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The School House, Coryton - a peaceful retreat (sleeps 6)

Bedrooms 3
Separate WCs1
Space 1,930 sq ft
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights


About the property

3 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, 2 Living Rooms. Spacious Contemporary Kitchen with Aga

This exceptionally comfortable property combines the charm of the country with beautiful design. The accommodation comprises three cleverly-connected segments, two historic, one contemporary.

The whole house is extremely light. The original Victorian wing comprises a large drawing room, over which is the master bedroom, with room for a cot at the end of the room, with en suite shower and bath. At the back of the house, handmade terracotta tiles lead to an antique wash room and separate laundry room.

The spacious kitchen inhabits the old infants room, and is beautifully equipped with antique chairs and carved walnut table. The Aga is backed up by a Miele induction top cooker.

There is a walk in larder. A second front door leads into a hall way with butler’s pantry off it and up a step into the drawing room of the new extension. This is tall and airy, providing 2 bedrooms, one en suite bathroom, one separate bathroom.

The upstairs bedroom has an open mezzanine area beside it and a basin in it, overlooking the orchard and terraced lawns. Every bathroom has underfloor heating and the showers are powerful.

There is plenty of space to sit and eat on the temple or lie outside in the garden. Open fires can be lit in both sitting rooms, one is a music room with piano, perfect for afternoon tea or evening drinks.

Trips to Dartmoor, north Cornwall and a brace of historic towns will enliven any stay. Guests abiding memory is of the tranquility of this hidden corner of Devon, the stillness and quality of sleep and the dramatic sunset views from the garden across the valley.

More Details

Joanna Bird
Member since: 2016
Speaks English, French, Italian
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
5 August, 2018

About Joanna Bird

My grandparents lived in Devon and I grew up there for much of my early life. I have owned this property for nearly 40 years.

Initially the building was simply two original Victorian School rooms, which served me well while I was a potter. Over the years the house has evolved with the addition of an architecturally designed wing giving us an unusual, spacious and happy family home. Today, I live and work much of the time in London but it is still our home to escape to, a haven.

The garden is nearly an acre with an orchard leading into a secret garden with three large terraces. The views over the valley are exceptional, as they were in the 17th Century.

Joanna Bird purchased this house in 1979

Why Joanna Bird chose West Devon District

The School House is in the hamlet of Coryton, and sits beside a beautiful old church. When I first saw the school, all the windows were boarded up, the cobbles around it were covered in thick grass; restoring it was an epic adventure of sleeping beauty proportions, breathing new life into a historic building of great character.

I was conscious of keeping the original features during the restoration while still creating inviting modern interiors. The result is a pleasing juxtaposition of old and new, something I really enjoy in a building and is part of what makes this home so special.

There are many books to read, a good music system, recorders and a piano.

What makes this house unique

For me, it is a place to restore energy and refresh my view of the world. There is a sense of well being and contentment which comes from staying in a beautiful house which is rooted in the Devon countryside and settled.

Every guest who has stayed here has commented on the quality of their stay and can't wait to come back!

Guestbook comments from the owner

There is nothing quite like dining outside under a grape arbour, and it is even better when that arbour is a temple paying homage to a valley of luscious green pastures segmented by wide, medieval hedge rows. During my visit, the ewes were accompanied by their lambs, still with tails on, and bluebells lined the narrow lanes and covered the woodland understory. The house and its lovely garden are a linear affair, wedged between a seldom-travelled lane and a churchyard, its rooms standing full front to the view. It was created out of an 1833, two-room school that has been augmented with a large addition. In its whole, it is a work of art: outside, three gables echo in a sidestep line, with new grey oak blending beautifully with old stone, granite and slate, all local and lichen-graced; inside, it is original and charming, fully and very comfortably appointed. The eat-in kitchen is atmospheric but top-of-the-line modern with beautiful countertops and appliances. There are two large living rooms with working fireplaces, and three bedrooms and three modern bathrooms, some rooms with high ceilings and high windows. The variety of volumes, flow of the spaces, and creativity of the fenestration made me feel that I was enjoying an inspired architectural sculpture from the inside. For cool weather, the house is well heated; on warm days, we left the windows and doors open and breezes wafted through. I would like to return again and again, to see it in all its seasons, enjoy the deep peace, and to use it as a home base for exploring England’s remarkable counties Devon and Cornwall.
May 2016
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Accommodation and facilities for this holiday house in West Devon District in Devon

Property Type:
  • house
  • Self-catering
Floor Area:
  • 1930 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 15:00
  • /
  • Check-out: 11:00
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • Pets not allowed
  • Non smoking only
Location Type:
  • rural
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Hob ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 8 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • 1 Separate WC
  • Downstairs Bedroom en suite - Toilet , Shower Enclosure
    Downstairs Bathroom - Toilet , Bath with Shower
    W/C - Toilet , Original victorian sink
    Master Bedroom en Suite - Toilet , Bath (no shower) , Shower Enclosure , Cast iron bath
  • All bathrooms have underfloor heating
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Master Bedroom - 2 Single Bed , Two twin beds with space for cot or Moses basket
    Upstairs Bedroom - 1 Double Bed , Sink in room
    Downstairs Bedroom - 1 Large Double Bed , Private en suite
  • Each bed has a Dumas memory foam mattress topper for extra comfort. There is the option to create a double bed from the twin beds in the Master Bedroom on request.
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Games ...
  • Stereo
  • Television ...
  • Terrace ...
  • Garden ...
  • Barbecue
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • autumn foliage
  • churches
  • forests
  • pond
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness centre
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • paragliding
  • swimming
  • tennis


4.8/5 -
(5 traveller reviews)

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The School House, Coryton - a peaceful retreat (sleeps 6)
average rating of 4.8 based on 7 reviews

Fantastic location - modern on the inside!

