Smithincott Barton Farm
Hills, moors and rivers
The Blackdown Hills
The Blackdown Hills is a Designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, on the Devon/Somerset border. Nearby Blackdown Common is great for walking and cycling, with wide ranging views – don’t miss out on Culmstock Beacon. It stands on the highest point of the Blackdown Hills, and is one of a chain of Elizabethan beacons used for lighting fires to warn off advancing enemies (such as The Spanish Armada). https://blackdownhillsaonb.org.uk/
The River Culm
The river rises in the Blackdown Hills and joins the Exe just outside Exeter. You can walk to it in five minutes from Smithincott, and there are a large variety of walks, as long or short as you prefer. Further up, in Culmstock, you can reach a couple of deeper pools, perfect for a dip on a hot day.
Before we moved to Smithincott, we had never knowingly been to the Quantocks and barely heard of the area. It’s been a fabulous discovery, a bit like a Exmoor crossed with the Sussex downs. Lovely walks, great views, and not many people. And we would recommend the Carew Arms in Crowcombe for a pub stop. https://www.quantockhills.com/
Dartmoor, with its wide expanse of bleak, beautiful and wide landscape is a wonderful place. The Tors (the high points), the rivers, the ponies (on that note – please don’t feed them. Many are getting too tame, and begin to see cars as friends), the lovely little villages, remote pubs and tea rooms – something for everyone. Beware the weather though – frequently, it will be opposite of what we have here, and the mist and rain can move in quickly. https://www.visitdartmoor.co.uk/
Exmoor is a bit softer than Dartmoor, with less granite, maybe less dramatic. Equally beautiful, especially the breath taking north coast, with views across to Wales (try Dunkery Beacon). For weather, see Dartmoor.
Smithincott Barton Farm
Beaches and all things water based
South Devon Beaches
Based where we are, we can take advantage of visiting a variety of beaches. The nearest beach is Exmouth, a large sandy beach great for swimming. The kite surfers make for great entertainment, and there are a variety of boat trips on offer. As far as we know dogs are welcome all year round.
Further along going east, there are pebbly beaches at Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Branscombe (our favourite), Beer and Seaton. Lyme Regis has a sandy part, and is very popular on sunny days.
Going west there are number of sandy beaches with a traditional “bucket and spade” seaside feel, such as Dawlish and Torquay. Bigbury and Burgh Island in the South Hams is beautiful.
There are a number of places on Dartmoor and Exmoor, if wild swimming is you thing. There are a couple of deeper pools in the River Culm not far from Smithincott where you can have a dip and a cool down. http://www.wildswimming.co.uk/
Canoeing, surfing, body boarding
There are a number of beaches where you can hire surf or body boards, pedalos and boats. You can even hire canoes in Exeter, from the quay.
North Devon Beaches
The North coast offers some vast, windy beaches where there is always space (at least if you are prepared to walk a small distance). We love Saunton Sands with it's miles of sandy beach (you can also hire beach huts by the day), but there is also Braunton sands and Croyde. East of Exmoor, there is Blue Anchor beach half way between Dunster and Watchet (both places are well worth a visit, by the way).
Lidos and Swimming Pool
There are big impressive outdoor lidos, such as Brixham and Plymouth, and more low key local ones like Topsham and Clyst Hydon. If you are on Dartmoor and fancy a dip, there are outdoor pools in Chagford and Moreton Hampstead.
For water park fun, head for Finlake Falls in Newton Abbot, or Splashdown Quaywest in Paignton.
Stuartline Cruises in Exmouth offers a variety of boat trips both in summer and winter. You can choose from a mini coastal cruise, to a long cruise on the river Exe, or a daytrip to Sidmouth, Brixham or Torquay. Friday night fizz and chips is a 2.5 hour cruise with, yes – fish and chips with a glass of fizz. In winter, join a guided bird watching trip – or Sail with Santa. https://www.stuartlinecruises.co.uk/
There are numerous sailings from Ilfracombe and the Rib boats at Lyme Regis are great fun.
Smithincott Barton Farm
Hustle and Bustle and Shopping
Exeter is our nearest city, and is a pleasant day out whether your interest is shopping or history and culture. It only takes about half an hour from Smithincott to the centre, and as it’s a fairly small city, once there you can reach everything by foot. Highlights include the cathedral, exploring the 14th century underground passages, and the Old Quayside area with it's restaurants and shops.
