19 independent reviews for Devon self catering cottage, England

Reviews for Devon self catering cottage, England

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review 9 Apr 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Stargazing with my son and spotting returning swallows for the first time this year.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Worth taking own provisions or shopping on the way as supermarkets not close - it wasn't a problem for us and we visited Fiona's farm shop just up the road for milk & veg'.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Ian & Maggie are achieving all three. The wildlife is rich and the area beautiful. We were very happy to support their endeavours.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a great week. Truly relaxing, very peaceful - we haven't slept so well in a very long time - great to slow down and soak up the beautiful countryside. Ian made us feel very welcome and the homemade cake was delicious - thanks Ian.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Sue - thanks for the great review and delighted that you had a good unwind here. And a really big thanks for spotting the first swallows of the season, always a good moment. Our big project is the work on the land to make the whole farm as nature friendly and diverse as the nature reserve, and it is you and all our visitors who make that possible. Thanks for coming and we hope to welcome you again sometime. Ian & Maggie

review 12 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Spending time here is a great opportunity to reconnect with nature and discover this beautiful part of Devon. The farm is located in a peaceful, rural setting yet has plenty of scope for activities nearby (or indeed on its own 21 acres). It offers a precious chance to relax and unwind - with no noise or light pollution, you will sleep like a baby! - and is the perfect antidote to city living.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I stayed in Otter Cottage, which was clean, warm, and well-equipped. You might wish to bring a few basics to get you started, but otherwise there are many opportunities to support the excellent local food shops, and good farm shop just minutes away (best eggs ever!). The view from the cottage's main bedroom out over the pond, with Dartmoor in the distance, is stunning.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Maggie and Ian are genuinely committed to minimal environmental impact tourism, and it shows everywhere you look - from the reconditioned bikes for free local use, the extensive recycling facilities, the farm's energy policy and use of sustainable building materials, to the judicious management of their Popehouse Moor nature reserve and the clutch of awards they consistently bring home. They are welcoming, enthusiastic, and full of ideas for great days out and activities in the local area. I travelled to Devon without a car, and had a great time exploring 'Tarka the Otter' country by bike, bus and on foot - perfectly do-able.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The highlight for me was several sightings of a beautiful kingfisher by the river (plus the stargazing, the owls, the fresh air...)

review 14 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was all lovely and relaxing. Borrowing the bikes and cycling around the countryside was great fun!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

One evening we had dinner at a wonderful local pub called the Duke of York - highly recommended.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes definitely. They made it really easy to recycle most waste and they have wind and solar generated energy. It's a very rural area so most of the eating, shopping and sightseeing we did supported small local businesses.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good. Great for families and for getting away from it all.

Read the operator's response here:

Hello Bronwen Delighted you had a great time here. It was lovely to meet you and I love it when guests make use of the bikes and 'keep it local'. What better destination than the Duke of York! Sorry to have missed you when you left - I was in last minute panics getting the new Balebarn Lodge ready for it's very first arrivals. Hope to see you again. Ian

review 26 Mar 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Relaxing in a peaceful setting with buckets of very fresh air.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Walking shoes and map to explore lots of good walks. Plenty of hills and views and if the weather is wet and windy the Tarka trail is good and mainly sheltered.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we hope so.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good.

Read the operator's response here:

Hello Wendy & Bob It was lovely to have you back here again and great to read that you had a great holiday. We had the first swallows back yesterday, so it really does feel like we are getting into summer again. We do keep a stock of local OS maps here for anyone wishing to explore, and have even created some interesting art from local OS maps for the new Balebarn eco-lodge which is now open. We really do appreciate your staying with us as it is the income from guests that allows us to maintain the land here for wildlife and preserve this little corner of Devon as best we can. We look forward to seeing you here again one day. Ian

review 30 Sep 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The peaceful comfortable cottage and surrounding green and fertile countryside. with a good variety of walks and small market towns nearby. Our first holiday with the dog who soon felt very much at home.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Wear good waterproof shoes.Go to Hatherleigh market on Tuesdays for good local produce.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We were able to use local shops and producers almost all of the time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent.

