Lynton and Lymouth in North Devon is one of the most stunning coastal trips you can take from the Gallery Lodges.
Its about a 40 minute drive and is best suited to non beach days.
The advantage of this area and the closer Hunters Inn is they offer a variety of walks sheltered from the South Westerly Winds and rain.
At Lynton the walk up to Watersmeet where there is a National Trust Cafe is in a steep wooded valley and the walk along the river is perfect on any day.
On wet and windy days this can provide the perfect escape from the weather and give you a superb walk for you money, and you may barely notice the weather above with the stunning sculpted oaks and crystal clear waters rushing by.
You can approach this walk from the car park at the bottom at Lymounth or at the National Trust car park at the top which gives a shorter walk.
Combine this walk with a walk through the Valley of the Rocks at Lynton and a drive from Lynton through the valley of the rocks along the coast road to Hunters Inn and Combe Martin.
Stunning but narrow so avoid with large cars or if you can’t reverse or in very precious cars.
This walk is also great on a sunny day as well and the harbour is a real treat to look round.
Other great walks are Hunters Inn where you can walk to the beach at the end of the river about 3 mile return and fairly sheltered. Combe Martin up to Hangman and back, great views.
Probably one of the most stunning coastal cycle rides in England. You can start the ride at the Hunters Inn at Heddon Valley in Exmoor National Park.
You can extend this ride by starting at Combe Martin, Ilfracombe or for really long ride from The Gallery Lodges at Braunton.
Starting at The Hunters Inn you may need a stiff drink to tackle the steep climb out of the valley. To avoid this park at the parking areas nearer to Lynton.
Once you have climbed the hill through the woods you get great views across the hill tops to the coast
Soon you reach the coast and the stunning vistas begin of the amazing North Coast.
Woody bay is a fun detour if it s hot for a swim, or hang on for Lee Bay further on.
The descent down to Lee Bay near Lynton (not the one near Wolacombe which is a great ride also) is a real treat and if like me the main focus on the trip is a great cafe don’t rely on the beautiful cafe at Lee Bay. They have quite a short season. But don’t worry there is a more reliable cafe just a mile up the next hill with a lovely garden with large portions of pudding pies.
Once down in Lee Bay climb up through the Valley of the Rocks past the Lee Abbey Christian retreat, probably the most scenic place to try your hand at some religious pursuits.
At Lynton check out the historic cliff railway and if you need to stretch your legs further descend the steep road into Lynmouth.
The way back is a real treat as from Woody Bay you take the old Victorian Carriageway which hugs the cliffs and bluffs all the way back to the pub at Heddon Valley.
From Heddon Valley there is also the stunning short walk out to Heddon’s Mouth Cove.
If you get it all right you get your rewards right here at the splendor of the Victorian Era Hunters Inn, which together with the Victorian Carriageway and Woody Bay formed the start of a very ambitious Victorian Holiday Resort to rival Ilfracombe.
Cycle ride starts at The Gallery Lodges and climbs over the tops through the back lanes into the views open up over the ocean.
Then the stunning drop down into Woolacombe. High speed and great fun but be careful. Then stop for a tea in Woolacombe or head back to Putsborough.
Extensions to this ride, from Woolacombe could go further North up to Mortehoe, Lee Bay, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin and back via Mullacott Cross then taking the long downhill all the way back to Braunton. Feeling fit then follow the coast road on the North Coast right up to Lynton, what a stunner, but a lot of ups and downs and a long way.
You can just about do this trail on a road bike but needs care and less speed. Stone trail pictured here, you need to go on the edge to avoid the bumpiest stones.
Heading up towards Putsborough.Trail gets a bit narrower here. After heavy rain could be tricky on your road bike, but I’ve done it. Worth it for the views.
Hang around at the beach cafe for the inevitable sunset at Putsborough. Paintings of these Putsborough sunsets at www.petecaswell.co.uk
If you come on another day it might look like this.
You could come back with your surf board and surf this magical beach the next day. Avoid bank holidays and busy weekends as the traffic can be a killer on the narrow lane access.
See if you can find this photo in the paintings below.
You can do a long walk round Baggy point starting at the Gallery Lodges, but it is a long one, involving the Coastal Path – Braunton Burrows, Saunton Beach, Down End Headland and Croyde Beach. Best to drive to the National Trust Car Park at the far side of Croyde and start there. Free maps in the Gallery Lodges of the local walks.
The path to the headland, Baggy point.
Don’t look down, its a long way.
2 cafes at the start of the walk and one at Putsborough to keep you fueled.
Short Option, follow the headland path and then loop back on the slightly higher path on the Croyde side of the bay.
Longer Option. From the headland pick up the path to Putsborough and then loop back to Croyde using the paths over the top of the hill.
Views back to Croyde bay on way to Putsborough
Heading towards Putsborough.
Looking up to Woolacombe from above Putsborough. Dilema, do you drop down into Puts for the cafe or climb the headland to head back to the cafes of Croyde??
View of Croyde Headland on the way back to Croyde.
