The North Devon Countryside
North Devon’s countryside is full of things to do. You can place a bet on a sheep race (really), ride a roller coaster and just about everything in between. Families love visiting our two biggest (and best known) themed parks, The Big Sheep and The Milky Way, where there are rides, animal encounters and all kinds of all-weather activities. The Big Sheep also has a high ropes course and a mountain boarding centre nearby as well as The Ultimate Wipeout, an assault course based on the popular TV show. The Milky Way is home to, among other attractions, North Devon’s only rollercoaster. Both are located on the A39 west of Bideford.
Torrington has its share of attractions too. At Dartington Crystal you can see how crystal is made and watch talented glass blowers at work. At Torrington 1646 Centre you can meet the characters who took part in the last battle of the English Civil war. A less turbulent façade is represented here too: the gardens at RHS Rosemoor are delightful, whenever you visit.
Barnstaple has a great museum and a state of the art tennis centre and leisure centre. You can also take walking tours of the town to see alms houses and the crooked spire of St Peter’s. The Strand and Rock Park is lovely for a riverside walk and an ice cream on sunny days. On wet days Funderzone is a massive indoor play area for the kids.
Outdoor activities are big in North Devon. Kayaking and canoeing are popular on the River Torridge and you can hire your craft in Bideford for an afternoon out on the water. You can hire bikes from here too, if you fancy a jaunt on the Tarka trail, an off-road cycle track that runs from Braunton to Peters Marland. Cruising along the river for an ice cream at Instow is a great way to spend an afternoon. The Tamar Lakes are also great for watersports as well as nature walks and rambles. At the South West lakes Trust activity centre you can learn to sail or kayak under expert instruction.
If bees make you buzz then South Molton is the place to go. The Quince Honey Farm will give you an insight into the lives of these most marvellous – and essential – of our creatures. Mind you, if it’s close encounters you want, then step aboard the Oldenburgh at Bideford and take a cruise to Lundy, where a snorkelling tour will bring you up very close to some of our friendliest residents – the seals of Lundy Island.