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3-bed luxury cottage in unspoilt Tarka & War Horse country. Near RHS Rosemoor

Bedrooms 3
Separate WC's1
Space 947 sq. ft.
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 2 nights


About the property

3-bed luxury cottage on Tarka Trail. Views over War Horse Valley to Dartmoor

Old Beams is a luxurious three bedroom cottage in the secluded hamlet of Upcott, which hugs the highest ridge between Dartmoor and Exmoor with panoramic views down the Torridge valley and over the moor. The famous Tarka Trail runs right past the front door, linking Dartmoor to the sea, and you can be hiking on High Willhays or surfing at Saunton Sands within 45 minutes’ drive.

About the cottage:

Old Beams is a mediaeval farmworkers’ cottage, with thick stone walls, oak beams and a huge inglenook fireplace. It was sympathetically restored and extended by my grandparents in the mid-20th century and the house was completely refurbished in 2014, putting in a high-specification kitchen and bathrooms.

The original stone building now contains a large sitting room downstairs with a wood burner and two bedrooms and a family bathroom upstairs. The modern extension adds a ground floor bedroom and a full kitchen (with eye-level oven, microwave, induction hob, larder fridge with ice-box and double sink), utility room (with washing machine and dishwasher) and downstairs cloakroom. All the bedrooms have zip-and-link super-king size beds from Millbrook, who supply hand-made beds for 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, luxury hotels and ocean liners. An independent outbuilding provides a garage and a garden room, with views of Dartmoor. Between the house and outbuilding is a courtyard garden, planted in a country cottage style and furnished with table and chairs, parasol and barbecue. A small field up the lane provides families with space for a kick-around or to walk the dog.

About the local area:

Follow Tarka the Otter south, through the fields and deep lanes all the way to Dartmoor for a swim in Cranmere Pool or just as far as the famous Duke of York pub in the next village of Iddesleigh for a pint of local Otter ale. North on the trail lies Dolton, with its river meadows and bluebell woods along the Torridge itself at Halsdon nature reserve. Here you can see kingfishers, otters and even Rolling Stones drummers: Charlie Watts has lived here since the 1970’s.

Other famous inhabitants include Joey the War Horse, who was born and raised on our cousin’s farm in Iddesleigh, and his biographer, the children’s writer Michael Morpurgo; Ted Hughes, our former neighbour, whose experiences as a local farmer inspired his Moortown Diary and James Ravilious, the photographer, whose work celebrates the unspoilt countryside and timeless villages of deepest Devon. It is the perfect place to get away from it all and not just for writers and artists; the Great Train Robbers infamously hid out nearby in a hotel at Beaford and had the police digging up the local fields looking for their loot!

Activities within a mile of home include fly-fishing on the Torridge, coarse fishing at Stafford Moor fishery, horse riding and, of course, walking (ask us for more details). Our cousin’s farm at Iddesleigh is the original centre for Farms for City Children and has recently opened a War Horse Valley centre, with museums of WWI and rural life and farming, farm machinery exhibits and an opportunity to meet some farm animals, including Joey the war horse. A genuine farmhouse tea is available, in a genuine farmhouse, with scones and clotted cream and jam.

About the wider area:

RHS Rosemoor is a major attraction just 9 miles north (15 minutes’ drive) outside Torrington. Laid out by our friend Lady Anne Berry, she gave the house and garden to the RHS in 1988 to create a “Wisley of the West” and today it attracts nearly 200,000 visitors a year. The 16 hectare site today comprises Lady Anne’s original mid-20th century planting of rare and unusual specimens and a large late-20th century riverside extension of water gardens, parkland garden, meadows and a sequence of formal garden rooms exhibiting various styles of ornamental and productive horticulture. There is also a visitor centre with regular exhibitions and events, a refectory serving local produce and an excellent plant and gift shop. Other attractions at Torrington include the civil war museum (site of an early military disaster when ammunition blew up the local church and the prisoners of war in it), the leper fields and the famous Dartington Glass works, where visitors can tour the production line, watch fine glassware being blown and purchase items at factory prices from the shop on site.

To the south at Okehampton, gateway to the moor, is a great ruined castle, once the largest Norman castle in Devon and home of the Courtenays, the Earls of Devon. To its east at Drewsteignton is Castle Drogo, the last castle to be built in Britain in the early 20th century by a retail millionaire and now a National Trust property famous for its gardens and woodland valley walks. Okehampton is also the home of the Dartmoor railway, a preserved railway that runs regular services to Exeter daily in summer, some under steam. The wider area is also comically rich in off-beat museums like Barometer World (Merton), the Gnome Reserve (Bradworthy), the Combat Collection of army vehicles (Cobbaton) and the Quince honey farm (South Molton); the last also has a children’s soft-play barn with slides and climbing frames etc.

