Ashburton

Ashburton thriving moorside town

Ashburton: thriving moorside town

Ashburton is often described as a ‘thriving’ community. It boasts the Ashburton cookery school which has created an international reputation for itself, and won several awards. The 2 delicatessens in town have also won awards, and stock a wide range of locally caught fish, cheeses, olives, pastries and mouth watering speciality foods to tempt every palette…

There are also several cafes (Francolin’s, the Green Ginger) a wine bar – no.14 – and a good restaurant (Moorish) in Ashburton.

Ashburton boasts a range of boutique shops and emporiums

Ashburton boasts a range of boutique shops and emporiums

The town specialises in antiques and if you’re looking for a unique item to add a special touch to your home then you’ll be able to spend many happy hours browsing an endless range of vintage goods in the town – there’s even a vintage clothes shop – and 2 emporiums containing eminently collectable pieces to suit every pocket. If vintage is not your thing, then there are new(!) clothes shops too, gift shops, and a spar and co-op – both very well stocked… The hardware store (Churches – painted pillar-box red, on the corner of North Street) is run by a lady with a background in interior design and is also worth a visit – watch out for the low ceiling and the original flagstones out the back – the building is several hundred years old.

If you fancy some pampering there is ‘The Haven’ and ‘Bijoux Beauty’ next door to the Indian take away on West street providing a range of massage, holistic and modern beauty treatments to help you unwind and look your best.

Coleton Fishacre

Coleton Fishacre

…Maybe you’d like to find out more about how to live off the land…? Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall moved to Devon to rear his own animals and grow his own food. It’s not surprising – Devon is home to many artisans, artists and crafts people creating a better of quality of life for themselves. Riverford organic vegetables – the biggest grower of organic produce in the country – is based just 4 miles from Ashburton. You can find out more about the ‘good life’ yourself at the Ashburton Husbandry School – Indulge in more rustic charm at ‘Odds and Suds’ a handmade soap shop -just 1 minute’s walk from the house.

Further afield is the Devon Guild of Craftsmen at Bovey Tracey  - an exhibition space for some of the finest crafts people in the southwest, with a very nice cafe.

One of the ancient fissured Tors on the moor

One of the ancient, fissured Tors on the moor

There are many lovely walks on Dartmoor which is just a 5 minute drive away. Have a look at the guides in the property, or simply go and explore the Tors – you can’t miss them – they’re those great lumps of fissured, weathered granite sticking out of the ground everywhere you turn on Dartmoor – great for climbing on and seeing sweeping views of the countryside. Try the excellent pub in Haytor Vale after you’ve visted Hay tor, but if you’d like a quieter walk – I recommend Bench tor – you can even scramble down to the river from there to bathe, and look down on birds flying in the wooded valley below. There’s even an hour walk that takes in views, stream and woodlands that starts just 200yds from the house – you needn’t even jump in the car!

Bantham beach

Bantham beach

The coast is about a half hour away – several beaches to choose from including Bantham, home of the Gastrobus and Burgh Island… Salcombe, Dartmouth and Sidmouth are all within striking distance. Why not drop into the Dartington Estate on the way – visit their fabulous grade 1 listed gardens with the colour-themed sunny border, or go to see a film in the Barn cinema on the site – or sample their English Tapas menu at the White Hart. From Dartington, Totnes is just 5 minutes away, and has a busy market on Friday – watch out for the ‘Narnia effect’. (Some clever graffiti artist recently added – twinned with Narnia – under the ‘Welcome to Totnes’ sign on the outskirts of the town!) If you take a trip, you’ll see what we mean!

Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo

…If gardens and historic buildings are your thing – castle Drogo – the last castle built in England – designed by Lutyens – is just half an hour away to the north… Moretonhampstead and Chagford – 2 thriving moorland towns are very close by.

The Horse in Moretonhampstead is our favourite place to spend the evening. Great pizzas (even I like them!) and cuisine, and good atmosphere. Trendy, yet unpretentious… In Chagford, The Three Crowns has recently been refurbished and offers stylish dining.

Cycle tracks at Haldon Forest

Cycle tracks at Haldon Forest

If you’re looking for more hussle and bussle, Exeter and Plymouth are both half an hour away along the A38. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum – RAMM – has recently been refurbished and won an award. The architecture is stunning with bright pink walls next to Queen Victoria’s bust. We hope she’s amused! There are many excellent exhibitions, and quirky curios… Just outside Exeter, on the southern side is Haldon forest (20 minute drive). It’s forestry commission land with cycle tracks and adventures up trees and also a cafe. You can hire bikes, or take your own.. Closer to home – 5 minutes by car, River Dart country park has a great range of adventure playground equipment for young people in a stunningly beautiful parkland setting. Not to forget that this summer the recreation ground in Ashburton will have it’s very own state of the art poured concrete skate park…

Phew! With so much to do, you’ll be happy to come home and flop into a comfy leather sofa at the end of the day with a glass of wine in one hand and the remote in the other! Or maybe a game of jenga with the kids…It is the holidays after all. Make the most of it by staying with us at High Oak House. Get in touch with us today.