Good question, and one that only a handful of people seem to know the answer to despite many visitors passing through to get to a holiday in the West Country! Straddling Devon and Somerset the Blackdown Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are not only a well kept secret but a hidden gem worth turning off the A303/A30 to investigate.
This magical area covers 143 square miles and is a gently rolling patchwork of hills, fields, hedges and woods intertwined with winding streams, rivers and quiet meandering roads. The pace of life seems to slow down and you are provided with the perfect space to totally unwind and relax but, dig deeper, and you’ll find a vibrant community of farmers, artisans, villages, markets, shops, pubs and restaurants where the focus is on locally produced food and drink.
The area is teaming with wild life and in the spring and summer the lanes are awash with flowers and bird song, there are plenty of walks through the peaceful countryside and ancient woodlands, where these longhorn cattle graze, iron age history to unearth, pretty churches, villages and medieval buildings to explore. On offer too are the opportunities to get back to a more natural approach to life and there are plenty of courses and activities to aid you.
You’ll find a real home from home at Twistgates Farm self catering cottages and at the end of a day discovering the Blackdown Hills you can relax in front of a wood burning stove or sit on your patio and look at the stars – there’s very little light pollution. One big plus about living in this area is the friendliness of the local people and I’m happy to recommend other holiday home providers who between us offer cottages, glamping and camping, farm animals to feed, children’s activities, shepherd’s huts, hot tubs, dog friendly accommodation and romantic bolt-holes (visit us for the last two!).
So instead of whizzing past plan a little detour at the very least – better still come and stay here – and experience the special qualities of this unique area for yourself.