Andrew and Jill
There is evidence of habitation on the site as far back as 1351 but we moved to Ramstorland over fifteen years ago because we just loved the valley it is in. A typical Devonshire view, bathed in sun from the south facing aspect. Stoodleigh village is a short walk away, boasting St Margret's 15th Century church and the Inn, but you will need to get used to our hills. We also love the central Devon location, so much is available within a short drive. We have brought up our daughter here which has helped us amass a collection of favourite haunts.
Last year we were able to expand our farm with these new cottages so that we can share our experience with you. Below are a few photos that we have taken and below that a longer list of recommendations. There are more in the cottages and we are on hand if you need any more advice. Our daughter also runs our Information Chalk Board with regular updates of local activities and all important tide times for the North Devon beaches. We do hope that you enjoy Ramstorland barns as much as we do.
Family Eating Places
Stoodleigh Inn, with over 90 year’s history, is our local village Inn and is a 10 minute walk away. It has a basic but cosy bar area with a log fire, real ales, pool table, darts and an attractive garden with children’s play area. It is open for Monday lunch, Thursday to Sunday Evening and Sunday lunchtime. Food is available at most times, call Lizzie on 01398 351357 to confirm. Note that Lizzie only takes cash.
The Mount Pleasant Inn, Nomansland, near Tiverton has a pretty beer garden at the rear with play area; home cooked food and a kids menu.
The Swan, Bampton (5 miles): voted Devon’s best gastro pub 2014 and Best Trencherman’s Pub 2016 has two AA rosettes for culinary excellence and is well worth a visit.
The Mason’s Arms is an award winning one star Michelin restaurant, situated in the village of Knowstone (9 miles) providing exceptional local cuisine.
The Bridge Inn, Dulverton, dates from 1845 and sits on the picturesque River Barle. They pride themselves on cask ales, craft beers and gins! They have a good menu that includes their famous pies served with mash, peas and traditional gravy.
Woods Bar & Restaurant, Dulverton, offering excellent food and has featured in the Good Pub Guide, Top Ten Pubs in the UK, 2014, 2015 & 2016.
There is a children's playground in the village, 10 minutes walk away.
Abbotshood Cycle Hire, located at The Globe Inn, Sampford Peverall. Tel: 01884 821214.
The canal at Tiverton provides 11 miles of safe cycling for all the family with a number of eating opportunities along the way. For the nature lover, there is lots to see – all the usual ducks, swans and coots and if you are very lucky you may catch a glimpse of a kingfisher. There is a great Information Centre showing the history of the canal at the Canal Basin in Tiverton.
Tarka Trail Cycle Centre, Barnstaple. Telephone 01271 324202. The Tarka Trail is named after Henry Williamson's famous novel “Tarka the Otter”. The story was based around many of the locations along the Trail, which follows the route of a disused railway line between Braunton and Meeth. With up to 21 miles of safe, level and traffic-free riding on offer, a bike is the perfect way of exploring the area.
The Tarka Trail Cycle Centre is conveniently located beside Barnstaple Railway Station with large inexpensive parking and is the perfect start point for exploring North Devon by bike. There is an extensive range of over 130 cycles available. Therefore, there are bikes to suit everyone! It is advised that you phone ahead to book your bikes in peak times, such as the summer holidays.
Haldon Forest Park, whether you want a quiet gentle stroll or an exhilarating mountain biking experience, there's something for everyone at Haldon Forest Park, 3500 acres of woodland just fifteen minutes from Exeter. Cycle hire can be found just past the Ranger's Office. For bookings and more information call 01392 833768.
Beach with Child Friendly Access
Woolacombe (approximately one hour’s drive from Stoodleigh). Voted the number one beach in the UK by Trip Advisor (2016). This three-mile long stretch of golden sand is renowned for its cleanliness, water quality and facilities. Life guards ensure safe family swimming during the summer and surfers come from all over the country to enjoy the great waves and clean water.
Other beaches wa can recommend
Combesgate Beach is a lovely secluded beach located at the far east end of Woolacombe with some attractive rock pools ideal for children, its our favorite. Beware – the beach is only accessible between low and mid tide. Please do ask if you need details of tide times. Parking is above on the cliffs and it is advised that you get there early in the summer months, as it can get busy. There are also steep steps down to the beach, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
Barricane Beach is next to Combesgate Beach. It has a lovely cafe in the summer months selling ice creams and snacks and it benefits from ramped, no step, access. From early evening (provided the weather is good) they sell authentic Sri-Lankan curries. You are also permitted to bring your own beverages. This is well worth a visit.