To the north, at the mouth of the Torridge, lies Bideford, Charles Kingsley’s “little white town that slopes upwards from its broad tide” with its a famous mediaeval Long Bridge over the river. Bideford is a departure point for ferries to Lundy. Beyond Bideford, major attractions include the Big Sheep at Westward Ho! and the Milky Way at Clovelly to the west, which are sheep and dairy theme parks respectively with amusement rides, children’s activities, petting zoos and even sheep racing. Clovelly itself is a charming cliff-side fishing village, one of the postcard views in Devon, and Westward Ho! is a kiss-me-quick seaside resort, famous for its punctuation and its spectacular pebble ridge separating the beach from a first class golf links on Northam Burrows, where the hazards include sheep and ponies as well as bunkers. Beyond Clovelly lies Hartland, remote even by the standards of Devon and infamous for its twisted cliffs and shipwrecks. Sense and Sensibility was filmed at Hartland Abbey, with its secret valley to the sea.

The southwest coastal path connects Bideford to Clovelly and Hartland in the west and to Barnstaple, Braunton and the surfing beaches of Saunton, Woolacombe and Croyde in the east. There is a cycle track from Meeth, just across the Torridge from Old Beams, which follows the trackbed of the old railway down the Torridge to Bideford via Torrington and around the estuary to Barnstaple and Braunton. The first section from Meeth to Torrington is unsealed and requires a mountain bike but the section from Torrington is metalled. The cycle track connects to the coastal footpath at Bideford and Barnstaple.

More Details

About Us

Richard Hadden
Anstey Estate LLP
16 Rollestone Crescent
EX4 5EB Exeter
Companies House, OC379185
Anstey Estate LLP Registered Office: 69, High Street, Bideford, Devon. EX39 2AT
VAT Reg No183497959

Richard Hadden
Member since: 2014
Speaks French, German, Spanish
Response time:
Within 2 days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
16 August, 2017

About Richard Hadden

We run a small family estate in Devon, with local roots back to the 13th Century.

Why Richard Hadden chose Torridge

Old Beams is a mediaeval farmworkers' cottage on the edge of our farm, Pewson Barton. It was rescued and restored by my grandparents in the mid-20th century. We have recently refurbished it as a luxury holiday let.

Guestbook comments from the owner

We had a lovely stay thank you!!
Aug 2014
  • 1 of 1


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday cottage in Dowland in Torridge District

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Self-catering
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 947 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • rural
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Farm Holidays
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Fireplace ...
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Hob ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Separate WC
  • Bathroom 1 - Toilet , Bath with Shower
    Bathroom 2 - Toilet
  • Family bathroom. Full-size bath + electric shower with glass screen. WC. Heated, illuminated shaving mirror and shaver power point. Basin.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Bedroom 3 (ground floor, off sitting room) - 2 Single Bed , (Zip and link twin, can be made up a superking size double)
    Bedroom 2 (first floor, south) - 1 Extra Lg. Double Bed , (Superkingsize bed - zip and link, can be made up as a twin)
    Bedroom 1 (first floor, north) - 1 Extra Lg. Double Bed , Zip and link twin, can be made up as a superking
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Toys
  • Video Library
  • Terrace ...
  • Garden ...
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Barbecue
  • Veranda ...
  • Yard
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible ...
  • arboretum
  • autumn foliage
  • botanical garden
  • churches
  • forests
  • library
  • live theatre
  • museums
  • playground
  • pond
  • restaurants
  • ruins
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • paragliding
  • tennis
Tarka trail footpath runs outside front gate south to Iddesleigh (home of Joey the War Horse) and the famous Duke of York pub and beyond to Dartmoor; north along green lane to Dowland and on to Torrington and Exmoor. Guests may walk across owner's farm (adjacent). The River Torridge and Halsdon nature reserve are a few miles away; the Tarka cycle path along disused railway to Torrington, Bideford, Barnstaple and the North Devon beaches starts at Meeth, just over the river. RHS Rosemoor is fifteen minutes drive away. Ted Hughes's old farm, Moortown, and Michael Morpurgo's house are close by.


Excellent! 4.5/5 -
(22 traveller reviews)

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3-bed luxury cottage in unspoilt Tarka & War Horse country. Near RHS Rosemoor
average rating of 4.5454545 based on 23 reviews

Wonderful house, full of character

  • 5 of 5

We stayed as a group of 5 at Dowland for my mum's 70th birthday and had a fantastic time. The rooms are all beautifully furnished with nice bed linen and very comfortable beds. The kitchen was very well equipped with good quality kitchen ware and fittings.The house was exceptionally clean for a rental property with good instructions for settling in and plenty of local information. It was lovely to be able to use the woodburner making it feel very cosy. Close to lots of wonderful walks.

