Dramatic North Devon is a land of windswept giants, vertical cliffs, pretty fishing villages and spring gardens.
As a Cornish girl born and bred in the deep south west, it’s a hard pill to swallow when admitting that Devon is a wonderful place. The South Hams are a leafy, rolling Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beaches are pristine, there is Dartmoor’s wild and always-surprising expanse of barren beauty, and then there’s the north coast.
Here, vertical cliffs meet with the white-wash of messy surf, waterfalls bring the freshwater of the forest to salty beaches and cobbled villages cling desperately to steep hills, eventually falling into the sea.
A walk around the Hartland Peninsula is one which will bring everything together that North Devon has to offer.
Walking north from the Hartland Quay Hotel and you’ll traverse across the edge of cliffs, through ancient ruins and with views for days. Turning inland from here and the track ambles through gnarly and ancient trees, over trickling rivers and, eventually, to a small village. From here we followed the public footpath signs through country lanes and over fields to Docton Mill, a beautiful RHS Partner Garden with a tearoom shaded by spring flowers.
From Docton Mill, the path wanders peacefully by a river all the way to the coast, where it drops off to a crashing waterfall and the beach. The return to your car and Hartland Quay is just a 10 minute walk north across meadows on the South West Coast Path.
After getting back to our car, we drove to the pretty village of Clovelly for a wander down the steep cobbled streets to the harbour. As we were late in the day, nothing was really open other than the pubs, so we didn’t stay too long! Entry to the village is £7.50 before 4.30pm, and free after 5pm
Where to stay
For a small campsite with a family atmosphere, look no further than Broad Park Campsite. This beautiful place to rest your head is set on a smallholding, with alpacas, 200 happy chickens, ponies and goats, was the retreat we were very much looking for. The couple who own and run it do so with a deep love of their property and meeting people, and they’ll even deliver you six fresh eggs for your breakfast. A pitch with no electricity is £15 per night.