Devon definitely has a microclimate. While it was pouring with rain in London in October, I was ensconced in a lovely farmhouse at Rashleighhayes, Buckleigh near Tiverton, courtesy of Helpful Holidays. Rashleighayes Farm is hidden away off the beaten track down a very steep hill, and with over 200 acres, is surrounded by fields with cows grazing wherever you look.
Within walking distance is Devon’s oldest vineyard, Yearlstonewww.yearlstone.co.uk. Their café is strategically sited to offer great views over the vineyard. As it is not open every day, it is worth checking before visiting.
Anyone with children will have no problem whiling away the entire day at the Devon Railway Centre and Model World www.devonrailwaycentre.co.uk
Train enthusiasts will also find the place of particular interest, as there are several steam trains. Children, once the entry fee has been paid, are allowed as many rides as they want, and are encouraged to wave flags. A dormant rail carriage is set up with attractions which visitors are encouraged to work interactively. The attraction is family run with new attractions such as the Edwardian model village recently opened and a model fun fair promised for 2014. Coming up to Christmas, Santa will be making several visits.
Tiverton is one of those towns people pass by and in essence there isn’t much to see. There is a castle, which can be visited although little of the original building remains. Within the grounds there is holiday accommodation that can be rented. I was, however, recommended to visit the Museum of Mid Devon Life www.tivertonmuseum.org.uk and was glad I did. The museum is packed with information relating to life in the region from prehistory to the present day. As a lot of the information also relates to other areas of the country, and provides in-depth knowledge into a huge variety of things. This includes the making of cider for which the area is famous to the background of the nearby Heathcoat-Amory family whose family home Knightshayes is now part of the National Trust, and which I subsequently visited.
Knightshayes was built in the late eighteen hundreds and is a Victorian Gothic mansion with a Georgian interior. The National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk has restored it to its original state, designed with a very decorative interior. I was particularly enchanted as, when I walked in, a lady was playing classical music on a baby grand piano in the baronial hall. The gardens are beautifully kept with both formal and wooded areas. Animal topiary cut from the hedges led to a garden with a lily pond at its centre, while in another area a walled vegetable garden was packed with fruit and vegetables which, depending on the season, visitors can buy if not required by the estate.
Read more on my trip to Mid Devon on the home page of www.cd-traveller.com
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