review 23 Oct 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Bike riding part of the Tarka trail and the Granite way, great fun!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Consider going slightly out of season, it was nice a quiet and not crowded everywhere. Don't leave it to the last minute to find somewhere to eat / get petrol though!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, there is a wildlife reserve where we stayed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Nice and relaxing.

review 27 Sep 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Lovely long walks, yummy homemade scones on arrival.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring books to read.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Perfect for what we were after - a relaxed, no frills, eco break.

review 27 Feb 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Meeting Ian and appreciating his eco development and ideas. Watching the sun come up over the nature reserve! Maggie's wonderful homemade scones.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We had large dogs so the enclosed garden was not serviceable for us - low fence and unfortunately no access from the rear of the cottage into the garden. We stayed in winter so needed a torch - no light pollution outside - lovely!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Ian & Maggie have tried very hard to reduce the impact on every aspect on the environment from visitors. We visited the local farm shop to buy supplies for our stay and spent our evenings visiting the village and eating good local food.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Would recommend it for people concerned about their impact on the environment and looking for peace and quiet with a very interesting host! Look out for the newly renovated eco barn conversion (in the process of being finished) over looking the nature reserve - should be fab!

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for taking the time to comment Ghislaine and glad you had a good time. And, on behalf of the local community, thanks for shopping locally. It makes a real difference to businesses and on a short stay it would be so easy just to come with supermarket supplies. I suppose because we know Muttley won't leave the farm we haven't really thought about constraining larger dogs outside. Probably the lodges would be better there - the small ones have enclosed verandas and the bigger one we supply a mesh gate where needed. We'll try to remember to bear that in mind when advising people what to book - thanks for pointing it out.

review 18 Feb 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The lovely setting, sun rising over the lakes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take slippers as the stone floors are very cold.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes recycling and alternative energy supply with wind turbine. I did buy some milk and goats cheese at the local shop.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very enjoyable.

review 16 May 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was lovely to be greeted with a fresh plate of scones and vase of fresh flowers in the property.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This review is for the accomodation only as the holiday itself was independent of the holiday operator.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Not enough perhaps. We found it difficult (impossible) to purchase any supplies from the local Farm Store as it opened after we had gone out for the day and closes early, before we were back. Had to resort to Tescos for our groceries, which is not what we'd hoped. Really have to rely on a car for travel in this rural place if you want any control of your schedule. Overall, the place is certainly making big efforts to Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. The addition of a new wind-turbine will help this goal.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good holiday in a beautiful place. The accommodation is centrally situated for many convenient day trips, even into Somerset and Cornwall. Friendly and relaxing stay guaranteed.

Read the operator's response here:

Hello Emma, Glad to hear you had a good holiday and thanks for your review. Really sorry to hear you found it hard to get to the farm shop. Arriving on Easter Sunday and leaving the Sunday after the Royal Wedding bank holiday meant you had an unfortunate number of ‘closed’ days during your stay! And yes, the farm shop does close fairly early (4:30 I think) even on working days as it is only a small part of their farm routines. The pace of life in rural communities can be frustrating when you are used to more metropolitan services. To other visitors reading this I’d say bear Emma’s comments in mind, and if you’re keen to buy local remember you have the farm shop phone number in your pre-arrival and arrival info, and they will take a phone order and deliver free of charge. We’ll accept it for you if you’re out. We also usually have a small stock of their pies etc in an on-site freezer. And do please ask if something’s not what you expected. If you’re unfamiliar with an area you’re likely to feel your choice is restricted to Tesco, but local knowledge will usually offer alternatives – we could have recommended closer more locally-owned shops than Tesco, even if not a farm shop, almost any day of the year. Finally, you’re quite right about cars Emma – a car gives you flexibility and freedom, especially if you want to explore further afield. Almost all our guests still come by car. But for those few reading this who are considering car free, please check out our ‘pros and cons of car free’ on our website, where you’ll also find a week long suggested itinerary featuring day trips using the 315 bus route through the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Maggie & Ian PS Thanks for your patience with preparations for the wind turbine over the Easter period – it’s up and turning now, making our power local as well as green!

