Walking on the Wild Side with Toad Hall Cottages
For many of us the great outdoors offers a chance to enjoy fresh air, freedom and the right to roam, escaping our hectic daily routines and swapping the humdrum for wild open spaces where nature makes the rules.
We’ve picked out five incredible settings from our exciting list of Dartmoor holiday cottages, all of them surrounded by memorable walks through one of the UK’s most dramatic and untamed spaces.
Get your walking boots on and join us on the path less travelled…
Puddaven Barn, Chagford
Tucked away in the moorland parish of Chagford on the north-east edge of Dartmoor lies Puddaven Barn. This stylish barn conversion sleeps up to four guests and is also dog-friendly. The characterful rustic stone walls belie a tasteful and modern interior full of all the mod cons, not least a contemporary kitchen and spacious dining area. The open scissor beams, free-standing wood burner and cultured furnishings add a homespun touch to the clean lines and superior finish. The views are far-reaching, taking in rolling farmers’ fields and heather-bound tors. This tranquil and timeless setting could be the perfect base for your Dartmoor walking holidays. The ancient stannary town of Chagford is only a short drive away, where you can enjoy lovely pubs, cafés, restaurants, artisan shops and a range of local amenities. The cathedral city of Exeter is less than an hour’s drive, as are the beautiful beaches and estuary waters of the South Hams.
When it comes to local walks you’ll be spoilt for choice…
Chagford is encompassed by an abundance of gorgeous walks; from the paths that lead to the summit of Meldon Hill and around the beautiful Fernworthy Reservoir, to the stunning views of nearby Teign Gorge and the bluebell meadows of Whiddon Deer Park.
1 Freelands Cottage, Manaton
Next, we travel to the woods and heathlands of south-east Dartmoor and the picturesque village of Manaton. On a quiet country lane you’ll find 1 Freelands Cottage, an adorable thatched cottage surrounded by rural pastures and roaming uplands. This cosy Grade II listed property can accommodate up to four guests and is perfect for walkers looking to explore the surrounding wilds. An inglenook fireplace complete with wood burner helps to make the living room a snug place to relax after your day’s excursions, and those quiet, starry nights ensure a good night’s sleep, so you’ll wake up ready to put your best foot forward. Enjoy breakfast in the pretty cottage garden and map out your next rambling routes.
Tracks and trails waiting to be explored around Manaton…
There are lots of lovely walks around the village of Manaton, taking in its impressive 14th century church (St Winifred’s), its idyllic village green, friendly local pub (the Kestor Inn), its open meadows and pretty orchards. Short walks close to the village include the scintillating views found at the summit of Manaton Rocks and the woodland trails past Cleave Hill and towards the hamlet of Water. Further afield you’ll find memorable rambles leading to Becky Falls, Hound Tor, Haytor and Bowerman’s Nose, plus the neighbouring village of Widdecombe-in-the-Moor is also within hearty walking distance (‘old uncle Tom Cobley ‘n’ all!).
Haytor View, Haytor
Stunning views of Haytor – one of Dartmoor’s most iconic landmarks – await all those bound for the aptly named Haytor View. Once a farmer’s hay barn and shippon, this immaculately converted holiday property has been sympathetically designed to reflect its true Dartmoor heritage – its timber clad gable end’s a real eye-catching feature. Inside, you’ll find all the creature comforts; soft and elegant furnishings, luxury amenities, a modern take on the classic country kitchen and French doors which lead out onto a patio area where you can dine alfresco while admiring the incredible sweeping landscape. The cottage sleeps up to six people and also welcomes canine guests, one in a long list of Toad Hall Cottage’s dog-friendly holiday properties. It’s adjoined by two sister cottages, The Hayloft and the The Wool Store, both of which can accommodate up to four visitors and have been fitted and finished to the same high standards. Either one of these inviting moorland dwellings would make for the perfect base for your Dartmoor walking adventures.
Discovering the wilderness at your doorstep…
The roaming moorlands around Haytor are weaved by endless tracks and trails, ideal for walkers keen to explore these ancient uplands. The neighbouring summits of Hound Tor, Holwell Tor, Saddle Tor and Rippon Tor all form impressive pinnacles along these much-loved ways and provide a selection of some of the best panoramas on Dartmoor.
White Oxen Manor, Rattery
One the southern fringes of Dartmoor, surrounded by lowland meadows and ancient woodland, lies White Oxen Manor. This traditional stone-built longhouse incorporates a trio of delightfully converted cottages; Owl Cottage, Corner Cottage and The Roundhouse, all them retaining many original features such as exposed timber beams and arrow slit windows. Traditional country cottage cosiness exudes through the bedrooms and living spaces, each cottage ideal for those seeking a romantic Devon bolthole. You won’t find a more inviting setting than the historic parish of Rattery, the wilds of Dartmoor forming an impressive backdrop and the gorgeous beaches and tranquil estuaries of the South Hams all within an easy reach.
Heading out to explore the foothills and reach the summits of south Dartmoor…
South Dartmoor is alive with rushing rivers, wooded valleys, rugged tors and open sweeping heathland, so if you love a wild adventure you’ve come to right place. Navigate age-old tracks and prehistoric ruins, from the stunning reservoir at the Avon Dam to the relentless wends of the Two Moor Ways. Other local walks take in the beauty of the River Erme as it follows its meandering path towards the sparkling waters of Bigbury Bay.
Holne Chase Carriage House, Ashburton
The setting for our final moorland cottage is the enchanting wooded acreage known as the Holne Chase Country Estate, located on the southern slopes of Dartmoor and near the ancient stannary town of Ashburton. Holne Chase Carriage House is a characterful property that can sleep up to eight guests, offering elegant and spacious accommodation full of country house flair. This dog-friendly property is ideally suited for family gatherings and those long overdue reunions of friends. All four bedrooms include ensuite bathrooms, two of which have their own private staircases. The cottage has two outside terraces and a pretty walled garden, great for those long summer evenings. Guests are welcome to explore the surrounding leafy estate which includes a gentle stretch of the River Dart, perfect for a spot of fly fishing. The neighbouring town of Ashburton is full of traditional high street shops, quaint tea rooms, old country pubs and stylish restaurants.
Outward bound and headed for Dartmoor…
With more than 370 square miles waiting to be roamed, Dartmoor National Park remains one of Britain’s true places of wilderness. Ashburton is one of the southern gateways to the moors, and a stay at the Carriage House on the Holne Chase Country Estate opens up a never ending chapter of river walks and rugged moorland rambles for the whole family to enjoy.
Discover the wilds of Dartmoor in all its untamed glory when you book a stay with Toad Hall Cottages. Take your pick from our long list of holiday properties on Dartmoor, from boltholes and hideaways to farmhouses and country manors, you’re only a few ‘clicks’ away from your dream upland escape.