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For anyone staying in one of our Bideford holiday cottages, Hartland Abbey and Gardens (which is set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is another popular visitor attraction on the outskirts of Bideford. Ancestral family home of the Stucley family, who still live in the Abbey, the home and gardens date from the twelfth century and provide an old fashioned family day out. Children will enjoy roaming the paths in the woodland gardens, learning about vegetable growing in the Kitchen Garden and seeing the Black Welsh Mountain sheep, donkeys, pheasants, bantams, wild flowers and butterflies. The Abbey too is open for visitors and displays a huge collection of artwork, artefacts and architectural marvels, whilst the Atlantic coast can be gained from the grounds with a stunning ‘Walk to the sea’, a woodland walk, carpeted with bluebells in the Spring, leading to some spectacular coastal paths with panoramic sea views.
The Milky Way Adventure Theme Park provides award-winning family fun between Bideford and Clovelly, recognised as being one of the best family days out in the area. Children will enjoy the animal shows, bird of prey displays, adventure rides and roller coasters in the Space zone, Lost in Space maze, Pet’s Corner for under five’s and much more.
Docton Mill Gardens at Hartland provide a more sedate experience; these superb, award-winning flower gardens open from Spring to Autumn. A superb bog garden, river walk featuring dazzling displays of narcissi, bluebells and wild garlic, herbaceous borders, Magnolia Garden and Wildflower Garden are just some of the wonderful displays of blooms and flora on offer. The centre serves Devon cream teas as well as a variety of local produce.
The Tarka trail runs close to Bideford; a walking and cycling trail which loops some 180 miles through the beautiful and varied landscapes of North and Mid Devon, from the Atlantic coast through rural Devon to the slopes of Dartmoor, source of the river Taw. Sections coincide with the South West Coastal path route, whilst the stretch from Bideford to Torrington tracks a disused railway line, making it particularly suitable for amateur cyclists and walkers. Maps and circuits are widely available throughout the region, and holidaymakers can tackle as much or little as they please.
To read part one of our holiday cottages blog on Bideford, please click here.