Lee Bay is situated two miles to the west of Ilfracombe. At low tide it remains a tranquil spot with its many rock pools and small sandy beach accessed through a secret rocky passageway. But check tide times as it floods at high tide.
Nearest Swimming Pool
Exe Valley Leisure Centre, Tiverton, 01884 234900, is open daily. It has two pools: a main and a learner pool, which is shallow and ideal for young children.
Nearest Tennis Courts
Also Exe Valley Leisure Centre. It has four outdoor courts.
Tivoli, Fore Street, Tiverton. 01884 255554. Larger cinemas can be found in Taunton (Odeon: 0333 014 4501) or Exeter (The Vue: 0345 308 4620).
Favourite Walks Nearby
Please see the information provided in the welcome pack which details some recommended local walks.
Westexe Park, Tiverton. There are swings etc. for the children. In the summer there is a large open air paddling pool.
North Devon is renowned for its excellent surfing. The best beaches for surfing are:
Saunton Sands - great for kite surfing too
Westward Ho! - great for kite surfing
There are outlets at each beach where you can hire surf gear.
Wimbleball Lake, Brompton Regis, Somerset, 01398 371460. Nestled in the hills of Exmoor National Park, you can try canoeing, fishing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding and wind surfing.
Tiverton Golf Club, Post Hill, Tiverton, 01884 252187. Visitors are welcome but it is strongly recommended that you contact the club to check what days and times are advisable to play. If you know your golf you will know of the other fabulous courses to the north, including England's oldest course at the Royal North Devon.
Tiverton Parkway Golf Driving Range, Sampford Peverell, Tiverton, 01884 820825.
The Tiverton Canal Co, The Wharf, Canal Hill, Tiverton, Devon. EX16 4HX, 01884 253345
offers horse drawn barge trips down the very picturesque Grand Western Canal. It is highly recommended. You can also hire canoes and rowing boats.
Stoodleigh's church: St Margaret's is well worth a visit. It was constructed in the 15th century and was extensively restored in 1782. It contains a Norman font which is likely to have come from an earlier church in the parish where the first recorded incumbent was installed in 1264.
Exeter Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter is well worth a visit. The present building was complete by about 1400 and has several notable features including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.
Recommended Visitor Attractions
National Trust Properties:
Knighthayes Court: The nearest National Trust property can be found at Knighthayes Court (6 miles). Address: Knighthayes Court, Tiverton, Bolham EX16 7RQ, 01884 254665.
One of the finest surviving Gothic Revival houses, built in the lush landscape of mid-Devon, Knighthayes Court is a rare example of the work of the eccentric and inspired architect William Burges.
Other National Trust properties can be found at:
Killerton House (16 miles), Broadclyst, Exeter, Devon, EX5 3LE, 01392 881345.
Arlington Court (33 miles), Arlington EX31 4LP, 01271 850296
Barrington Court (38 miles), Barrington, Ilminster TA19 0NQ, 01460 241938
Castle Drogo (46 miles), Drewsteignton, near Exeter, Devon, EX6 6PB, 01647 433306.
Other Houses and Gardens of Interest
RHS Rosemoor, Rosemoor, Great Torrington EX38 8PH, is an enchanting 65 acre garden which offers year round interest. There is something for everyone to enjoy from the stunning gardens to the woodland walks. There is a family friendly picnic area and activity area in the woods along with a range of seasonal children's trails and lots of exciting activities for the whole family.
Marwood Hill Gardens, Marwood, Barnstaple, EX31 4EA, is a 20 acre private garden with three lakes set in a valley tucked away in North Devon only 4 miles from Barnstaple. Created in the late 1950's the gardens are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees and experience the views and peaceful atmosphere.
The Castle Hill Estate, Filleigh, near South Molton, Barnstaple EX32 0RH, is an early 18th century landscape park and woodland of around 225 hectares, with 20 hectares of beautiful gardens and pleasure grounds. There is a further 1300 hectares of agricultural land.
Broomhill Sculpture Garden, Muddiford, Barnstaple, EX31 4EX, lies in one of the most glorious valleys in North Devon surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland and bound by its own stream. Established in 1997 it has grown into one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture in the south west of England.
Cothay Manor, Greenham, Near Wellington, Somerset, 01823 672283, is said to be the finest example of a small medieval manor in England. Cothay dates back to the 14th century, and has been lovingly restored with period furniture and fabrics by the current owners. It is advised that you phone ahead to check opening times.
Bickleigh Mill was built in the late 18th century and was milling corn until the devastating floods of the 1960s. The mill workings and water wheel are still on display. In 1973 the Mill and its land underwent a major change when it became the Devonshire Centre with a large craft and gift shop, restaurant and the mill.
