Ideally situated for exploring the best of North Devon
From the cottage there are several enchanting walks, whether it is along the lane to the Pyne Arms or across the fields to Arlington Court. For guests seeking beautiful views from their countryside strolls, then discover the beauty of the South West Coast Path that meanders its way around the North Devon coastline.
Easily accessed in many of the nearby villages, the South West Coast path is well signposted and is perfect for seeing the stunning coastline. Popular destinations along the pathway include Heddon's Mouth near Martinhoe, where lunch can be enjoyed at the Hunter's Inn, and Hartland Quay, where the rugged wave-blasted cliffs and ocean scenery are truly spectacular.
In contrast to the dramatic coastline, Exmoor also provides a great place to enjoy a walk. The National Park is home to an array of wildlife, and in every season it has its own charm and beauty. Make the most of your time on Exmoor by enjoying a cream tea or meal at one of the many pubs and tearooms hidden within its borders. Favourite destinations on Exmoor include Tarr Steps, Landacre Bridge and Withypool.
If heading out for a walk around North Devon it is worthwhile purchasing a good map in advance. Many National Trust shops and tourist information desks will be able to assist you in finding the correct map.
North Devon's country lanes provide a wonderful playground for cyclists with those around Exmoor and the coastline the most popular.
There are also plenty of designated cycle routes to suit all ages and levels of ability that will help cyclists to capture the sights and sounds of the countryside. Many of these routes are well signposted and can be found on local maps.
For 32 miles of a well maintained cycle route head to the Tarka Trail, a mainly traffic free pathway shared by walkers, runners and cyclists. The trail runs from Braunton to Meeth using former railway lines, meaning much of the track is flat and easy to use. There are also several excellent places to stop along the route, including the old railway station at Fremington Quay where you can enjoy a traditional Devonshire cream tea whilst admiring the views of the estuary.
Bikes can be hired locally either in Barnstaple at the Tarka Trail Cycle Hire or at Otter Cycle Hire in Braunton.
There is a wealth of excellent golf courses within easy reach of Bugford Cottages. As one of the oldest links courses in the country, The Royal North Devon at Westward Ho! is extremely popular with visitors. The course has also been ranked as one of the top 100 to play in the world.
A little nearer to Bugford and situated within North Devon's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are courses at Mortehoe and Ilfracombe. Saunton Sands, home to two championship link courses, is also nearby and offers a challenging course with outstanding views.
Less than a 10 minute drive from Bugford Cottages is Arlington Court, a wonderful National Trust run property with extensive grounds and traditional tearoom. Enjoy a day browsing the stately rooms of the house or wandering the 20 miles of footpaths that meander through the woods and Victorian gardens.
Arlington Court was owned by the Chichester family for more than 500 years and is a stunning example of a Regency house and features a wonderful collection of furniture and other treasures.
Within the grounds of Arlington Court is one of Britain's largest collection of carriages. The museum has a large range of carriages, including the Speaker's State Coach, which is currently on loan to Arlington Court from the Houses of Parliament.
Open throughout the year, Arlington Court holds many different special events, including a Christmas craft fair and an Easter egg hunt.
Colourful days out can be enjoyed at several nearby gardens that are only a short drive from Bugford Cottages. RHS Rosemoor, near Torrington, was designed and created by Lady Anne Berry and is situated within magical woods. The ornamental gardens feature stunning roses, perennials and bulbs, whilst the surrounding woods are home to wild flowers.
On the outskirts of Barnstaple, Marwood Hill Gardens cover more than 20 acres of a pretty valley and was fashioned by Dr Jimmy Smart back in the 1950's. The private garden and its three lakes are a great place to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Complete your day at Marwood by having a drink at the Garden Tearoom and then taking home some of the on sale plants.
Also, on the edge of Barnstaple, is Broomhill Sculpture Gardens, where art and flowers combine in a beautiful setting. Established in 1997, Broomhill has a wonderful collection of contemporary sculptures that are nestled within the stunning gardens and woods as well as an excellent restaurant.
A couple of other gardens in the local area include Castle Hill near South Molton, which has a period home and wonderful garden, and Tapeley Park near Bideford.
See how skilled craftsmen create stunning glass and crystal ware at Dartington Crystal on the edge of Torrington. This unique experience is a great way to learn the history of the brand and the production of glass that has been perfected over more than 3000 years.
The award winning visitor centre also allows visitors to create their own treasures with classes in glass blowing, glass painting and jewellery making available. For visitors not looking to get creative, a wide range of creations can be purchased in the factory shop.
Towns and Villages
Along with the North Devon beaches there are plenty of towns and villages spread along the coastline or nestled within the countryside that are well worth visiting when staying at Bugford. Whether you are looking for local crafts, souvenirs or a hearty meal in a rural pub, North Devon's towns and villages can provide.
On the edge of Exmoor, Lynton and Lynmouth are where the National Park meets the Atlantic Ocean. These pretty sister villages are located at the top and foot of a steep valley and are linked via a road, as well as the splendid Victorian water powered Cliff Railway. The villages are home to a selection of shops and several tearooms, where you can enjoy a light lunch. When visiting Lynton and Lynmouth take the time to visit the Valley of the Rocks, where a herd of goats roam and the sunsets are guaranteed to be spectacular. Alternatively, walk upstream from Lynmouth to Watersmeet.
For a large range of high street stores centred around a period Pannier Market visit Barnstaple, North Devon's largest town. This traditional market town is home to many well-known stores, banks and restaurants that are nicely combined with independent retailers, a popular theatre and a multi-screen cinema. On the outskirts of the town is a good leisure centre with gym and swimming pool, as well as several supermarkets.
The pretty harbour town of Ilfracombe is a delightful place to spend a day. The Victorian town has undergone a renaissance in the past few years with the help of contemporary artist Damien Hirst opening a restaurant and gallery in the town; he also recently donated his bronze clad statue 'Verity' to stand proud at the harbour.
Other places to consider visiting when staying at Bugford are Appledore and Instow, two lovely villages set alongside the Torridge estuary, and perfect for peaceful afternoons beside the water. Alternatively, Clovelly with its traffic free cobbled street leading to a traditional harbour is a great day out.
Scattered along the North Devon coastline are some of Britain's most well-loved beaches. Woolacombe, which is only a short drive from Bugford Cottages, was recently named as the best beach in the country by TripAdvisor and it is not surprising why. The three miles of beach features golden sand and blue ocean, and it is ideal not only for families but also water sport enthusiasts.
Some of the other famous beaches within easy reach of the cottages, include Croyde, where surfing is a favourite pastime for many visitors, Saunton and the Tunnels Beaches in Ilfracombe. For something a little more secluded, there are many romantic coves dotted around the coastline, including Heddon's Mouth, Lee Bay and Hartland
Situated in the Bristol Channel, Lundy Island is a beautiful setting for a day trip. The traffic free island featuring a small village, a traditional Inn, a Victorian church, sturdy light houses and a 13th century castle is popular with walkers and nature lovers.
The views from the island are breathtaking, especially from the old lighthouse. There is also a range of wildlife (including Lundy’s famous puffins) and wild flowers. Being a designated Marine Conservation Area, Lundy is perfect for diving and seal watching.
To get to Lundy Island you will need to board the MS Oldenburg in either Ilfracombe or Bideford. The boat offers day trips from the end of March through to the end of October. Outside of these dates, helicopter trips to Lundy are available.