Spring is in the air and as daffodils open their buds, birds sing loudly and the sun begins to grow in warmth, National Trust sites begin to open their doors. To celebrate the start of spring we thought we would share some of the brilliant National Trust Sites in Devon.
Castle Drogo – Near Exeter
The magnificent Castle Drogo sits above the ancient woodlands of the Teign Gorge. The castle was built by the famous 20th century architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The castle was inspired by the rugged beauty of the surrounding moorland of Dartmoor. Currently there are works going on but there are still rooms within the castle on display which will be open from March. As well as the castle itself there are colourful gardens to explore and miles of countryside to walk.
Finch Foundry – Okehampton
If you want to delve into the history of Devon’s industrial past, then explore the Finch Foundry is a must. The enterprise of the Finch family, this amazing site was at one point home to one of the South West’s most successful edge tool factories. The success of the company grew so well that at one point the factory was producing 400 tools a day! As well as the factory there are gardens to explore as well as regular events such as Easter Egg hunts.
Lydford Gorge – Near Tavistock
The Lydford Gorge is the deepest gorge in the South West with a 30m high waterfall! It is a wonderful place to take the family as there is so much wildlife and nature to see on route to the gorge. There are various routes to the White Lady waterfall, from the zig zag steps that take you directly there, to the yellow route with its gentle slopes. When you get to the entrance of the waterfall you can go even deeper into the Devil’s Cauldron where you can see the waterfall crashing down onto the rocks. After your walk, there is a tearoom and gift shop where you can rest your feet and take a souvenir home.
Compton Castle – Paignton
Another castle to admire is Compton Castle, a fortified manor house. During your visit you can explore the house with its high ceilings and historic architecture. You can see the great hall in all its glory, the Solar where the previous inhabitants would rest away from the noise and finally the medieval kitchen. The kitchen was actually kept in a separate building due to the risk the cooking fire caused. As well as the manor house you can also explore the small but very sweet gardens. There is a lawned area, bordered with lavender along with an orchard where dogs are welcome. There is also a rose garden where wonderful, fragrant smells drift through in the summer months. This venue opens in April.
Buckland Abbey – Yelverton
Explore this fantastic site, hidden away in the Tavy Valley. This amazing Abbey and home are 700 years old, from the Cistercians who built it to seafarers Grenville and Drake who changed the shape of the house. You can explore the great Abbey and the Great Barn which has remained virtually unchanged and step back into history. As well as the Abbey you can explore the beautiful grounds which at this time of year can be particularly exquisite with a BlueBell walk. This National Trust site is already open.
Greenway – Near Brixham
Home of the much loved and renowned author, Agatha Christie, this magnificent house and gardens is a real treat for those visiting South Devon. The 1950s home has been left with Agatha and her family’s great collection of archaeology, Tunbridgeware, silver, botanical china and books. As well as exploring Agatha’s home you can explore the stunning gardens surrounding the house. There are romantic woodlands which lead down to the Dart estuary and walled garden which is home to a restored peach house and vinery. Finally you cannot visit Greenway without seeing the famous Boat House, scene of the crime in ‘Dead Man’s Folly’.
Branscombe – Seaton
The village of Branscombe is tucked away in a valley that reaches down to the sea from Devon’s dramatic Jurassic coastline. Surrounded by picturesque countryside this collection of thatched houses, working forge and restored watermill is like stepping back in time. For those wanting an easier route to the village you can reach it from the beach where an easy graded path heads up towards the site. For those feeling more adventurous you can reach the village from the coastal paths, exploring Beer at the same time.
Arlington Court – Near Barnstaple
Arlington Court has been the stately home of the Chichester family for over 500 years. The house was built in 1823 and extended in 1860 and is filled with a wide variety of items from model ships to shells, collected over the vast generations that have lived there. Although the outside of the grand house gives off an austere facade, inside, the rooms are cosy and provide a real sense of a home. As well as the wonderful home there is a carriage museum, home to a huge range of carriages, including a Speaker’s State Coach currently on loan from the Houses of Parliament. Finally, you can explore the magnificent grounds of Arlington Court. There are 20 footpaths to choose from including the popular lake walk. Furthermore, you can visit the Formal Victorian Garden with it’s conservatory which was rebuilt in 2012 and is now home to exotic plants.
Overbecks – Salcombe
Overbecks is one of South Devon’s hidden gems. Tucked away in the cliffs of Salcombe, this hidden oasis is filled with exotic plants making you feel like you are in another country. Home of the scientist and inventor, Otto Overbeck, this magnificent garden is filled with subtropical plants. In addition to the gardens and the many routes you can walk to admire it, you can also visit the Edwardian home. Sit back and relax in the drawing-room, admiring the garden view from the window. Because the house and gardens sit within the cliff of Salcombe the views are quite literally breathtaking, something on its own that is worth seeing. Finally, you can stop off in the tea room for refreshments after exploring the grounds and home.
We hope you have enjoyed this blog and perhaps have been intrigued by the array of National Trust sites within Devon. We have only just touched the surface of all the National Trust sites, there are plenty more which you can find on the National Trust Website.
If you would like to explore any of these National Trust sites and need somewhere to stay be sure to take a look at our accommodation. Here at Devon Farm Holidays, you book direct with the owner which takes out the expensive booking fees.