Local Area Information

Dowland is a small hamlet in mid Devon, over looking the northern aspect of Dartmoor to the south, about 3/4 of a hour’s drive from Exeter ( M5, Exeter Airport and Exeter St David’s train station). Rural and peaceful, it is an ideal location for a relaxing short break or holiday.

The immediate loal area is a walkers paradise, beautiful unspoilt woodland, river and meadow walks, all within a few miles.  The house is on the Tarka Trail, which is a 180 figure of eight walk, in North Devon.  We are situated on the south loop, which runs from Barnstaple down to the Northern edges of Dartmoor and north again uo towards Barnstaple. From the ancient port town of Bideford the Trail travels inland leaving the wide rivers and their estuaries behind and follows bubbling streams through woodlands and flower-rich culm grassland before finally arriving at the edge of the high moor. The River Taw rises on Dartmoor and the Trail joins it and returns with it, passing through the gently rolling countryside to meet the Tarka Railway Line at Eggesford. The railway line is the final leg of the South Loop; criss- crossing over the twists and turns of the River as it heads back to Barnstaple. If you plan to walk the route, come and stay along the way.

In addition the the Tarka Trail we have three Devon Wldlife Reserves within a few miles, one just a mile away. Halsdon Reserve holds many attractions. Open hillside pasture edged by gorse bushes, paths through woodland, riverside meadows, the deserted ruins of a water-mill, along with a fine stretch of one of Devon’s grandest rivers, the Torridge. One of the best places to spot otters. Meeth Quarry is unlike any other Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Its industrial past has dramatically shaped its present. For nearly 100 years it was a series of busy clay quarries and mines. The legacy of this industry has created a very diverse landscape. Today, two enormous lakes and massive piles of clay spoil dominate its features. Elsewhere there are ponds, woodlands, bogs and grasslands. Together these make Meeth Quarry nature reserve a home for a diverse range of wildlife and a wonderful place for people to explore. Ash Moor nature reserve lies in the heart of the Culm Natural Area in north west Devon.  It contains areas of high quality culm grassland, species rich meadows and restored species rich meadows.  It has a strong colony of wood white butterfly, orchids, meadow thistle and Devil's-bit scabious and wet oak, willow and alder woodland. A number of new ponds, pools and shallow scrapes have helped to increase the reserve’s list of water invertebrates with dragonflies in great abundance through late spring and summer, hobby are often seen hawking these insects with great agility. 

If you enjoy cycling try The Dartmoor Way cycle route, which sweeps around the periphery of the Dartmoor National Park for over 90 miles linking many towns and attractions along its length, with an option to ride across the centre of the Park via Princetown.

The Old Stable is well placed for getting into the car if you feel like exploring what Devon has to offer.  Offering peaceful, beautiful countryside Devon is easily reached from other parts of the country and has much to offer a visitor.  Dartmoor to the south has 368 square miles of fabulous, wild, moorland, where you can walk all day and not see another person, but you will come across Dartmoor ponies and sheep grazing the land.

The rugged coastline of North Devon and Cornwall are within 40 minutes to an hour or so, where you can walk along cliff paths or enjoy the coastal villages, small bays and beaches. 

There are a number of stately homes and National Trust properties within easy reach, including Drogo Castle near Chagford, Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, near Barnstaple, Hartland Abbey near Bideford and some places of interest such as the Finch Foundry at Sticklepath, the last working water-powered forge in England, Bideford Bay and Hartland, miles of unspoilt coastline which inspired Rudyard Kipling and Baggy Point at Croyde, with its dramatic cliffs and wild seas.

Make a visit to Dartington Crystal at Great Torrington, and watch the craftsmen at work in the only major crystal factory in the UK.  

RHS Rosemoor is just 15 minute's drive away and well worth a visit to this beautiful garden.

Beaford Arts support rural creative development and their programme of events, education projects, and photographic archive support the cultural life of rural communities throughout the local region.  Here you can visit the archives and enjoy the wonderful photographs of James Ravilious.

We can offer some wonderful places to eat out during your visit. With a mile of the property there are three great pubs, where you can enjoy lunch or an evening meal.  The Rams Head and The Royal Oak in Dolton to the north and The Duke of York in Iddesleigh to the south, voted one of the top ten best pubs of the year 2014 and again in 2015 by CAMRA, and home to Michael Morpuro's War Horse Valley.  Some of Michael's stories began over a conversation in the Duke of York! There are plenty of other good pubs within half an hour’s drive including The New Inn at Sampford Courtenay and The George and The Tally Ho! in Hatherleigh.

The capital city of Devon, Exeter, is less than an hour's drive and well worth a visit. Sit awhile in Exeter Cathedral, dating back 900 years, it is one of England's most beautiful medieval cathedrals and one of the finest examples of decorated Gothic architecture in this country. Exeter's Historic Quayside is one of the most attractive areas of the city providing a fascinating mix of historic and contemporary design. It is the ideal place to wander through the shops, walk and cycle, take a relaxing boat trip or find something good to eat. There are plenty of good places to eat out and cultural activities to make an enjoyable day's visit.


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