This walk starts from the Gallery Lodges. Cross the main road, walk up West Meadow Road, turn right at the top and look for the alley on the left. Left at the top of the alley and you are on the path. Free maps at the Gallery Lodges so you don’t get lost.
Views looking back to Braunton, the estuary and Great Field as you climb the lane.
Views from the hill top over the other side to Croyde, Putsborough and Woolacombe.
Views over Croyde Bay and Lovely descent through the woods into Croyde
Head down into Croyde through the lanes. Stop off in the village for refreshment.
Easy Option Catch the bus back, or better catch the bus to Croyde and do the walk backwards.
Mid option. Retrace your way back using a slightly different walk for the Croyde side.
Long Option – Walk through the central path to the beach and back round the headland to Saunton Sands Hotel and back along the beach, through the dunes and back down sandy Lane and Moor Lane to the Gallery Lodges. This can also be done by parking at Saunton below saunton Sands Hotel or on the laybys and starting the walk from there making for a mid size walk.
Take a short trip to the Braunton Burrows when you stay at The Gallery Lodges.
We have free maps of this area in the lodges so you can explore it all.
One of the largest sand dune areas in Europe and a Unesco Biosphere reserve, its really worth a visit.
You can walk, cycle or drive to the start where there is a reasonably priced car park, about 1.5 miles away.
Take a walk from the car park and walk to a deserted stretch of saunton sands beach or do a loop to Crow Point. On the way – wild flowers, water slacks, WW2 relics from the DDay landings and the odd real life army excersize.
The area is home to a large number of resident and migratory birds along with the estuary. It is a superb place to bird-spot and hear the plethora of bird song. Throughout the seasons you will see all the different migratory birds as they pass through. Many of the birds you can also see at The Gallery Lodges as they feed in the meadows marshland and woodland which surround the lodges which encompasses 2 SSSI reserves. As if this wasn’t enough of Birds and wild flowers there is also the Braunton Marshes wetland system which adjoins the estuary and inlet to Braunton. More, there is more still, but that’s another blogg page.
At Last the beach and you can see there is no one here usually. Cycle to Saunton Sands Hotel from here for coffee and then back to The Gallery Lodges along the road.Go the other way round Crow point, but the sand gets a bit hard going. Possible but hard work…..could be worth it though!
Looking out to sea from the Dunes on the way back to the car park or walk up to Saunton Sands Hotel and catch the bus back to The Gallery Lodges .
You can start the Tarka Trail straight from the door of The Gallery Lodges. Cycling is really beautiful in the area around the new luxury lodges at Braunton near to Saunton. If you come to visit then do bring your bike. Free maps at the lodges for all the cycle routes in the area.
The most famous route is the tarka trail which you can start right from the door. The Tarka trail proper starts 1.4 miles from the Lodges but the best bit of the trail is the trail before you get there. If you take the back route to the Tark trail it is about 3 miles through the back lanes (very scenic) or the quick way through Braunton which is shorter but less scenic.
From the gates to the entrance of Pete Caswell’s Art studio where you will set off from, you cycle down Moor Lane where you approach the dunes through quiet country lanes with Wheat and Barley fields surrounding. Before you have even turned a pedal you pass on the right two SSSI reserves of ancient woodland and a special wetland habitat, Swan Pool.
Asparagus and market gardening dot the landscape and the sea air is bright and fresh. Dave the local farmer, opposite the Lodge’s entrance farms the asparagus and much of the amazing crops you see growing. At the bottom of Moor Lane hang a left onto Sandy Lane and head along more fields of asparagus and cauliflower with views of the dunes to the right. Depending on the time of year you might get treated to poppies and wild flowers in the fields or Daffodils which line the hedges from when this area was a major daffodil growing land.
The Braunton Burrows biosphere through which you cycle is a very special area of rare dune habitats and wet lands, profuse with wild flowers, orchids and many migrating wild birds. So on the way to the Tarka trail you might just want to stop off here. ( see later guide on this as this forms another bike trip or walk in itself)
Take the next left and the scenery changes again into wetlands and marshes which is Braunton Marshes, part of the Biosphere which also has Europe’s biggest sand dune reserve. Swans, rare birds, yellow irises can often be seen.
Keep going along this road. Look out to the right and you will see the toll road off to Crow point, another cycle ride for later on ( keep going straight on for the Tark trail). At the end of the road you come to a roundabout. To your right you see the Tarka trail which will take you to Barnstaple past the pub on the estuary and a lovely garden centre. From Barnstaple you can travel onto Northam and Bideford and Appledore. At certain times of year there is a ferry from Northam to Appledore which can add a fun dimension to your trip.
If you go left at this island you can go to the local Tescos, which makes this probably the most scenic trip to Tescos you can find.
We have free maps in the Lodges of the Tarka Trail and the local area for cycling, walking and exploring.
The Tarka trail will take you from Barnstaple onto Bideford and then onto Torrington and Meethif you are super fit.
Bikes can be hired in Braunton & Barnstaple.
