate, which has a policy of not letting to weekenders. This means that there is a genuine sense of community here missing from so many pubs, not to mention two real fires and fiendish local ales including Exmoor Beast – an animalistic 6.6% dark porter. This last goes well with chef-landlord Stuart Mallen's famous Rasputin fish soup (£10.95), made with cod and ling sourced locally from the north Devon coast. Do NOT miss the 15th-century church, which escaped the modernising tendencies of the Victorians and has original "horsebox" pews, as well as any number of memorials including one bearing this inscription: "To the memory and to record the disastrous deaths of Thomas and Sarah Pincombe and their family of six, all of whom perished by shipwreck together with 187 of their fellow passengers. The calamitous event happened on the Manacle Rocks near the St Keverne coast of Cornwall on the night of the 3rd May 1855, within six hours after the lamented victims had left the harbour of Plymouth, as emigrants on their voyage to Quebec." ? 01769 550269,, mains £6.95-£10.95

The Duke of York, Iddesleigh

Steeped in and seeping bookishness, the Duke is best known as the pub where – no doubt over several pints – Michael Morpurgo dreamed up the story for War Horse. But before that, when poet Sean Rafferty was in charge, it was also Ted Hughes' local. Now a Camra-listed real ale specialist set in an impossibly picturesque thatched hamlet, you will be hard pushed to find any cause for grumbling other than one's natural inclination to do so. The menu is extensive but in reality the legendary steak and kidney pudding is the only option – best accompanied by what should be a supremely hoppy, copper-coloured pint of Tawny Owl from the Cotleigh Brewery. ? 01837 810253,, four courses £26

The Grampus, Lee Bay, Ilfracombe

The Grampus in Lee Bay, on the north coast, is soon to be the local of Damien Hirst and partner Maia Norman, who are buying a property in the village (perhaps that's why the sheep in the area have a permanently anxious look). The wine list is provided by the owner of the wonderful Rhône vineyard St Cosme. Bill, one half of the couple who own the place, is a noted musician, meaning that Friday nights have a tendency to evolve into fairly unrestrained hoe-downs. ? 01271 862906,

The Rock Inn, Georgeham

It has more of the feel of a home counties gastropub, so you might wonder how the Rock Inn found itself in the tiny north Devon village of Georgeham (pronounce it George-ham if you want to fit in with the locals) – like a Londoner who came for a weekend break and never left. This 17th-century pub is none the worse for that, however, with great burgers (£8.95), a famous fish pie (£11.95) and five very local cask ales to enjoy in the fireside bars in winter or the sunny conservatory on brighter days. ? 01271 890322,

The Royal Oak, Withypool

Just across the county border in Somerset is a germane spot to end an Exmoor walk as ever-present barman Jake pulls a fine pint of Exmoor Ale, brewed in nearby Wiveliscombe. Genuinely excellent food, including my favourite Anglo-Italian dish of lasagne and chips. The Barle Valley really is heart-stoppingly beautiful – if a tad wet. So the roaring fire and warm flagstones of the bar are always a sight for sore eyes. If you're accompanied by children, you could walk down to the village shop and tea room for an ice lolly. ? 01643 831 506,, mains £9.95-£14.95

The Bridge Inn, Dulverton

Also just across the Devon/Somerset border, and on the banks of the Barle, sits the charming Bridge Inn. London types dreaming of Marylebone's MEATLiquor will want to chomp through the Bridge Burger (£8.95), with a generous patty prepared up the hill at Gerald David's butchery, famed for his aged Devon Ruby beef. Unusually for the area, several Belgian brewers are represented in the fridge, including Duvel and Chimay. Opposite the pub entrance is Farthings, the best farm shop on Exmoor, with terrific meat and vegetables grown on the owner's farm. ? 20 Bridge St, 01398 324130,, mains £8.95-£15

Sunday 21st October 2012 is FoodFest in Barnstaple

This year FoodFest promises to be bigger and better than ever and a real foodie treat. Now in its 5th year, this popular food event attracts over 60 exhibitors and 8000 visitors in one action packed date of taste delight.

We are delighted to announce that celebrity chef Michael Caines MBE, will once again be joining local chefs on stage giving live demonstrations of how to cook great meals using seasonal, local produce. The Pannier market will also be packed with stalls from local farmers and producers, all keen to share a taste of North Devon.

One of the highlights of the day will be announcement of the North Devon Food Award winners.  And this is where you, the public can have your say by voting for your favourite.  Throughout August Local pubs, hotels, restaurants, cafes or food and drink producers will vying for votes from members of the public in a variety of categories.   

About Choice Cottages

Choice Cottages specialise in providing quality self catering holiday cottages to let in Devon, Somerset, Cornwall & Dorset in the UK.

We are an expanding family run company with offices in Bideford, Barnstaple, and Braunton and have a friendly, experienced team providing guests with the personal touch.

We have a wide portfolio of quality hand-picked self catering cottages to let in the South West and are proud of our high levels of service to holiday makers.

These well-appointed Devon Cottages will offer you and your family, fantastic access to the designated areas of outstanding natural beauty and inspiring scenery in North Devon and the best weather in England.

We currently specialise in the West Country Counties with many properties in the popular Seaside areas of: Croyde Bay, Saunton, WoolacombeLee Bay, Westward Ho!, Appledore, Bideford, Teignmouth, Lynton and Lynmouth. In addition, a selection of properties are available for the Country and town locations of: Barnstaple, Braunton, GeorgehamExmoorHartland and Torrington

With hundreds of hand-picked properties to choose from, you are assured of the best of quality, from luxury Holiday Cottages to romantic getaways, pet friendly properties and large traditional thatch Holiday Homes - there is something for everyone’s budget.

Choice Cottages is North Devon's Premier self catering holiday cottage letting agent for owners. We have a growing list of clients who have chosen us to market their holiday home for rent and to deal with their bookings, so why not join us now.

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