I have stayed in quite some B&Bs in England, but never in one such as Corndonford Farm. It's a place where you will immediately feel at home, thanks to the hospitality of Ann and Will.
Located in the middle of nowhere in Dartmoor (approximately 5km from Widecombe-in-the-Moor which, however, is also only a village of 50 houses), the 400-year old farmhouse could not be a more charming place in which to spend a holiday. It is a working farm: the owners have some horses and organise riding classes as well. But it is also a lovely cottage with a splendid garden which, as late as in early September, was still in full bloom. It is an old building full of nooks and crannies and you do well to mind your head while ascending the crooked stairs, but it is also a B&B where you can sleep in the world's most comfortable four-poster bed. Moreover, the breakfast is just delicious. Ann will have freshly baked, homemade scones ready for you as well as egg and bacon, some fresh fruit or simply a slice of homemade bread with some homemade jam. Even the tap water comes from the farm's own source.
Both Ann and Will are very friendly hosts, very interested in their guests and very helpful. When we arrived after a 4-hour drive, tea and cake were served and we chatted about this and that - an ideal way to come down after a long day. Their friendliness wasn't only skin-deep: literally every day we stopped in the old-fashioned kitchen for a chat, but we never had the feeling that we were being questioned. It was just like talking to friends or relatives.
To make a long story short: Corndonford Farm is England's best B&B!
This is yet another that I've stayed at through work but in this case I wasn't actually working here, merely being put up (with).
As such I didn't really get a chance to experience the inn properly as it wasn't open when I left in the mornings, nor when I got back late at night. Suffice to say though this is an atmospheric old building (dating back to the 13th century), with some modern attachements, and having been recently taken over by new ownership/management (at the time of writing - July 2010) is in the process of extensive refurbishment.
The room I stayed in (in the more modern part overlooking the car park at the rear) was fine, if a little lacking in character. The public areas highlight original features as does the building's granite facade.
The food offering certainly looks good on paper (seeing as I didn't get a chance to sample it) and if the chef is who I think he is then that should make the place well worth a visit, even if only to eat.
Website is kept up-to-date with news and developments
Having its own car park is a major plus - which you'll discover once you visit the town!
OK This is yet another place I've worked and have been put up at buckshee but as with my previous tips I'll try to be objective.
The Ring O'Bells is an archetypical Dartmoor Inn offering comfortable bedrooms, convivial company and a seasonally-changing food menu prepared from the best produce the local area has to offer.
Situated in the tranquil village of North Bovey, a couple of miles from the metropolis of Moretonhampstead, this is the sort of place to escape from the hassles and pressures of modern living.
The thick stone walls and luxuriantly thatched roof immediately suggest sanctuary and the welcoming staff and landlord reinforce that idea. Whether looking for a place to relax and unwind or as a base from which to partake of the moor's more strenuous activities the Ring O'Bells is ideal.
Daytimes and evenings the pub offers a moveable feast of characters where visitors and locals intermingle as to their want. Being dog-friendly there's always a lively crew of canines too and the odd cat pops in to spit and hiss whilst the sparrows, swifts and wrens flit carelessly amongs the throngs.
But nighttime is, to my mind, the really unique experience that the Ring O'Bells offers. When the bar finally shuts, the dogs tire, the cats go prowling elsewhere and the birds go home to roost that's the time to take your pre-planned nightcap out onto the village square and listen to nothing. There may be a breeze to rustle the chestnuts and oaks and a faint distant gurgle of the stream. An owl may hoot far off and perhaps a water vole will squeal as nature takes its course but overwhelmingly there's silence.
On a clear night the myriad of stars hardly twinkle. The air being so unpolluted by man-made distractions, the starlight is clean and cold and the Milky Way does look like a faint river of whitewash as their backdrop. Even a full moon's silvery sheen fails to denigrate the blackness even if it does light your footpath.
Then the sense of smell takes over. In the absence of sound, sight or touch the earthy moorland aromas, scented by the garden's and natural flora, invade nostrils and taste buds both. That's the time I like best when you can stop thinking and just experience before retiring to your plump mattress (or/and mistress - or even your wife) and enjoy what'll probably be one your best night's sleep ever.
I didn't stay. I stopped off for a cup of tea. It cost £2.50 which I consider to be excessive for a dartmoor hotel in mid winter. Didn't even bother to ask about accomodation.
...for character and location this really is an excellent little hotel. OK this is another place I've worked for but at least I hope I can give a relatively unbiased review. Rooms can be a little quirky with their individual furnishings and perhaps the odd saggy matress but all are equipped with the basic amenities required of a mid-market hotel and the slightly more expensive "Premier Rooms" are well worth splashing out that extra few quid for. Service can be a little haphazard at times but is always friendly and the cuisine almost makes the hotel worth a stay in its own right. Public areas are as quirky as the rooms and equally characterful - the owner has a thing for antique clocks (some of which may or may not actually tell the time!!) - but are comfortable and welcoming.
This isn't the fanciest hotel on The Moor, nor perhaps the cheapest, but all the basics are in place and the location in the valley of the West Dart (which is bridged here by, strangely enough, 2 bridges) is superb for just getting away from it all, whether for a relaxing break or more energetic Moorland pursuits ;-p
OK I've actually worked here and have been put up in one of the rooms without having to pay for it. But I can be objective and I definitely have a "fly-on-the-wall" understanding of the way the place runs.
This IS a good hotel! Well-run, well-managed, friendly owners and staff and high standards all round. Rooms, even at the cheaper end (tho' not THAT cheap!!), are spacious and with all the expected 3-star bits and bobs. Food and service equally 3-star and it is a great location on the western edge of The Moor not too far from the main A38 road between Exeter and Plymouth.
Whilst the rooms are perfectly comfortable, the grounds immaculate and the location and views superb there is also the added bonus of a fitness and leisure suite with heated pool, sauna and gymnasium for those who need to work off the calories having dined (and supped!)the previous night!!
Here is a link to >
- Caravan Parks
[http://www.discoverdartmoor.co.uk/accommodation/step2.asp?BusinessSubType=4]B&B & Guesthouses
At a Dartmoor B&B or Guest House you can be assured of a warm welcome and made to feel at home. Relax and delight in the personal attention and ambience in these delightful distinctive properties. Enjoy delicious home-cooked food made from locally-produced foods known for their quality and taste. Whether you are here for bed and breakfast or a longer holiday on Dartmoor, this is a home from home.
The views on Dartmoor lend itself to wild camping. There is long list of rules & regulations to adhere to, but most are just common sense. Check out the web site below before you set off. I personally feel the most important rules are to keep clear of water courses, especially near the reserviors & leave your site as you found it.
We bought this partly converted ex BT van, worked hard finishing her off & named her
"Nomad". The spot we stopped at in the photo is high on a Tor over looking the famous village Widecombe in the Moor. (Uncle Tom Cobbley and All).
There are of course a few official campsites more so on the ouskirts & boundarys of the Moor in places like Ashburton and Bovey Tracey and a Barn Bunk at Manaton, south Dartmoor.
Peace, wonderful views, free!
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