The Simple Things
Shed heaven beside the sea
SEE, DO, STAY, LOVE THE UK. THIS MONTH: A FARMHOUSE NESTLED IN DEVON’S COASTAL HILLS
GO & STAY
Tucked away in the hills of North Devon, Upcott Farm is the dream-come-true of Ben and Sarah Lambert and their two children. They renovated the crumbling farmhouse and its outbuildings to create a beautiful home and rural idyll for guests.
The farm’s glowing lights were a welcome sight as we arrived road-weary and ready for a break. Our home for the weekend was the Calfshed, a luxury two-bedroom cottage with a beautiful, almost entirely white interior that’s instantly soothing. It’s easy to see why it’s been used as the location for a White Company catalogue. Keeping to the Calfshed’s original footprint, the ground floor is largely open plan, and incorporates a kitchen and living area, all washed in natural light. The bedrooms have huge, comfy beds, gorgeous ensuite bathrooms and the original beamed ceilings.
It is a place to switch off and enjoy the good life for a few days. Every requirement is catered for (dishwasher, washing machine, underfloor heating, the best selfcatering kitchen I’ve ever come across) along with many
thoughtful touches such as basic supplies, fresh flowers and plenty of kids’ toys. We loved gathering around the large farmhouse-style dining table and taking our time over breakfast, then curling up on the large corner sofa in front of the fire at the end of each day.
SEE & DO
On our first morning, we headed straight for the beach at Saunton Sands. Emerging from the sand dunes, we were presented with a wide-open, seemingly endless stretch of sand. Breathing in the sea air and being buffeted by the wind was the refreshing start we all needed.
We headed into Croyde for lunch and a wander. The village has an old-world charm and there are plenty of little shops to browse. The afternoon was spent at Baggy Point, a National-Trust-owned headland that juts out into the sea beyond Croyde – a beautiful place to admire the sea-ravaged rock-scape below. Along the way, we discovered hidden “fairy doors” with fun facts, a great way to keep little legs going, and on our return route, we indulged in a spot of rock pooling before the tide came in.
On our final day, we drove 20 minutes to Ilfracombe,
a buzzy little port. We wanted to see Damien Hirst’s Verity, a 20-metre-high bronze statue of a pregnant woman wielding a sword, towering over the harbour. The scale was magnificent and well worth a detour.
EAT & DRINK
On Ben and Sarah’s recommendation, we went to The Stores, a café and grocery in Croyde. It’s a cosy, friendly place with great décor and delicious food. We settled for a tasty lunch of eggs on toast, with rounds of hot chocolate and mochas. We also stocked up on some fresh bread, veg and deli items to enjoy back at the farm.
On our way back we discovered the National Trust’s Sandleigh Tea Room and Garden, and just had to stop for a warming cuppa. The walled kitchen garden is gorgeous and there’s a little homewares and gift shop called The Oyster Catcher that’s worth looking in at.
After bidding a reluctant farewell to Upcott Farm, we headed to Georgeham. There are two great classic village pubs here serving excellent local homemade food. We opted for The Rock Inn and had a particularly good Sunday roast before heading home.
Great food, stunning beach walks and the most beautiful home-from-home; North Devon spoilt us. Upcott Farm, Braunton, Devon; upcottfarm.com