Devon is blessed with an abundance of stunning historic houses and land owned by the National Trust. Many of these sites are within easy reach of Croyde Bay and with a long opening season as well as special seasonal events, here’s our guide to the 7 must-see National Trust properties in North Devon.
1. Baggy Point is a spectacular headland offering unrivalled views of Lundy Island, Woolacombe and Croyde. The National Trust estimates more than 70,000 people walk out to the point each year to spot the wildlife, including grey seals.
Baggy Point is a three-pawprint rated place so there are plenty of water bowls and bins. Dogs are welcome in the Sandleigh tearoom garden and the allotment too. For those who aren’t trekking the coastal path with their canine companions, there’s a car park close to Baggy Point. From here, it’s only a short walk up the hill to your destination.
If the blustering headland invigorates you, then you can leave your car at Baggy Point and stroll down to Croyde Bay.
2. Morte Point Once a notorious spot for smugglers, this stretch of coastline is a great place to take in rocky headlands, secluded coves and sandy bays.
The circular walk between Morte Point and Bull Point is challenging but rewarding. It includes the charming village of Mortehoe and the lighthouse at Bull Point.The route is dedicated to the co-founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, and it was an early gift from Rosalie Chichester, who lived at Arlington Court.
3. Heddon Valley boasts beautiful coastal scenery and is home to Heddon’s Mouth Beach, a hidden cove.
Follow the path alongside the river for about one mile onto a pebbly beach. Keen hikers looking for an aerobic challenge should head towards Hangman Hills. Tread well-worn miners’ paths and see the old iron ore works at Blackstone Point.
The strenuous walk is well worth the effort for the far-reaching views over Combe Martin and the Bristol Channel – on a clear day you can see as far as Wales!
4. Arlington Court near Barnstaple is the closest National Trust property in Devon to our resort. Built in 1820, this impressive mansion belonged to the Chichester family, famous for its links to the maritime industry.
Sir Francis Chichester made history by sailing single-handedly around the globe in the 1960’s on his boat, Gypsy Moth IV.
The interior of Arlington Court houses many treasures including collections of model ships and shells. It’s also home to the National Trust’s Carriage Museum housed in the former stable block, where you’ll find an array of elegant coaches.
5. Watersmeet near Lynmouth is a must-see for any visitor to north Devon. A unique place, perched on the edge of the Exmoor National Park ,it spans over 2,000 acres and is known for its enchanting woodlands, waterfalls and a gorge.
The lodge itself was built in the 1830’s for Walter Stevenson Halliday, for the purposes of hunting and fishing.
No trip to Watersmeet would be complete without sampling a Devon cream tea, served at this property since 1900 and a firm favourite ever since.
6. Lundy Island Not exactly a property, but one for the bucket-list. This unspoilt paradise easily reached from the north Devon coast, is a site of great historical importance, with the remains of a Bronze Age settlement and a Medieval castle.
Lundy is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the natural world – from rambles and spotting the local wildlife, including puffins and wild ponies, to taking a dip or a dive in the clear waters, where you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of dolphins or porpoises.
While largely uninhabited, the island caters for visitors with a pub and a shop among the facilities.
7. Knightshayes Court Slightly further away, but an easy drive down the North Devon Link Road, Knightshayes boasts a great post-war garden, 19th century parkland and grand Gothic Revival architecture by the Victorian visionary, William Burges.
Built in 1872, the house belonged to the Heathcoat-Amory family, owners of a large textile factory in nearby Tiverton, who were heavily involved in politics and local affairs. A particular highlight is the delightful, working Kitchen Garden, which donates its produce to local food charities.
And there are many places to sit and take in the scenery, including the multi-tiered formal gardens.
There are a huge variety of National Trust properties in Devon, with appeal for everyone.
Croyde Bay makes the ideal base from which to explore Devon’s rich heritage – and provides a tranquil space to relax at the end of a busy day, so check our availability for 2024 and we hope to see you soon.