review 26 Jun 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The peace and tranquility of the farm.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you want to take dogs they are warmly welcomed here however, there are no walks within walking distance so if your dogs need proper walks then you will have to drive a fair way. The garden area is south facing with no shade so sun worshippers will love it. Take insect repellant.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

It minimised impact on environment as Ian and Maggie have visitors recycle all waste, the hot water is supplied from solar panels. However, as there are no dog walking areas locally we had to drive every day so that outweighed the benefits I believe. I suppose it could benefit local people in a much as there is a farm shop up the road but we were not impressed by the quality of the eggs especially as they were from the farm itself.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A warm welcome and warm scones with blackberry jam was provided by Maggie, the cottage is nice and cool and a great place to get away and do nothing. If we returned we wouldn't take the dogs so that we could just relax.

Read the operator's response here:

Hello Debbie, I’m glad you had a relaxing holiday. And now you come to mention the sun, (if that’s not tempting fate for a British summer!) I think we’ll get a parasol for the garden table in Otter – thanks for the feedback. I’m really sorry if you didn’t find enough information about dog walks. From your review I wasn’t sure whether you wanted to walk ‘from the door’ without driving at all. If so, it’s a fair point - you’ll be on the lanes for a mile and a half down into Hollocombe before you hit its many footpaths and bridle ways. And I have to confess I usually take the car – mostly to avoid the climb back up. But I’m concerned that it wasn’t that, and that somehow we didn’t get across those and the other opportunities nearby (Winkleigh Wood, Hollocombe Moor, Heywood Wood, Flashdown plantation are all within 3 miles by road and are ‘open access’ and we also put leaflets about walks around Winkleigh village in the accommodation – maybe it was missing). If so, please accept our apologies. Dog owners make up a big proportion of our guests and we want you to have a good holiday. Our webpages usually feature a monthly ‘Muttley’s choice’ walk, with notes (and a google map). I’ll make a point of checking we’ve got the really local ones covered. I imagine those 2 dogs of yours can eat up the miles though, so maybe we should also be developing route notes for longer half- or full-day walks that are still local.

review 31 Oct 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cycling on the Tarka Trail and also riding on Devon bridleways.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This is a fairly tranquil part of Devon - great if you want to chill out/slow down. Pack you wellies and your walking boots!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The information at the farm about local shops - and their practical support for people who wanted to bike/walk/use public transport - were really helpful.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a very relaxing week away from city life, in a beautiful part of the countryside. It's a place that I'd like to return to...

review 7 Feb 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The cold! But the lovely wood-burning stove of Otter Cottage made it fun. Actually, all of it was great. Visiting the SSSI with Ian and Maggie - plus their great hospitality. Visiting the local area - Dartmoor, Bideford, Great Torrington on the bus. Local pubs. Long walks and cycle rides - great to have the use of the reconditioned bikes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Our family (one member pregnant, one member only 3 years old!) managed fine without a car in temperatures of up to minus 9 C. The bus service from Winkleigh is great to get to the bigger towns and amazingly, always on time! If it had rained, it would have been more difficult but we would have managed. Perhaps ensure you have some indoor 'games', books, DVDs etc to entertain kids just in case - although I am sure Ian and Maggie would lend some of these - especially for younger children.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. We walked, cycled and used public transport. We shopped and ate locally and bought local produce. Can thoroughly recommend the quiches and cakes at the farm shop!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was exactly what we needed coming from overseas at this time. I think to rent out the lodges in the summer with a larger group of family / friends would be the perfect holiday and we hope to manage this in the future. Finally, just a word about Maggie, Ian and the kids - they couldn't be nicer, more helpful hosts and make you feel so welcome. We wish them well in their future endeavours with the farm.

review 2 Jun 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The 'otter cottage' was the most memorable part of our holiday and a day trip to the Lundy Island was the most exciting trip that we did. To be greeted by the owners with Devon scones on arrival was a nice touch as well.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Although the farm is lovely, there is not much to do there when it rains, so be prepared to travel around and you will be rewarded... Clovelly, Dartmoor and many other places offer so much entertainment. You will be spoiled for choice.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I do not believe that our holiday benefited local people, with exception of the owners of the farm and the pub owners (delicious food and most of them are dog friendly pubs) but both Maggie and Ian are very keen on developing tourism which has a minimal impact on the surrounding area. I liked the fact that I was not depriving local people of the housing nor pricing them out. The holiday lets offered by the farm are only suitable for that purpose. Owners were very keen on recycling and providing future improvements.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a great time and really good rest. The farm is amazing and very quiet.

