Where to stay in Minehead: Woodcombe Lodges & Cottages

Woodcombe Lodges & Cottages is a small four star family owned group of six Lodges and two cottages sleeping from 2 up to 10 in 3 acres of gardens with extensive views from  the sea to the slopes of Exmoor.

We are set on a quiet country lane on the boundary of the Exmoor National Park and yet are only a 20 minutes’ walk to the pubs, shops and restaurants of Minehead with its seafront and beach beyond.

The Lodges are all south facing with verandas enjoying the sweeping views over the slopes of Exmoor with glimpses down to the sea. The Lodges and cottages are extremely cosy with space heating throughout and have fully fitted kitchens, dining and sitting areas, televisions and Dvd players. Wifi is available free of charge and in the Lodges but not the cottages.

There are children’s swings, a putting green and a games room onsite with laundry facilities and extensive visitor information. There are a range of walks from the site available for visitors for all abilities.

There are countless things to do around the area for walkers, cyclists, fishermen, golfers, birdwatchers, train enthusiasts and the glory of the Exmoor National Park and the North Devon coast to enjoy. Dunster with its castle are within 4 miles and the Exmoor Owl sanctuary, the West Somerset Steam railway, a day visit to Butlins and the beach are all closer.

We allow one dog per Lodge is most Lodges with two in our largest Lodge which sleeps up to ten. We have three Lodges specially prepared for wheelchair users with two enjoying the benefits of full size shower wet rooms with shower wheelchairs available.

We offer full week lettings from the May bank holiday to the end of September (Saturday changeover), and then short breaks can be taken preferably based on a three day weekend or four day mid-week break between October and the end of May except over Christmas and New year when we offer five night or seven night breaks.

Prices range from £190 in our one bedroom cottage for a short break to £1650 for a full week in our largest Lodge in peak season. We supply linen but not towels or tea towels that can be hired if necessary and have cots and high chairs available free of charge.

This is a family site so we do not normally accept single sex parties or parties where there is not an adult over 25 present without prior arrangement.

Web page www.woodcombelodges.co.uk

Email info@woodcombelodges.co.uk

Telephone 01643 702789

Memories of Exmoor: The Exmoor Bug

Annette Strauch kindly shared her memories and photos of Exmoor with us:

Nine years ago I visited Exmoor for the very first time with Mark. He had been there many times as it had been a family tradition for him since he was a little English boy with his red hair ready to explore with his boots on and sticks in the hand what he could find next.

It was in the autumn of 2004 – and even back then we stayed in Holy Tree Cottage – in Exford when we came together and stayed for a week. We did many walks then as we did on any visit (the rain never put us off), went to see Dunster, including the castle, of course. On the cobbled stones we even met a giant!

Every time I have visited Exmoor, it was in the autumn. A mysterious time when it gets dark quite early and the local people celebrate Halloween. We’d see some deer in Horner Woods as well and notice the hunting. This last time Mark brought his binoculars.

Then we came again two more times until 2009. Afterwards we were busy working and committed to other things. On all those occasions when we were in Exmoor we had always found new places to explore. One time we did a long walk to Dulverton along the river which Mike, Mark’s Dad had recommended (as well as another walk to Withypool, the place with the beautiful bridge) where this October we visited Gallery Number Seven and bought a book, had a Cream Tea with the tasty clotted cream. In one of the shops there we spoke to two locals who had not walked to Tarr Steps for years and were inspired. They were two elderly ladies but happy to see us so active. One time we went to Bampton Fair which is close to Exmoor and really worth experiencing. Culbone Church is always great to walk to. We have done it twice or even three times now, this autumn from Porlock Weir. Oh, Porlock! I do love the cottages there. Mentioning houses, one needs to write about Selworthy with the lovely buildings there. Wherever you go it is lovely to come back to Exford, seeing Dunkery Beacon (we walked there once, too!!) or maybe a deer or a few – then going out to the White Horse Hotel, having a pint of traditional cider and maybe a venison baguette which seems to be very popular.

So romantic (in a nice way) indeed!

One time we walked in the Lorna Doone Valley with the rucksacks on our backs, fully prepared for a picnic. Along the river we walked – and the characters of the Lorna Doone story became alive. The moorland is breathtaking! In our rucksacks we also had fudge from the fudge shop in Dunster. My favourite is the maple and walnut one.

Watchet plays a role in the Lorna Doone story – and we were looking for fossils there once. If you look long enough you might find an ammonite.

Next time we’d like to bring our bikes and come in spring or in the summer. I’d like to see the heather when it is purple!

And the Exmoor Beast? Well, that is still a mystery!