Glastonbury and Wells
Glastonbury with its iconic tower and world famous abbey is worth a visit, and if you want to combine it with a shopping trip, the Clarks Village (outlet shopping village) in Street is nearby.
Just to the North is Wells, which is the smallest city in England. The cathedral and cathedral close are beautiful, and it is a a lovely place to while away an afternoon.
Bath and Bristol
If you fancy going a bit further, Bristol and Bath are both within striking distance. Bristol, the largest city in the South-West, is a bustling university city, with world class shopping, as well as streets of more quirky, individual shops, bars and coffee shops. The covered market is worth a visit, with lots of stalls and street food.
Bath has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country, with its Georgian squares, crescents and circuses. Just walk around taking in the sites and the atmosphere, or visit the Royal Baths, Assembly Rooms and a number of other attractions. Number 1 The Royal Crescent is decorated and furnished as it would have been during the late 18th century.
Plymouth is about an hour away and is the largest city in Devon. As well as shopping, there are plenty of things to do in this historic city. Sights include Plymouth Hoe, The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth Gin distillery and Saltram, owned by the National Trust.
Smithincott Barton Farm
Great days out
A selection of places to visit, things to do and experience
Houses and Gardens
There are many many National Trust properties in and around Devon and Somerset. Close by are Knighthayes and the Killerton estate, which includes Budlake Post Office and Clyston Mill and Marker's at Broadclyst. All well worth a visit. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/days-out/regionsouthwest/devon
Family days out
There are a endless of visitor attractions in the South-West. Here are a few that are nearby.
Crealy Theme Park - one of the largest and an easy drive from us. Has over 60 indoor and outdoor rides and 200 animals set in 100 acres of countryside. https://www.crealy.co.uk/
Devon Railway Centre near Tiverton is aimed at families and includes train rides, miniature railway, a model village and a model fun fair. https://devonrailwaycentre.co.uk/
Powderham Castle near Exeter has plenty to do and hosts events throughout the year. https://www.powderham.co.uk
Wildwood Escot on the Escot Estate is perfect for a family day-out. Attractions include Animals, a huge Maze, indoor and outdoor Play areas, zip wires and many other features. https://www.wildwoodescot.org/
The nearby Land Rover Experience West Country centre has a 35 acre off-road course that allow you to try your hand at driving off road vehicles over interesting terrain. It's great fun, so we're told. https://www.westcountry.landroverexperience.co.uk
Horse drawn barges
Just down the road is the Grand Western Canal which runs from Tiverton to Burlescombe. Here you can walk, cycle, fish and there is a nature reserve. The Tiverton Canal Company offers horse drawn barge trips along with a visitor centre and floating bar and cafe. https://www.tivertoncanal.co.uk/
We're lucky to have two major historic railways within easy reach. Firstly the West Somerset Railway which runs from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead in Somerset. Highly recommended. https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/
Secondly we have the Dartmouth Steam Railway which runs from Paington to Kingswear. The company offer numerous round trips and specials throughout the year. https://www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk/
Flying, Gliding, Ballooning and Skydiving
Nearby Dunkeswell Airfield in the Blackdown Hills offers hands on flying experiences at reasonable rates. https://www.dsft.co.uk/air-experience.php
There is a Gliding school at Sheldon that offers Gliding Experiences again at reasonable rates. You might even get to fly over us. http://www.dsgc.co.uk/learning-to-fly-gliders/trial-lessons
For the truly brave, you can go skydiving from Dunkeswell. Again the prices seem very reasonable. https://www.skydiveukltd.com/
For a more leisurely trip Aerosaurus Balloons offer hot air balloon flights over the Blackdown Hills and all of the South-West. https://www.ballooning.co.uk/
Quads and Carting
Quad World, just South of Cullompton, hosts Quad bike experiences, corporates events, and caters for both adults and children. http://www.quadworld.co.uk/
Exeter Quad Safari Centre based on the Escot Estate, is a real off-road biking experience over miles of farmland, tracks and trails. https://www.exeterquadcentre.co.uk/
Mansell Raceway is a full size outdoor carting circuit next to nearby Dunkeswell Airfield. You can book as little as a 15 minute session with all kit included. https://www.mansellraceway.com/
Raceworld, near Exeter is an indoor carting centre with lots of different events to try out. Perfect for rainy days. http://www.raceworld-karting.co.uk/