  • 5 of 5

This is a very nice escape, great way to get away from it all, while still being a little connected. This School House has every amenity you could need and with 4 adults and 1 child, there was plenty of room for all, probably more than we needed. The owner and housekeeper were readily available for the few questions we had. We miss waking up and falling asleep to the sheep....highly recommend if you are really looking to get away from it all.

  • Review Submitted: 08-Aug-2018
  • Date of Stay: July 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: It was a pleasure to have you and your family, thank you for flying all the way from the US. You left the house immaculate - as if no one had been there, thank you. Hope you will find a peaceful place again with some more friendly sheep and bird song to wake up to!
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lovely stay in a beautiful place

  • 5 of 5

We had a brilliant stay at this house.

We were 2 couples with a baby each and Joanna was excellent in keeping in touch and accommodating our needs for the babies. Cots were included which was appreciated.

We were able to use 2 separate wings of the house in order to prevent the kids from waking each other up!

Beds comfy. Kitchen was awesome - the Aga was great to use (as was the regular oven!). Loved the bath in the master bedroom, and the outside spaces and the lounge were perfect.

Jill was nearby and really helpful, and Joanna the owner was always available and on hand for queries.

Peaceful, relaxing, cosy and comfortable. A great stay. Great recommendations of places to visit nearby, and even when it was raining it was great to just relax in the house.

Thoroughly recommend

  • Review Submitted: 13-Aug-2018
  • Date of Stay: August 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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Pleasant peaceful cottage

  • 4 of 5

Lovely stay in old school house with annexe separate for children. Gardens and views lovely and peaceful. Owner Joanna very helpful. Only a few issues though. Could not use the Aga to cook various meals at once but good for heating food. Couldn't get the separate oven hob to work either. Could have done with a microwave as a fall back but not provided. We had the master bedroom with beautiful sunken en suite but only twin beds provided we pushed them together but unfortunately come apart easily as I found to my cost when falling through the middle during the night. Also please note the cottage is attached to a grave yard so bear in mind if children are spooked by this. Overall a lovely peaceful place to come back to after exploring Devon.

  • Review Submitted: 06-Sep-2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Karen Thank you for your review, and comments. Feedback is very useful. I am always happy to answer visitors’ questions to help them make the most of their stay at the School House. We have had many wonderful family meals in the kitchen with the help of the four oven Aga and additional Miele electric cooker, I wish you had enjoyed that experience too. There’s an Aga cook book amongst the recipe books for extra help. Sorry that you had a problem with the Miele oven and four ceramic induction plates, which just needed to be reset. I have found that the Aga can easily do the job of a microwave. The old part of the house has two twin beds – and is not advertised as a double bedroom, because we find it more flexible to have it that way; there are two double beds in the new wing of the house. This combination seems to work well. The Old School House is nestled beside an ancient church set in a beautiful peaceful churchyard, often swathed with wild flowers which change with the seasons. I am so glad that you enjoyed your experience despite the issues you encountered. I am always very happy to help visitors to make the most of their stay, as it is such a magical spot. Joanna
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1 0

Fabulous house and garden in a beatiful rural setting

  • 5 of 5

The Old School house is a lovely, spacious and interesting home, equipped with more than you can imagine! Inside, the house is one continuous house but in two halves (the original stone school house and the newer wooden 'Ark' ) joined by a wonderful family kitchen warmed by the Aga. There are lots of places to find your own space and read or relax or listen to music and there's a piano too if you want to make some music! There's a feeling of generosity in the property, whether its the ample supply of dishwasher tablets or the size of the towels (in some rentals the towels are like postage stamps! not here!). The bedrooms and bathrooms were spacious and comfortable, finished to a very high standard.

The garden is as you can see on the photos - we particularly enjoyed playing croquet on the three tier terrace and sunbathing on the comfortable reclining chairs overlooking the uninterrupted view of the rolling Devon hills.

The house is really away from it all, next to a church and between a couple of farms either end of the road and pretty much nothing else. So if you are looking for peace and quiet and a house where 6 of you can choose to be close or find your own space, it's ideal.

