The Mid Devon area

Hele Barton Farm is situated on the west edge of Devon, in the area between Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks. The farm is between the A377 and the A361 (and to the east the M5).

The area is known for its beauty, its easy access to beaches, hiking and cycling trails, as well as having loads of events, interesting villages and tons of stuff to pass the time.

The area was known for logging, and the transport of forestry products. The river Taw flows alongside the A377, and was at the heart of the ferrying of the products up to Barnstaple or down to Exeter. The area has towns and villages built upon this industry. Crediton (to the south) was the banking centre for the area. Nowadays farming is main industry, with lacemaking in Tiverton.

National Parks

Dartmoor National Park
The park is recognised as one of the UK's finest landscapes. Dartmoor is the largest open moor in southern England and a place of remoteness and tranquillity. Radiating out from the moorland core are deep river valleys cutting through enclosed farmland with distinctive field patterns and historic features which evidence our historic relationship with the land.

Dartmoor’s landscape has inspired many writers, poets and painters over the centuries, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles and more recently Steven Spielberg set his War Horse film in the vast and spectacular Dartmoor landscape.

Exmoor National Park
Exmoor is an amazing place, with a different spectacular view around every footpath corner. The park offers runs on the highest cliffs in England, a walk or a cycle across the many trails or a cream tea by the side of a babbling brook.

Open spaces, heather topped moorland, glimpses of wild red deer or iconic Exmoor ponies, explore woodlands, village (and the pubs), or marvel at a unique landscape shaped by nature over thousands of years.

Close to Hele Barton Farm

Thelbridge Cross Inn is a cosy country inn, a couple of minutes up the the road from the farm, games room, sports bar, traditonal bar and a restaurant with a fantastic Sunday lunch.
The Black Dog Inn, a couple of minutes down the road Traditional country pub, dating from 1765, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Farm shops
We have three farm shops close to Hele Barton Farm; Westmiddlewick Farm has raw milk, Thorne’s Farm Shop has local and award-winning produce and Exe Valley Farm Shop, with a cafe and stocks everything from fresh fish to Red Ruby beef and parsnips.

Ploughing matches
During September and October you will find these locally, many with vintage machinery and horse ploughing. There are also wonderful cake and flower classes to take part in.

Local agricultural shows
From May to September there are many of these events in Devon. Look out for the Mid Devon Show, which typically runs on a Saturday around the end of July.

Bob Crooks Glass
Just half a mile away to see this renowned artist at work or purchase some glass.

Melchior Chocolates
Luxury chocolatier, based in South Molton, workshops available.

Towns & cities

Exeter was around well before the Romans landed in Britain. It is old. Many historical sites abound, Roman Wall, Cathedral, Underground Passages and more. For shopping, take a stroll down Gandy Street, the town centre has all the standard stores. Check out the Quayside, gorgeous in the summer, lots of water sports, mountain climbing, multiple waterfront restaurants and bars.

Closest town (or the closest, largest town) to Hele Barton Farm, Tiverton lies next to the Grand Western Canal, which has an astonishing 24 bridges along an eleven mile stretch. Tiverton also has mills, castles and horse drawn barges using the canal.

Largest town in North Devon, at the North end of the River Taw. The gateway to the North Devon gorgeous coastal beaches and the lengthy Tarka Trail. Previously a prosperous town through 19th century trade with America, this has left Barnstaple with many fine buildings (check out the Pannier Market) and a rich history.

Plymouth is a vibrant waterfront, port city. The city has quaint cobbled streets, a picturesque harbour, a wealth of shops, galleries and museums, combined with dazzling views. Synonymous with Francis Drake, the Mayflower, Plymouth Gin, sea battles and ocean-explorations.

Places to visit

Devon and Cornwall is awash with beaches. We are right in the middle of the peninsula, making it quick and easy to get to either coastline. Favourite North Devon beaches include; Woolacombe, Saunton and Westward Ho! - all long, wide and surfable (or paddle boarding, kite surfing if that is your thing); further East is Lynmouth, with a cliff top railway and unusual surroundings; picks in South Devon are Bantham and Burgh Island - a lovely place and a favourite of Agatha Christie.

Loads of activities through the counties; Haldon Forest and Go Ape - great for walks and anxiety inducing tree top walks (and a zip line); theme parks abound with Crealy Adventure Park, Milky Way (wake boarding is available), The Big Sheep (for the kids), Woodlands Adventure Park; Quince Honey Farm and Tiverton Canal (the canal has a surprising number of activities attached); then further afield Eden Project and Minack Theatre.

There are lots of unusual and cool villages and little places. In South Devon, there is Seaton and Brixham (traditional fishing villages), Dartmouth (kinda elegant and posh - but beautiful); in North Devon, we have Clovelly (cliff top down to the coast, quite unique), Croyde (a favourite amongst the surfers); in Cornwall, Sennen (nice village near Lands End), St Ives (St Meors beach is beautiful), Padstow (for those Rick Stein fish 'n' chips).

The national parks are stunning and are well set-up for hikes of all distances, as well as bike trails. Other spots for walks are Eggesford Forest, Two Moors Way, Tiverton Merchants' Trail, Culm Valley Cloth Trail, West Exe Trails, Grand Western Canal. Also check out Shobrooke Park and Blackdown Hills.

Ask for maps.

National Trust in Devon & Cornwall

National Trust do a great job of restoring, maintaining and protecting venues and environments. The Trust manages many places in Devon and Cornwall.

The are lots of places to visit; Killerton Estate and Parkland (great walks, beautiful parkland), Knighthayes (Victorian gothic architecture and grand gardens), Lydford Gorge (the deepest river gorge in the South West), there is plenty of other places.

National Trust has a wealth of workshops, indoor activities and much more to discover.