review 20 May 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Living in the countryside, far from hectic lifestyle that has become the norm. No human-related sounds interfering with those of nature/farm at Otter cottage - bliss. Owners Maggie and Ian were an inspiration to be with. Discovered their nearest Devon Wildlife Trust reserve: Halsden, which was beautiful - on the river Torridge, otter country. So green and lush with spectacular views and rich biodiversity. Spectacular.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Enjoy the immediate surroundings - don't plan to do car journeys to Dartmoor/Exmoor etc. - best to recharge and walk/cycle/visit farm shop for meals/fantastic desserts/cakes/coffee/tea and friendly chats with others staying at the farm and the locals/farm shop owners. Their rhubarb crumble and clotted cream was delicious. If you do drive, best stick to the B roads - the minor roads, especially when you are not used to them (high banks/hedgerows limits visibility and there are loads of blind bends, making driving especially dangerous - I nearly had an accident with a transit van).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - I could have done more by not attempting to see as much as possible but rather to focus primarily on the local area and the wealth of experiences it has to offer, even though off the beaten trail.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a great get-away/retreat. I definitely want to re-visit and soon.

review 20 Feb 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our 20-month old son loved all the farm animals and being able to run around freely. We loved the traffic-free open spaces, the beautiful view from our living room, and the enclosed verandah which meant we could sit inside drinking tea while our son played outside safely.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go and do the Granite Way cycle path which starts at Okehampton railway station. It is fantastic! Bikes can be hired from the station and they even have a snazzy child-trailer which can be attached onto a bike, which fits two toddlers in it. Obviously it's up to you how you stop them from fighting while in there, though. Having a car makes it much easier to access the local attractions - we would have felt stuck without ours.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The accommodation is well set up for recycling, and the cottages make use of environmentally friendly lighting and heating. We did all our food shopping in the local area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a great time. Ian and Maggie were really friendly and helpful, even providing warm home made scones for our arrival! The family were happy to chat with us about the farm and the local area, and were really generous with the use of wellies and various other resources (bikes, toys etc). Thanks, we loved it!

review 24 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Just relaxing, nice scenery & good weather for autumn!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Depends when you go - wellies for winter, walking boots for the moors. Expect to encounter some VERY tiny lanes if travelling about.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, guess it helped the owners! Went to local pubs & bought local produce.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very relaxing, & cosy cottage...just what we wanted.

review 18 Mar 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Enjoying the fantastic meat pies from the farm shop, the fresh eggs brought to us one morning and the delicious scones when we arrived...in conclusion, the food!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel by car, even though it's less environmentally friendly than the train. We went by train, and as it rained all week, we were a bit stuck, whereas having a car would have given us more options. Having said that, Ian is very happy to give the odd lift to the pub or station, which helped a lot.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - we bought a lot of Devon produce and patronised the local pub! The cottage was heated by electric heaters which could be switched on and off individually. There are recycling facilities and the firewood supplied is from a sustainable source. The availability of good fresh local produce minimized food miles.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A really restful break in a peaceful, pretty place - our enjoyment was only lowered by the rain, and that's nobody's fault!

review 16 Jul 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I chose a short break and ended up in the best possible place. A fabulous well equipped cottage, with wonderful views and total peace and tranquility.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If it is a escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life you are after - and you enjoy the countryside - then this is the place.....bring plenty of books - put your feet up and relax.......

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We frequented the local farm shop for supplies, which were fresh and mostly organic (something that particularly appeals to us). The farm also encourages recycling and has a nature reserve in its grounds, though unforturnately because of the wet weather (and forgetting my wellies) I did not have chance to see this part of the extensive grounds - (another excuse to go back!!!)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I would rate this holiday 10 out of 10 - and we will definately return and recommend it to others.

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