From Braunton a cycle trail heads North also but its not a great trip so see my guide on cycling to Wolacombe and Morte Hoe later on.
New Hotel at Braunton near to Saunton Sands Golf club. In between Saunton sands and Braunton set in 7 acres of grounds are some new garden luxury garden suites in the ground of Pete Caswell’s art studio.
Its not exactly a hotel, but that is where the original concept came from. We selected the best ideas from travel accommodation around the globe and designed these lodges to fit out dreams of a perfect stay.
The plan for the buildings was based on a hotel room, but not any room, a suite, not any suite, a garden suite in the grounds of a hotel. I love staying in hotel rooms they have a great atmosphere (in the right hotel) and they are kind of sexy for that weekend get away break.
Unlike a holiday house they don’t remind you of home so you can shut off much more easily, relax and get into the holiday mood.
Just like a luxury hotel room we fitted them out beautifully with marble bathrooms and high class fittings. A big King Size bed (Super King size in suite 2) to spread out on comfortable new mattresses.
Then there is the downside to a hotel room, the noise, the corridors, the room service interruptions in the morning, the lack of fresh air, the views of the car park, getting up for breakfast, miniature rooms, and no where to make a quick snack, too cold, too hot, grumpy staff lack of parking…..Okay the list goes on and not all hotels have these downsides but we’ve all been there and been disappointed.
So when I designed these room, I made the bedroom so you could get to the bed from both sides, I put two windows in with great views to two sides and a nice high ceiling. Usb ports for the phone and a nice big wardrobe. Then just like a hotel room suite I put in a colourful comfortable sofa for two, looking straight out through floor to ceiling French door over the meadows outside. With a hardwood deck outside you can stroll out without even putting your slippers on. Why bother with slippers, just heat the floor, so we put in underfloor heating throughout and super insulated them so even in inter you will be nice and snug. Walnut floors and kitchen with oak doors and stainless fittings add a quality feel.
Over head we have a yacht sail to shade the deck should the sun get too intense, and by using hardwood and stainless yacht fittings you might get an inkling your on a boat, but without all that wobbling about (unless you’ve been on the booze again)
In the lounge area we fitted a nice little snack and drinks area for no charge, walnut cupboards and marble top with a little hob, toaster, kettle and full size fridge just in case you get hungry. In the corner is a small dining area and 32″ TV. Wi-Fi as well for free.
Well to get rid of the grumpy staff we omitted the reception area, just call in at the Art Studio for the key. And to stop you getting too drunk we removed the bar. To stop you getting to fat we took out the restaurant. Instead of a gym we gave you bit of exersize, a walk about 20 mins into Braunton to a large range of fun cafes, pubs and restaurants. This not only keeps you fit but walks off all that alcohol on the way back home to stop you getting a headache in the morning.
Room service went out the window so you can stay in bed all day without the cleaner joining you(however we do offer an optional bed change during your stay( for a small fee).
Children are banned so you won’t get squawking kids during the school holidays. 7 acres in all, fenced in securely with electric fences to keep the crowds away during the peak periods (its for the horses we have, but it does the trick at keeping the children and crowds out too)
Then I nearly forgot, the whole reason we built the lodges was somewhere to put my art collection in such lovely buildings. Just like a high class 5 start hotel with its little boutique art galleries and art projects, visiting artists etc, we did this backwards and the art gallery built the suites to house some of the best art work from the studio.
So if you have a little too much time on your hands or a bit too much money in your wallet, then you can indulge your self in a visit to the art gallery and see some of Pete Caswell’s beautiful art work from sunsets, yacht races to skiing and snowboarding paintings at all you favourite resorts in the Alps. You don’t even have to visit the gallery as we have thought of that as well. Each lodge has its own little display of Pete’s art to colour and brighten up you day. Pete’s paintings can be seen for sale on www.petecaswell.co.uk
Hotel Suite Number three is the ski lodge with all the latest skiing and snowboarding paintings (Do check first though as being an artist things are liable to change). If you are like me, in the middle of summer all you can think about is the first powder of the season. So here it is a lodge you can feel like you are skiing in all year without all the hard work. http://petecaswell.co.uk/wp2/product-category/ski-snowboard-paintings/
Lodge number two if for the inevitable getting older and less mobile. With a few assistive grab rails in the bathroom and a wheelchair ramp to the entrance and low threshold doors make mobility easier. All the thresholds are level with no nasty bumps or raised thresholds to trip you up. But wait there with a bit of clever design and custom manufacture we managed to discreetly hide all these extra features so you feel normal again with all those unsightly fittings spoiling the beauty of the bathroom. Take a look it looks beautiful.
I do hope you like the hotel garden lodges which I have built for you. Are they a hotel room, a hotel suite, a lodge or a holiday let. I’ll let you decide. In my mind they are a luxury hotel suite carefully placed and thoughtfully created in the middle of a beautiful hay meadow. If I stayed at a hotel again, this is how I would like it. They are chilled out with low fuss and hassle, peaceful and calming. Please help to keep it this way.