Local Guide/Attractions/Things to Do

Where to eat in Instow

There are a number of pub/restaurants here in Instow, all within a 2 - 10 minute walk from Springfield House.

The Boathouse

Situated right on the seafront in Instow, looking out to sea and Appledore, The Boathouse enjoys breathtaking views and the sunsets are to die for.  Specialising in fresh seafood, it has an extensive menu catering to all tastes. The restaurant is extremely popular, so booking well in advance is advised.  Their website address is www.theboathouseinstow.wordpress.com



Places to Visit


North Devon Biosphere Reserve

Instow lies within North Devon's  UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the ecological equivalent of a World Heritage Site. Four square miles of beach, dunes and including the Taw-Torridge Estuary, this reserve offers a chance to explore and watch the many different species of nature and animals that inhabit this nature reserve.

Torrington 1646

Visit Great Torrington and travel back in time to the 17th century with costumed characters and experience the life in Torrington during the English Civil War.  Open 1st April until 30th September.



This privately owned village has been in the hands of the same family since 1738. Their aim now is to maintain Clovelly in the style of the mid 19th Century.

The village is well known for its cobbled streets, quaint cottages, its impressive quay dating back to the 14th Century and of course the famous Clovelly donkeys which in by gone days carried all goods up the steep main streets from the quay.


Lundy Island

Lundy Island, lying just 10 miles off the coast of North Devon, is three miles long and half a mile wide and has been designated the UK's first Marine Conservation Area. The island is home to a fascinating array of birds and seals and can be reached on Lundy's own ship, the MS Oldenburg, leaving either from Bideford (3 miles away from Springfield) or Ilfracombe (15 miles away) depending on tides.


Dartington Crystal (Torrington)

Enjoy a day out at Dartington Crystal and hear the story of its over 40 year history following its establishment in 1967. Watch the talented expert master engraving demonstration or enjoy the factory experience and see expert craftsmen at work, then a stop in its amazing shop is a must.


Eden Project

Described as the eighth wonder of the world, the Eden Project is an exciting, inspiring play ground in which to explore mankind's relationship with nature.



Gardens/Country Houses


Tapeley Park House and Gardens

Set in beautiful North Devon countryside, Tapeley Park is situated between Instow and Westleigh and dates back to 1316 and has been in the Christie family since 1855. The house is probably best know for its extensive gardens including the spectacular Italian Garden.


The Castle Hill Estate

Situated in Filleigh near Barnstaple, Castle Hill is the home of the Earl and Countess of Arran. Built in 1730 as the Fortescue family home in North Devon the Palladian house is set in a spectacular 18th century parkland landscape.


Arlington Court

Arlington Court is an intriguing Regency house near Barnstaple  full of curiosities and collectables.  The National Trust Carriage Museum which houses carriages throughout the ages is also situated at Arlington Court.  The house boasts three gardens in one including the picturesque pleasure grounds, the formal Victorian flower garden and working walled kitchen garden and a wonderful newly restored Victorian glass house.


Hartland Abbey & Gardens

Situated 5 miles west of Clovelly, Hartland Abbey, with its beautiful gardens and parkland leading to the sea, is the historic home of the Stucley family. The house can be originally dated back to 1157 when it was founded by Augustinian monks and became a private home following the dissolution of the monasteries. Following extensive restoration after years of neglect the gardens can once more be enjoyed as they were over 100 years ago.


Dunster Castle and Gardens

There has been a castle at Dunster since Norman times though the castle today was remodelled in the 19th Century but has been a family home to the Luttrell family for over 600 years. The castle is the host of numerous events during the year including Siege and Surrender Tours re enacting the Civil War.


Marwood Hill Gardens

Created in 1949 by Dr James Smart VMH, the land that is now Marwood Hill Gardens consisted of an old broken down walled gardens and a few fruit trees on an 8 acre site. Since then additional land has been purchased and planted with a variety of moisture loving plants and 3 lakes have been created. The garden boasts a large collection of Camellia numbering over 800 different cultivars and is the host of 3 National Collections in association with the NCCPG (The National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens).



Outdoor Activities


Golf Courses

There are a number of top class golf courses in close proximity including the historic Royal North Devon links course at Westward Ho!, the Championship East Course at Saunton Sands or the local courses at Libbaton, Chumleigh, High Bullen and Portmore at Barnstaple.


Tarka Trail

The Tarka trail is named after Henry Williamson's 'Tarka the Otter' which was based on many locations along the trail, being only a 2 minute walk from Springfield House and is  21 miles of scenic, traffic free track from Braunton to Meeth suitable for cyclist or walkers.


North Devon & Exmoor Walking Festival

Next Festival - Spring 2017 - 30th April - 7th May

This walking festival is now in its 16th year and is one in two halves - North Devon for the first half of the week and Exmoor in the last.  Possibly the UKs most scenic walking festival.

This has grown to become one of the largest walking festivals in the UK with organised walks to suit all.