The garden is traditional and well established with plenty of lovely plants and flowers creating a great view from the kitchen and downstairs bedroom. However the table and chairs could do with updating or a lick of paint and the barbecue didn't look as if it had been used for some time from the cover.

It is quite a distance to main roads so we appreciated the directions given to use by Richard the owner who kept us well informed prior to the visit and left helpful and clear instructions in the house itself.

I would recommend the house for those who appreciate the quiet of the countryside and are looking for a relaxing break away from other people. I would love to return to this property with my family in the future to explore more of the local area and to take advantage of the walks which are just on the doorstep.

  • Review Submitted: Jul 12, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Jun 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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Welcoming cottage that wrapped its walls around us.

  • 5 of 5

If Devon had a beyond 'Old Beams' would be in the back of it. Not that its quiet -the birds, tractors, bees, cockerel and his hens (came to visit us every day) saw to that. The garden with its fragrant roses and traditional cottage flowers attracted the tourists of the insect, feathered and butterfly varieties and very popular it was to. With its hazy views over Dartmoor it was truly the finest place to eat breakfast.

We also had a magnificent lightening storm over the moor on the first night. I am not sure this could be repeated for every guest!

The cottage is clean and welcoming with low ceilings and thick walls. Old, solid, dark wooden furniture compliment this.The kitchen and the bathroom are modern and functional.It is situated within easy access of Devonian attractions in delicious countryside.

We got caught up in a distressing RTA on our first full day which cast a pall over the rest of our holiday so we found it difficult to enjoy the rest of our stay. The cottage became a comforting sanctuary to relax and recuperate in.

  • Review Submitted: Jun 5, 2017
  • Date of Stay: May 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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very snug, well equipped clean cottage

  • 5 of 5

We chose this cottage as it was the 45 miles mark of the coast to coast cycle route. The beds were lovely and the kitchen well equipped. Thank you

  • Review Submitted: May 1, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Apr 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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Beautiful West Country cottage ,well maintained and stunning inside and out

  • 5 of 5

If your looking for a beautiful cottage in stunning surroundings this is the place. The cottage has everything you want and more. It is exceptionally well maintained.The owner Richard is a genuine guy and makes sure you have all that you need to make your stay the best it can be. You can walk to two pubs, one by road approx. 40 minutes, the other along a public footpath, 30 minutes. Or you can take the car but I recommend the walks. Ideally located for access to Dartmoor and the north coast of Devon. I cold write much more but the simple fact is this property is one of the best we have stayed in and we would happily return.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 8, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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A lovely character cottage, which was ideal for our family of five.

  • 4 of 5

Great facilities and really liked the character. Good storage for bikes, we loved the nearby tarka trail and the local pub The Duke of York. Richard (the owner) was very helpful, before during and after our stay. Perfect spot for getting away from it all.

  • Review Submitted: Aug 24, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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wonderful cottage

  • 5 of 5

Just spent a wonderful week at Old Beams, 6 adults plenty of room, everything we needed, shower coped with 6 showers no problem, beautiful setting, Richard was very helpful answered all my e_mails quickly giving me some very helpful suggestions, a well kept cottage, lovely moden kitchen, rest of the cottage has kept it's character, good quality bedding and towels, would highly recommend staying here.Visited 29th July to 6th August 2016

  • Review Submitted: Aug 9, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Jul 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
30 Miles
Exeter Airport
Nearest Barpub
1 Miles
Duke of York, Iddesleigh
Nearest Ferry
50 Miles
Nearest Train
28 Miles
Exeter St Davids
Nearest Motorway
15 Miles
A30 (Whiddon Down)
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
Duke of York, Iddesleigh
Nearest Beach
20 Miles
Saunton Sands
Car: necessary

Rural Devon


Prices & Availability

Prices for this holiday cottage in Dowland, Devon

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event Price
Summer 2017
17 Mar 2017 - 30 Sep 2017
2 night minimum stay
for 2 nights
18 Dec 2017 - 7 Jan 2018
2 night minimum stay
for 2 nights
My Standard Rate
2 night minimum stay
for 2 nights

Additional pricing information

Cleaning Fee £50
Damage Deposit £300

For transparency, we offer you the same price per night whether you book a long or short stay and we charge an additional cleaning fee for short stays (<1 week).
Changeover day is Friday but we are happy to consider shorter or longer bookings. Please contact the owner directly to discuss. Refundable damage bond required for all bookings. Pets only accepted by negotiation, additional deposit may be required.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.
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