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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:
21 October, 2017

About Richard Hadden

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

Why Richard Hadden chose Dowland

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 -
(29 traveller reviews)

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3-bed luxury cottage in unspoilt Tarka & War Horse country. Near RHS Rosemoor
average rating of 4.4827585 based on 30 reviews


  • 5 of 5

To anyone thinking of renting this property for your holiday do not hesitate it is by far the most charming and comfortable place we have ever stayed ( the bed's are the best we have ever slept in). The Kitchen is very well equipped with everything you will ever need most certainly home from home. You can really tell that Richard cares about making your holiday the best you have ever had. The entire cottage was pristine and very well maintained inside and the garden's are very well managed. The road leading to the village/cottage are typical of Devon very narrow and are single track but by taking care they are not a problem. All in all we had a lovely holiday made even more lovely by staying at Old Beam's.

  • Review Submitted: 05-Aug-2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Mandy, thank you very much for the kind review! We are really glad you had such a great time and appreciated the cottage and the area. We look forward to having you back in future.
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Lovely cottage

  • 4 of 5

Owner was very helpful with info leading up to our stay and gave the impression you could call him any time if we had any problems, not that we had to.

  • Review Submitted: 28-Oct-2017
  • Date of Stay: October 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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Lovely cottage full of character

  • 4 of 5

Enjoyed our stay in this lovely cottage. Weather was bad so we especially enjoyed the wood burning stove in the evenings.

  • Review Submitted: 20-Sep-2017
  • Date of Stay: September 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Very nice cottage in a great location.

  • 4 of 5

We arrived safely by following the owners instructions. We went out to places in North Devon then returned each day to a very well equipped cottage.

  • Review Submitted: 03-Sep-2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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Lovely cottage in the middle of countryside

  • 5 of 5

We had a lovely stay in the Old Beams in august. The little garden has lovely views over to the Moors and we made a few feline friends!! The kitchen is lovely to cook in and the bedrooms all very comfy.

A lovely place to relax and unwind

  • Review Submitted: 01-Sep-2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Lovely cosy rural retreat

  • 4 of 5

Highly recommend!


Felt immediately welcome & at home.

Excellent books & games provided.

Immaculately bed linen & towels.

Very clean generally.

Very very rural - both a pro & a Con (see below!) - meaning that it's peacefully quiet - all bar cockerels, insects, birds, tractors & dogs - none of which we found offensive!

Plenty of lovely hot water for showering.

Kitchen very well equipped.

Appliances all excellent & user friendly and clean.

Adored the wood burner whatever the evening weather threw at us!

Excellent communication from Richard the owner.

A Great base for exploring the area.

Lovely neighbours.

Concise directions for arrival (but could have done with estimates of distance etc.)


Again, Very very rural - poor condition of the immediate surrounding roads so decent car suspension (and breakdown cover) is a must!!!

Get practising your reversing skills too and definitely arrive in daylight!!!

Also a decent navigator is needed alongside a confident driver as 3G/4g signal was intermittent so back-to-basics map reading was needed at times but also fun!

Personally, we found the beds to beautifully big and clean, they were, for us, extremely hard. But again this purely a matter of preference of course and not all tastes can be catered for.

Nearest Local amenities are at least 10 slow bumpy mins away so be prepared to get your groceries in advance to getting home each night!

No hill/area views from any of the cottage windows (other than that of the pretty herb and wildlife garden from the kitchen and downstairs bedroom.) Note: also No views whilst travelling around either as hedges are left very high on all sides of roads throughout Devon and Cornwall!

The DVD "collection" (3 x 18s and 1 family movie) needs expanding so probably best to bring your own favourites.

Garden furniture needs some serious tlc.

Garden is not ideal for young children - paving is broken and uneven in places, with steps and no room to play. Also only a fleeting glimpse of hills hill in the distance on tip toes!

Dog poo left on the green outside the garage but this is of course and obviously out of the owners control.

Various large dogs live "loose" in the surrounding houses - someone with a genuine fear might find this difficult to cope with although we personally didn't find it a problem.

The cottage is looking tired externally and in need of some TLC to match the majority of the interior which is lovely.

  • Review Submitted: 31-Aug-2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Laura, Thank you for your very thorough review and all the kind compliments. The Millbrook mattresses we have are medium firmness in an attempt to cover all tastes (my wife is like the princess with the pea...). We are looking into getting mattress toppers in the hope this helps guests used to softer beds. I am afraid I can do less about the bumps in the road but your comments are very helpful as we are lobbying the council to resurface the lane. Austerity policies have cut the maintenance so the minor roads throughout Devon are increasingly "rustic". However, while a 4x4 is always useful for seeing over the those hedges, locals drive ordinary cars without incident. Map reading is definitely recommended though because GPS and mobile signals are very patchy throughout Devon (all those rolling hills) and the GPS often suggests routes that are mystery tours! I am so sorry your children wanted more room to run around - the garden is small - and I do wish you had told me because we own the neighbouring farm and they could have run all they wanted to there! This is in the particulars and should be in the guest information folder - I apologise if it was missing and I will make sure this is clear to future guests. Finally, you will be pleased to hear that the exterior and garden furniture will be getting an overhaul in time for next season. We have been focused on upgrading the interior but as you point, it is now their turn for some TLC. best wishes, Richard Hadden
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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
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

Refundable Damage Deposit £300
Cleaning (end of stay) £54.17 + Tax
Tax Rate 20.0%

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.
Ask Owner a Question

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