The Local Area around Hartland North Devon
Hartland peninsular in North Devon and surrounding area has been designated as ‘Heritage Coastline’ and as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The South West Coastal path winds its way around the entire coast line offering magnificent cliff walks, extensive coastal views. A large variety of wild flowers equivalent with rambling anywhere in Europe. Peregrine falcons can be seen hovering while hunting around the cliffs and countryside, seagulls, oyster catchers, cormorants are in abundance. Buzzards frequent the woodlands and roe deer can also be seen.
Hartland village hosts several potteries, photography galleries and arts & craft shops. There are places to eat and drink as well as convenience stores. There are also local events taking place at certain times of the year including the widely popular Hartland Carnival on the second week of August and a regular farmers market.
The local area has also has been used for location filming and television programmes including:
1950 Walt Disney’s Treasure Island (Film)
1977 The Shout (Film)
1984 Water (Film)
1988 Paper House (Film)
2003 Hercules (Film)
2004 The Dark (Film)
2005 The Shellseekers (Film)
2007 Sense & Sensibility (BBC Drama)
2010 Top Gear (BBC Series)
2011 Antiques Roadshow (BBC Series)
2015 The Night Manager (Drama)
2018 Guernsey (Film)
2019 Rebecca (Netflix Drama)
Local things to do in the Hartland area
Hartland Abbey is situated just outside Hartland with its attractive gardens and grounds and is open from the end of March until October. It is the home of the Stukeley family and includes contents that have been added over many generations. The impressive 18thC Walled and Woodland gardens, walks and parkland offer visitors extensive grounds through which to stroll and enjoy the prominent valley leading down to the jagged cove with its cottage at Blackpool Mill, this has also been the location for many noteworthy films, the BBC adaptation by Andrew Davies of ‘Sense and Sensibility’, German ZDF’s production of the Rosamunde Pilcher novel, ‘The Shell Seekers’ ,(Die Muschelsucher), a major BBC drama production, ‘The Night Manager’ starring Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society‘(2017) with Lily James have all been filmed here. The BBC Antiques Roadshow was filmed here in 2012.
Children are welcome to enjoy the freedom to explore the wide-open spaces with twisting paths and meet their donkeys Becky and Snowdrop. You will also find peacocks roaming around freely and see the black Welsh Mountain sheep. There is a Quiz and the Nature Trail a great way to keep children amused!
Hartland Abbey was built in the 12th Century, surviving as a monastery being the longest than any other in the country. In 1539 Henry VIII gifted the Abbey to the Keeper of his Wine Cellar and today the house still remains within the family. Hartland Abbey is possibly the most historically important ancestral home in North Devon containing much of national interest, including architecture and decoration from the Mediaeval, Queen Anne, Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods. Furniture Paintings, Chinese artefacts and porcelain have been collected over many generations of the family.
Hartland Abbey was a 2016 Gold Award Winner North Devon Journal ‘Best Country House and/or Garden in North Devon’
You can purchase coffee, light lunches, homemade cakes and cream teas served from 11.00 in ‘The Old Kitchens Tea Room’. Dogs are also welcome so long as they are on leads in the gardens and walks.
The house and gardens season start on Sunday 25th March, a variety of outdoor theatre productions are on the summer events menu. Exhibitions, ‘William Stukeley – Saviour of Stonehenge’, ‘Filming on the Hartland Abbey Estate going back to 1934’ and ‘History of the Hartland Abbey Estate’ can be seen.
St Nectan's church Stoke Nr Hartland
St Nectan's church is an exceptional country church located in a delightfully picturesque setting. This medieval church is just 2 miles from Hartland in the hamlet of Stoke. The existing church was started in 1170 and then completely rebuilt in 1360, this is also sometimes referred to as the "Cathedral of North Devon". Its most striking feature is the impressive tower, built around 1420 and standing 128 feet in height, it was used as a navigational aid by ships along the treacherous North Devon coastline.
Inside the church you can see the superb rood screen (said to be the finest in North Devon), dating from 1450, this is an immense structure consisting of eleven bays, 45 ft 6 in long, 12 ft 6 in high and 5 ft 10 in wide at the top. Other features of significant interest include the old wagon roofs with its attractive decoration and the fine Norman font. The memorials include an intricate medieval tomb-chest, a metal-inlaid lid of a churchyard tomb of 1618 and a small brass of 1610.
Hartland Quay Beach, Museum and Restaurant
Hartland Quay Museum
Discover the history of Hartland Quay and it’s remarkable coastline displayed inside the Hartland Quay Museum. The museum’s many vivid displays tell the stories of over four centuries of shipwrecks, the locally based brave lifesaving services and of the men and the ships that traded from Hartland Quay over the past centuries.