Exmoor Memories: Discovering Exmoor Wildlife

Els van de Weg – Dutchels  – recently visited Exmoor. This is what she posted on her blog in the Netherlands to promote Exmoor amongst her Dutch followers :

On safari in Exmoor National Park

Thinking of wildlife safaris my mind wanders immediately to Africa, lions and elephants. It feels like an enormous adventure to explore the wilderness in a Jeep. However, there is no need for travelling that far to enjoy a safari adventure. In South West England for example, there are several companies that offer you a safari trip in one of the National Parks. Such wildlife adventure should definitely be on your list of things to do, when visiting this part of Europe.

On some trails there is only limited access, so the safari guides will take you in their 4×4 Jeeps to places you otherwise would never get to. Exmoor National Park covers about 267 square miles and the safari guides can tell you almost anything about the rare vegetation and unique animals that live here. The wild red deer and the Exmoor ponies are probably the most well known and most popular of all breeds here, and recently even dolphins have been spotted, just off Exmoor’s coast! There is a choice of different safaris lasting half or a full day and the trails lead you through deep wooded valleys, along fast flowing streams and vast purple coloured moorland to the tops of the highest cliffs in England.

The varied Exmoor landscapes, with so many contrasts, are a paradise for photographers. However, it is not only wild life which is a great attraction here. Exmoor is also a treasure chamber of the past, with its burial mounds, standing stones, castles, fortresses and well-kept medieval villages. Some guides offer to take you on a safari even after sun set, for a few hours of star gazing fun! Exmoor has put a lot of effort in minimising the light pollution, hence the intense, dark nights in this area and the consequently bright starry skies. There will be telescopes available and you will get a full explanation about the Milky Way. Exmoor National Park was first in Europe to be awarded the “Dark Sky Reserve” status and The Exmoor people have every right to be proud of this!

Ready for a new adventure? Join a safari and discover Exmoor!

All pictures were taken by Experience Exmoor (who are partners of Exmoor Club – club members receive 10% discount on all bookings)


Visit Dutchels’ blog at www.dutchels.com

Follow on Twitter: @DutchEls

Letters from Exmoor: On Safari

Barbara Kidder, a visitor from the States, has recently been visiting Exmoor.  She has a set up a blog about her trip to the UK, and here is what she posted about Exmoor:

We went on “safari” in Exmoor today with Neil Osmond, who runs a company called Experience Exmoor. It was absolutely amazing. He went down roads we would never travel and we got to see things we never would have seen on our own. I used the video camera mostly, but did get a few still shots when we stopped and walked a bit. We were out for 6 hours, and could have been out for days and days….it is so beautiful, exciting, pastoral, grand…..so many adjectives apply.

Landscapes change so quickly here….one moment you are on the high moors with broad vistas, and the next you are plunging down a narrow lane into a wooded valley. The weather seems to change just as quickly. Today there was the most 3D sky I have ever seen and one of the most varied. There was deep blue sky with puffy clouds, heavy ominous rain clouds, cumulus clouds way up, and all in the same sky. We turn North and the sky is clear and deep blue, and to the South it is threatening rain.

Here are just a few pictures….Just coming down from the cliffs over Woody Bay

Entering the Valley of the Rocks

This one should actually go before the one above…sorry!

700 BK

701 BK

These shots are on the way, and at a lighthouse that is restricted to National Trust employees and those renting the lighthouse. Neil works with National Trust and has permission to use this road. First pic is of red deer mom and calf high up in the hills as we wound down toward the lighthouse.


702 BK

And one more, of a momma cow and her calves. I know, we have cows at home, but of course I can’t resist. I’m thinking from these faces that they are not pleased with the intrusion. Maybe I should stick to sheep…….

So here are some sheep…..
No, we didn,t hit them….they just gave us dirty looks for being in their road.



If you’d like to read more about Barbara’s experiences in the UK, then pop over to her blog.

Where to stay: The Bark House on the southern edge of Exmoor

Discover the hidden treasures of greater Exmoor from the Exe Valley and the Bark House
A place where you can enjoy a traditional Devon welcome, where cream teas and dinners are served in cosy, cottage style surroundings. Every assistance is given to enable you to get the best from your stay, and to discover those corners of Exmoor and the West Country that appeal to you.

Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Bark House, in the comfortable lounge with open fire, where tea is served and a place to meet other guests, or enjoy mulling over the day. Breakfast and dinners are cooked to order with dishes using local produce from Bampton’s butcher, the local farm shop, and travelling fish monger.

Within easy reach of the Bark house is Anstey Moor and Winsford Hill, Dulverton and Bampton, National Trust properties of Piles Mill and Knightshayes Court, and some great places for horse riding, fishing, water sports, and walking. The Exe Valley is an excellent base to visit sites of historic interest such as Raddington Church, Sweetworthy, Tarr Steps locally, or further afield to Exeter, Dartmoor, and Hartland.

The Bark House is located in the Exe Valley, just south of Dulverton on the A396, and about 20 minutes from jct 27 on the M5. There is ample parking and we will help with baggage. Guests are welcome to bring their dog and there is an area for exercise.

The Bark House
Oakford Bridge
EX16 9HZ

01398 351236



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