Cosy up in a cottage in Devon
As a base for exploring the Devon countryside and the Dartmoor area, this is a perfect cottage - luxurious, cosy and best of all, dog friendly!
Sometimes when you stay at a dog-friendly cottage, the property is not perhaps as luxurious as it could be (understandably!) as it takes into account that four-legged guests can be mucky and smelly, especially after a long walk in the countryside. Moonseeker, a 2 bedroom, dog-friendly holiday cottage in Okehampton, North Devon – a brand new barn conversion next to the original farmhouse, set a few miles from the moorland of Dartmoor National Park – was totally the opposite; designed just for guests to relax and enjoy, without worrying about Pooch making a mess. There were no carpets, just heated floor tiles and wood flooring and, even better, a dog washing trough outside to ensure most of the muck stayed outside rather than in.
We received a very warm welcome with fresh flowers, a homemade cake, a bottle of wine and milk in the fridge. As for our dog, he was delighted to find a dog blanket, dog towel, poo bags, a bowl and a couple of treats!
There are exposed beams, giving a sense of its history and the information folder in the cottage gives a good account of the work involved in its conversion, as well as all the usual stuff you need to know (like how the cooker works!). The under-floor heated tiles were wonderful and kept the cottage so cosy you forgot there were no radiators!
The central wood staircase is very distinctive and a real feature of the property. More so when you learn it was constructed by the owner and incorporates some of the original beams into its design.
There are fantastic views to the rear of the cottage over the adjacent farmland and hills in the distance and we arrived just in time to see a magnificent sunset. The rear garden is totally private and enclosed so ideal for sitting out when the weather permits (patio furniture is provided) and ideal for your dog to explore without escaping! The front garden has a gorgeous sunken garden (out of bounds to dogs) which complements the surrounding cottages and farmhouse.
There are two bedrooms with the softest beds ever, Velux windows, an ensuite with walk-in shower, heated towel rails, complementary wood furniture and a hairdryer if needed. The cottage is brand new, completed in October, so everything is immaculate and well presented and the attention to detail is impressive.
There are parking spaces with the property, despite it being on a farm, and it’s only 1.5 miles to Okehampton so you can walk if you feel energetic!
The kitchen is fully equipped (handmade by the owner!) with a table and chairs as the centrepoint, and there’s a range cooker, dishwasher, fridge, freezer and washing machine – and plenty of utensils to enable you to cook for yourself. And there’s a handy downstairs loo too.
The lounge is really cosy with views of the garden, comfy leather suite with plenty of cushions and throws, a flatscreen TV and, piece de resistance, a log-burning stove much-loved by my husband (and the dog).
This is the ultimate in luxury combined with the practicality of holidaying with a dog. The dog trough/washing area is perfect for a hosing down after a day in the countryside and the tiled floor is really easy to keep clean – no need to worry about dirty paws on carpets or indeed your own muddy boots.
There was also a roller-blind type dog guard at the bottom of the staircase to stop any curious pooches sneaking upstairs!
Cosy often implies small but this not the case with Moonseeker. The cleverly-designed open-plan ensures it feels spacious and airy but cosy at the same time and there are plenty of windows to let in the light and for you to enjoy the views.
We loved it here – it was relaxing and we felt totally at home. Our evenings were spent curled up on the sofa in front of the log-burner watching TV and snoozing. Bliss!
2-bedrooom barn conversion,
3 Nights £301.6 (Dec) £291.40 (Jan)
4 Nights £321 (Dec) £310.50 (Jan)
5 Nights £340.8 (Dec) £329.60 (Jan)
Price quoted above is for 3 nights in January. Please call Classic Cottages or vist their website for current prices.
Classic Cottages have a wide range of beautiful properties available for rent all year round. If you’re looking for a perfect winter getaway before, during, or after Christmas - or even New Year – check out their website www.classic.co.uk or call 01326 555555
Things to do
Devon is a lovely county and Okehampton is perched right on the top of Dartmoor National Park, a vast and rugged moorland. The Dartmoor Ponies famously roam the landscape (though sadly we didn’t see any!) and it’s the perfect place for a walking holiday, especially with a dog.
Located in the centre of Devon, on the north edge of Dartmoor (just off the A30), Okehampton is an ideal base for exploring Dartmoor and North Devon. This area is very popular with tourists, cyclists, walkers and horse riders and there are many buildings of interest around the town, including the 14th Century Parish church with stained glass windows by Victorian artist William Morris and a restored 19th Century mill, housing the Museum of Dartmoor Life.
The town also has a good selection of small shops and a lovely looking Victorian arcade.
We arrived early afternoon and were delighted to find it had a ruined a motte and bailey castle with a stone keep to visit – but a tad disappointed that it was closed for winter! No matter; there was a car park right next to it where we parked up then followed the riverside footpath for a lovely walk in the woods. You can see the castle from the other side of the bank and there is a picnic area too. The trees were gorgeous colours, the air crisp and the leaves thick underfoot so it was a really enjoyable autumn ramble. The castle is now managed by The National Trust.
These stunning woods with spectacular walks have beautifully adapted paths. There’s a large car park and we just wound our way through the woodland at our leisure on a lovely, crisp autumn day. The area is compact woodland paths (so good for cyclists, too) and is managed by the Forestry Commission. It’s a great place to take the dog with fabulous views over the countryside. There are lots of different trees to admire and plenty of wildlife in the woods.
This is a real treasure trove for dog walkers (and those who don’t have dogs too!) and is only a 20-minute drive from Okehampton.
Castle Drogo is a country house and castle and is a Grade I listed building. It’s currently undergoing a five-year conservation project (2013–2017) to finally make it watertight and was the last castle built in England. The gardens are Grade II listed. This was such a lovely time to visit, with all the autumn colours in their finery, and winter should be stunning too.
From Castle Drogo there are many winding paths leading down into the gorge from a relatively easy one mile walk to some longer, more challenging ones. All take in views of the deep gorge that drops into the River Teign and wider Dartmoor views.
This former railway viaduct is now open for pedestrians and gives fine views into the ravine and over Dartmoor. A spectacular dam, again giving stupendous views over Dartmoor, Meldon Reservoir is worth a visit too.
Where to eat
We visited Tavistock for an afternoon, a small town half an hour’s drive from Okehampton and offering some pretty architecture and nice shops. The Tavistock Inn on Brook Street is dog-friendly and we had a tasty lunch there. It’s a bit like walking into someone’s front room as it’s full of books, ornaments and knick-knacks – very charming and very quaint – and the people were very friendly, welcomed our dog with a treat (despite the muddy paws) and served up a hot, filling lunch.
Devon, EX6 6PB
Call 01647 433306
19 Brook Street
Devon, PL19 0HD
Devon, EX20 1JA
Okehampton, EX20 4LT