We are an active family of 5 with three lads two in late teens and one in his 20's who enjoy walking, running and cycling. We spent half of most of the days out on the Moor being energetic and then chilled at the house the rest of the time. We chose to go to the Dartmoor NP via Tavistock as the road was quick and easy. Shopping in the Tesco superstore was simple and en route home. It took us about 25 minutes to get to the heart of the Moor and there are lots of places to walk and run and cycle. We enjoyed a cream tea at the Two Bridges Hotel - but be prepared, they are delicious but large portions! We also enjoyed cycling around the hamlets around Coryton but its easy to get lost on the narrow lanes which all look the same! At the wend of our week on our way home we went via Haytor on the east of the Moor and that was a great place to park up and climb up both of the Tors before a long journey.

We ate outside some of the time when the sun was out and as the Rio Olympics was on TV, we spent several late evenings relaxing together in the living room cheering on team GB.

Joanna is a helpful, friendly and thoughtful owner and we'd thoroughly recommend staying here and enjoying the home, garden and surrounding area!

  • Review Submitted: 16-Aug-2016
  • Date of Stay: August 2016
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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3 0

A truly delightful house and wonderful gardens.

  • 5 of 5

A wonderful house, full of personality and inspiring with a wealth of interesting features and artwork. A very quiet and charming valley, yet close to Dartmoor, Cornwall and some lovely towns and castles.

  • Review Submitted: 08-Aug-2016
  • Date of Stay: July 2016
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your kind review. So glad you enjoyed your time at the School House - and all that it has to offer - including the terraced secret garden. Hope you will come again, you were ideal guests and left the house just as you found it.
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Nearest Airport
43 Miles
Exeter Airport
Nearest Barpub
3.4 Miles
The Harris Arms
Nearest Ferry
23 Miles
Torpoint Ferry
Nearest Golf
7 Miles
Nearest Train
37 Miles
Exeter St Davids
Nearest Motorway
10 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
3.4 Kilometres
The Harris Amrs
Nearest Beach
28 Miles
Trebarwith, Tintagel
Car: necessary

National Trust houses at Cotehele, Castle Drogo and Buckland Abbey are all within an hour's drive. The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan are firm favourites. Fowey and St Mawes are lovely towns for day trips to explore the South Cornish coast.

The St Endellion Festival for music lovers runs in Spring and Summer with programmes by Mark Padmore. Port Eliot also run an annual arts festival. Olga Polizzi's Hotel Endsleigh provides excellent afternoon tea and cocktails overlooking the River Tamar.

If you venture out, the Darmoor Inn at Lydford has excellent food, only a 10 minute drive and can be the perfect end to a day's walking on Dartmoor from Widgery. There is a particularly picturesque steam just beyond the car park below Widgery Tor.

Those interested in gardening can visit The Garden House near Yelverton, Cotehele Gardens and Caerhays. In romantic Daphne de Maurier country, Glendurgan Gardens specialises in exotic plantings and has a laurel maze.

For the active, there is surfing at Polzath and many local beaches to choose from Tintagel, Trebarwith Strand and Tregardock. You can find delicious fresh crab and lobster for your picnic while wandering through Port Isaac, the backdrop for TV's Doc Martin.

There are four local castles at Lydford, Launceston, Okehampton and Powderham. In Cornwall, Chysauster Ancient Village offers a fascinating look at Roman life and is close to Penzance, Mousehole, Zennor, Lamorna cove and the Minack open-air theatre.


Prices & Availability

Prices for this holiday house in West Devon District, West Country

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event Price
1 Aug 2018 - 28 Sep 2018
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
29 Sep 2018 - 26 Oct 2018
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
27 Oct 2018 - 20 Dec 2018
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
Summer 2019
1 Aug 2019 - 30 Sep 2019
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
Summer 2020
1 Aug 2020 - 30 Sep 2020
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
My Standard Rate
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights

Additional pricing information

Fees No additional mandatory fees
Refundable Damage Deposit £250

Music & Books -Please enjoy the collection of books and CDs, but please do not remove any from the house.

Included: All utilities (gas, electricity, water and wi-fi)

The property is rented as seen, and the tenant is responsible for any damage to the property or contents. The owner may charge for the cost of repair or replacement.

The owner is not responsible for any theft or loss of valuables at the property or otherwise. Tenants are advised to keep valuables safe. There is no insurance against theft and/or loss of personal items beside any insurance cover the tenant may have taken out themselves. Should a theft or robbery occur, tenants are asked to inform the local police.

The house is insured against fire, storm & water damage. Damage sustained to the house or contents, or to belongings of the tenant, must be reported immediately to the owner as well as any other incidents. The tenant has the role of the house owner during their stay. The owner is not responsible for any damage occurring to the tenant due to deterioration of any parts of the house during their stay.

The owner has the right to refuse entry to the house to anyone at any time, and has the right to end the rental agreement at any moment, if there is evidence of the tenant not using the house properly or for purposes other than are appropriate for a holiday property rental. Any unlawful acts within the house, either by the tenant or any people with the tenant, will end the rental agreement immediately. No illegal drug consumption or any storage of illegal drugs in the house is permitted.

Please do not forget to sign the guest book and enjoy your stay!

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date.
  • 100% refund for cancellations more than 60 days before check-in date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.
Ask Owner a Question

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