Tiverton Castle, Tiverton, 01884 253200. Originally built in 1106 by order of Henry I and later rebuilt and much enlarged in the 13th and 14 centuries, Tiverton was once the home of the powerful medieval Earls of Devon. With later additions and alterations down the centuries all period of architecture from medieval to modern can be seen with beautiful walled gardens. It is advised that you phone ahead to check opening times.
Devonshire Railway Centre, Bickleigh, Near Tiverton, 01884 855671, boasts a range of indoor and outdoor railway themed attractions. These provide fantastic entertainment in all weathers.
Visitors ride on two different railways. Children clip the tickets and wave the flag to start the train. The model railway exhibition and Edwardian model village incorporate push buttons and I-Spys to add to the fun. There is also an indoor soft play area, sand pit, crazy golf and wooden railways provide a delightful environment for children.
Quince Honey Farm, South Molton, 01769 572401. Visit the world’s largest Honeybee exhibition. The interesting displays and exhibits will teach you fun facts about the honeybee before you take a closer look inside the working hives. Nowhere in the world can you get so close to the live bees without needing protective equipment.
Also at the Quince Honey Farm there is a large indoor soft play area. This is where you will find the cafe offering homemade food and their special Devonshire cream tea with honey! There is an outdoor play and picnic area for when the sun is shining.
Exeter Underground Passages, 2 Paris Street, Exeter, 01392 265695, were built to house the pipes that brought clean drinking water into medieval Exeter. A guided tour of Exeter's Underground Passages is a memorable event – narrow, dark, interesting and exciting.
Visit the heritage centre before your guided tour, packed with interactive exhibits and interpretation. These are the only passages of this kind open to the pubic in Britain!
The tours are likely to fill up quickly and are also subject to change at short notice. Pre-booking is advisable and during school holidays is essential to avoid disappointment.
Crealy Adventure Park, Sidmouth Road, Exeter, 01395 233200, offers maximum fun whatever the weather. The south west's number one family attraction features an exciting calendar of events, live shows and over 60 amazing rides and attractions. There are numerous animals to meet and a variety of indoor and outdoor rides and attractions. The multi-award winning family attraction is located just minutes from junction 30 of the M5, with free ample parking.
Monster mansion indoor play area in Tiverton.
Funderzone Indoor Soft play, near Barnstaple, 01271 328328. There are tubes, slides, bumpy slides, crawl tubes, ball cannons, rope bridges, spider webs, dangly snakes, gliders, scramble nets, ball pools, log ramps, punch bags, edu blocks and so much more including a specially dedicated area for the under 3s to enjoy.
Diggerland, Verbeer Manor, Willand, Collumpton, 0871 227 7007. Located in Collumpton, just a few minutes’ drive from the M5, you can enjoy an excellent family day at Diggerland. As you would expect the Devon park has all the same rides and drives as the other UK Diggerland parks including: Spindizzy, Mini-Tractors, Groundshuttle and Dig-a-Round as well as Go-Karts and Dodgems.
Tenpin Bowling: Hollywood Bowl, Heron Gate, Taunton, 0844 826 1471. Or Tenpin Exeter, Water Lane, Exeter, 0871 222 3675.
Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life, Beck's Square, Tiverton, 01884 230878. Explore the museum's large, outstanding collections and trace the fascinating history of Mid Devon. The displays include the “Tivvy Bumper” GWR steam engine, local industries (particularly lace making), farm wagons and the history of agriculture and the everyday home life of Mid Devon folk.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RX, 01392 265858. There's more to Exeter's award-winning museum than you might imagine. Its 16 galleries of display take visitors on a voyage of discovery from pre-history to present day and from Exeter to all around the world.
With three special exhibition spaces, its changing programme means there is likely to be something different to see every visit, from national touring shows to community displays and fine art from the city's collection.
Free entry gives everyone the freedom to visit many times and to stay for any length of time.
Local Newspaper Shop
The nearest place to buy a newspaper is Tiverton where there is a large Morrisons and Tesco supermarket as well as newsagents in the town.
The nearest shops including butchers, bakers, post office, building societies and banks (Barclays, Lloyds, Santander and Halifax) can be found in Tiverton. There is a market selling fresh fruit and vegetables (Tuesdays and Fridays); fresh fish from Brixham (Tuesday and Fridays) and antiques and collectibles in the Tiverton Panier Market.
The nearest supermarkets are Morrisons, Tescos and Marks & Spencer (food only). All can be found in Tiverton.
Nearest Cash Point
Barclays, Tiverton town centre
Lloyds, Tiverton town centre
Halifax, Tiverton town centre
The nearest is at Market Walk, Tiverton, EX16 6BL.