The history of the Quay is depicted from its beginnings during the time of King Henry VIII to its demolition by the sea over a century ago. Other exhibits define the local coastal flora and fauna, past industries of the area, smuggling, wrecking and rescues.
The Museum is open from Easter until October half term.
The Wreckers Retreat Bar
The Wreckers Retreat Bar serves locally sourced food and ales all year from 11.00am daily. Recently refurbished and full of atmosphere, the bar displays memorabilia recording Hartland Quay’s history, films and TV shows filmed in the area over the years. Displays of some of the many shipwrecks in the area over the past centuries can also be seen.Lunch is served from 12.00pm to 2.30pm - Dinner is from 6.00pm to 9.00pm.Every day in the Summer (weekends only out off-season) a snack menu is available from 3.00pm to 5.30pm.
The Milkyway Adventure Park
The Milky Way is only a short drive away and has many attractions to suit all ages, whatever the weather may bring! With over 110,000 sq ft of indoor family fun and acres of outdoor activities, The Milky Way theme park is the largest all weather, family day out in North Devon. There are so many things you can do plus ALL the rides are included in the entrance price! Your adventure awaits you... are you ready?Ride on the Cosmic Typhoon roller coaster, have a bumping experience with the family on the droid destroyer dodgems or blast out in North Devon’s biggest indoor adventure play area with assault courses and slides built both for adults & children. Watch amazing live shows featuring Merlin from Britain’s Got Talent, including fantastic displays from the North Devon Bird of Prey Centre. There are so many things to choose from you won't know where to start!
Docton Mill and Gardens
Docton Mill Wild Flower Gardens are a short drive away down country lanes situated in a spectacular valley, 1000m from the rugged coast and Speaks mill waterfall. The Garden was started in the 1930’s but sadly fell into disrepair in the 1970’s. In 1980 the Mill was renovated the Garden cleared with wide-ranging planting, with the creation of a new Bog Garden and borders, avast numbers of trees were also planted. The beginning of the new Millennium saw a number of developments including a new Magnolia Garden with large Herbaceous borders, Woodland Garden and Greenhouse area enabling more extensive plant propagation.
The Wild Flower Gardens theme was created to make everything as natural as possible. In spring there are displays of narcissi, primulas, camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas with bluebells covering the woods. In summer the garden abounds with roses, there is a rose bank of Felicia and Pax and adjacent to this is the Herbaceous border. In this field there are 25 varieties of magnolia - truly a garden to give variety throughout the seasons.
Devon is famous for its cream teas and Docton Mill Gardens is no exception. A beautiful award-winning tea room, supplying local, home grown produce (including a seafood salads, rolls and variety of desserts) and, of course, cream teas.
Speke's Mill Mouth Waterfall
Spekes Mill Mouth is one of the most popular waterfalls in North Devon, and is just down the track from Docton Mill. It is located in a spectacularly beautiful area of high cliffs with hanging valleys, seabirds swoop and wildflowers are abundant on the clifftops. Milford Water falls 48 metres in three levels, from the edge of the cliffs falling on to the rocky beach below.
The charming, ancient, fishing village of Clovelly with its famous steep cobbled street is a unique and special place which was once owned by the Queen of England. Clovelly has been in private ownership dating back from Elizabethan days until today, which has helped preserve its unique ambiance. Being within close proximity to Hartland makes this an easy place to visit.
The island of Lundy is three and a half miles long and half a mile wide which rises impressively from the Bristol Channel between England and Wales 10 miles off the North Devon Coast.
It has become famous for its seabirds, and in paticular the Puffins which gave the island its name (from the Norse for Puffin Island) but there is also a treasure of other animals and plants on the island and in the waters surrounding it.
Past residents have also left evidence of their existence, ranging from prehistoric flintwork to Victorian quarries. The present inhabitants of the Island work for the Landmark Trust who manage the farm and accommodation. Landmark Trust lease Lundy from its owners, the National Trust.
Getting to Lundy
Between early April and the end of October day trips to Lundy are achievable via the island's supply ship MS Oldenburg, which undergoes the 2-hour crossing from Bideford for up to four times a week. Dependent on the tides and the sailing timetable this can give you between three and a half hours and seven hours on Lundy. Over the winter season a twice-weekly helicopter service operates from Hartland Point for staying visitors.
What to do and see on the island
For the voyager there are remarkable walks all around this glorious island. There are numerous places to look out for that have mysterious names such as Hell's Gates, Punchbowl Valley, Shutter Point, Needle Rock, the Devil's Slide to name a few.The island has undergone a turbulent history of piracy, smuggling and stages of peaceful habitation. There are small clues that give away the dramatic history that encompasses this small island. Many of the buildings like the Old Lighthouse and even a 13th-century castle. The focal point of the island is the Marisco Tavern, a warm friendly place with plenty of good food and shelter.