AROUND THE FARM
The river at the bottom of our valley - A few minutes stroll from the cottages, this lovely little river runs into the Heddon and then to the sea. It is very popular with children and there are small fish and wild deer. You can see the deer coming to drink at dawn and at dusk.
Local wildlife -
Among the many kinds of wildlife you might see at Voley Farm are red deer, voles, otters, badgers, hedgehogs, rabbits, foxes, stoats, wildfowl, owls, bats and buzzards. The buzzards watch we humans with distain from their telegraph pole vantage points and the bats give a display in the courtyard every evening.
There is also an abundance of birds to watch, ranging from nuthatches and green woodpeckers to our summer visiting barn swallows and pied fly catchers. You will also see tawny owls on the track and in the courtyard.
The stars at night -
On a clear night the stars above Voley Farm are an amazing sight. You will see the Milky Way in all its glory unhindered by the glow of street lights – a rarity in this day and age. Exmoor National Park is Europe's first Dark Sky Reserve and has been awarded a special protected status.
WALKING, CYCLING AND DRIVING
Exmoor is covered in depth on the Everything Exmoor site
There are lovely walks of different lengths from Voley Farm, to suit all walkers.
You can walk from your cottage door to the sea at Heddon’s Mouth and back along the delightful National Trust footpath. This is 3 miles each way and can take in a stop for lunch at The Hunters Inn.
Or walk from your door to the nearby moors of Parracombe Common or Holdstone Down. You can also do a circular walk around the picturesque village of Parracombe taking in the 17th century buildings and beautiful views across the Heddon Valley. Many famous walks across Exmoor such as Dunkery Beacon, Snowdrop Valley, Doone Valley, The Chains, the Valley of Rocks and Watersmeet are easily reached.
Exmoor is renowned as first class walking, riding and fishing country. Footpaths lead through some glorious Exmoor countryside whatever the season
We have a selection of books and maps describing some of these walks.
Take the Tarka Trail -
You can hire bikes in Parracombe, Ilfracombe or Barnstaple.
Devon County Council have a cycle path map
Driving- Classic cars
There are a number of fantastic beaches closeby:
Woolacombe - 25 minutes drive. Recenty (2011) awarded a blue flag for its cleanliness. A wide sandy beach for sunbathing and surfing.
Croyde - 30 minutes drive to an unspoilt, sandy beach.
Braunton Burrows - 30 minutes drive to this wonderful International Biosphere Reserve famous for its variety of rare wildlife and plants and huge sand dunes.
Saunton Sands - 30 minutes drive to 3 miles of flat sandy beach next to Braunton Burrows. The beach has a beachcam to show the condition of the surf.
Lee Bay - 20 minutes drive through the Valley of Rocks.
Lynmouth - 10 minutes drive and a well kept surfing secret. Get the local tide tables from the Exmoor Visitors Centre.
Combe Martin- 10 minute drive. Rock pools
RIDING AND WAGON DRIVING
Dean Stables - 10 minutes drive away. Escorted hacking and instruction for all ages and levels.
Outovercott Stables - 15 minutes drive away for riding across Exmoor for every age and ability.
Keypitts - 20 minutes away. Riding, quadbiking, 4x4 jeep driving and paintballing
Go to Arlington Court and take a carriage ride or learn to drive one.
Heddon Hall Gardens (Open Sunday and Wednesday in Summer, Sunday in February) - a few minutes away in our village of Parracombe. You can have a delicious home-made cream tea after enjoying the intimate surroundings of one of North Devon's finest gardens in the picturesque Heddon Valley. The walled garden was laid out by Penelope Hobhouse. The rest of the gardens are filled with rare species, ferns, shrubs and trees all thriving in their natural valley setting, many of which are the results of plant hunting and dendrological trips abroad by Jane Keatley.
Marwood - 20 minutes drive away. Privately owned and famous for its sweeping vistas, award winning camellias and magnificent magnolias. You can buy wonderful shrubs from the nursery.
Rosemoor Garden - an hour's drive away and justly famous as one of the Royal Horticultural Society's best gardens.
Docton Mill Gardens (March to October) -Wild flower garden, mill & tea rooms.
INDOOR ACTIVITY PARKS, WILDLIFE PARKS AND ANIMAL SANCTUARIES
Indoor Activity Parks
Cascades Tropical Adventure Pool - 40 minutes drive away. An 84-degree tropical adventure pool with giant 230 feet flume and rapids ride.
The Milky Way Adventure Park (Open out of season at weekends and at half term) - 40 minutes away. Alien encounters, Laser Target Shooting, rides and games.
Wildlife parks and animal sanctuaries
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park - 20 minutes drive away. You can swim with sea lions, see wolves and animated dinosaurs.
Exmoor Zoological Park - 15 minutes drive away. Touch a penguin, hold a tarantula, see the cheetahs. Be a keeper for a day!
The Big Sheep - 30 minutes away. Bottle feed lambs or bet on the sheep racing.
Woody Bay Lynton-Barnstaple Steam Railway - 15 minutes away. This is England's original tourist railway which has been recently restored. Travel along part of the original route within above the Heddon Valley near Parracombe
Take a boat trip to Lundy Island from Ilfracombe and go puffin watching. Or take a boat trip from nearby Lynmouth along the North Devon coast and watch the nesting birds and sure-footed wild goats.
Lake fishing at Wimbleball Reservoir - 40 minutes drive away - also windsurfing, sailing, canoeing & rowing with tuition if required
Deep sea fishing from Lynmouth and Ilfracombe harbours - 20 minutes drive away
Surfing - Woolacombe & Croyde with tuition, Combe Martin, Porlock, Saunton Sands
The Mill Adventure - Indoor Climbing, South Molton
Dartington Glass Factory - an hour away. Pick up a hand crafted bargain. This trip is well recommended for a rainy day outing. Combine this with a trip to nearby Rosemoor Garden.
Visit the market town of South Molton, 30 minutes drive away for those who like to rummage. It also has lovely tea rooms, a friendly book shop and Griffins Yard which is a large organic food shop with an excellent craft gallery. There is a farmers market on Thursdays and Saturdays.
There are a number of National Trust properties nearby:
Arlington Court - 15 minutes drive away. 2,700 acres of parkland with a heronry. Take a carriage ride or learn to drive one here
Dunster Castle - an hour's drive to picturesque Dunster and its Norman Castle.
Knightshayes Court - 1 hour away. A romantic house, lovely garden, walks and tea room.
Watersmeet House - Edwardian tearooms and gardens.
Heddon Valley and West Exmoor Coast - fantastic walks and dramatic scenery
You can see a large selection of photographs of the farm and area immediately around the farm on our Flickr site: