Lantern Cross is located on top of a hill, surrounded by mixed farmland, between Beaford and Great Torrington in North-West Devon, about 25-30 minutes from the larger towns of Bideford and Barnstaple. There are lovely views from the cottage, with some spectacular sunrises and sunsets and little light pollution to obscure views of the starlit night sky. Beaford is a small village about three quarters of a mile south of Lantern Cross, with a friendly pub, The Globe, offering excellent food and beer (Good Beer Guide 2019 and 2020) and a small filling station and convenience store. Great Torrington (Torrington) is a flourishing small town with a range of high quality small shops (two butchers, two green grocers, bakery, a variety of craft shops and a very good hardware store) plus a small but well-stocked Co-Op and a Lidl, and an M&S Food at the BP filling station. The town also hosts The Plough Arts Centre which runs a programme of small live events and showings of commercial and Arts films as well as having a pleasant café. The Dartington Crystal factory sits on the edge of town, giving the opportunity to buy "seconds" at very attractive prices as well as their full range of first quality glassware. Tours of the factory, one of only two still making hand-made blown glass by traditional methods in England, are also available.
RHS Gardens Rosemoor are less than 10 minutes' drive away from Lantern Cross on the A3124 to Torrington. The formal, informal and vegetable gardens and Arboretum have an ever-changing display and are well worth a visit at any time of the year. There is an award-winning restaurant and a large plant and gift shop.
Bideford and Barnstaple, 25-30 minutes away, have a wide range of shops including Morrisons (Bideford), Sainsbury's and Tesco (Barnstaple) Superstores. There is also a Waitrose in Okehampton (30-35 minutes). All three supermarket groups will deliver groceries to the house. Bideford has a picturesque old bridge over the River Torridge Estuary and a lively quay area from which there are sailings to Lundy Island. Ten minutes or so beyond Bideford, at the mouth of the Taw/Torridge Estuaries, lies Appledore with its steep winding lanes and attractive quayside, from which boat trips can be arranged on the estuary and further afield. Appledore also has several good places to eat - try The Royal George or The Beaver Inn, both right on the waterfront, for large portions of great food and views of action on the water.
Within easy range for a day or part day out there are walks to suit all tastes and abilities. The Tarka Trail, a 180 mile figure-of-eight route following the path taken by Tarka the Otter in Henry Williamson's book, skirts Torrington on the section between Braunton and Meeth, which provides 30 miles of relatively flat, tarmacked, traffic-free cycle and walking trail. The boundaries of the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks are respectively about 40 and 45 minutes' drive away, providing endless opportunities for walking amidst the best upland scenery in Southern England. Some of the most rugged sections of the South-West Coast Path are also an easy drive away.
There are surf beaches at Westward Ho! and Braunton, with surfing instruction at both, and further afield at Bude on the North Cornwall coast. There are also several golf courses within easy driving distance. Fishing for wild brown trout and the occasional sea trout and salmon is available on various Devon rivers through West Country Angling Passport and there are also several small stocked coarse and trout stillwaters not far away.
For days when the weather is less kind, there is family entertainment at The Big Sheep farm theme park near Bideford and The Milky Way adventure park near Clovelly. National Trust houses and gardens at Castle Drogo near Drewsteighnton, Knightshayes Court near Tiverton and Killerton House North of Barnstaple are worth a visit. An interesting hour at Finch Foundry, the last working water-powered forge in Britain, can also be combined with a more or less demanding walk onto the edge of Dartmoor from its car park.
Whatever the interests of your party, we are sure that there will be plenty to keep you occupied - with the comfort of Lantern Cross to welcome you back at the end of the day, whatever the North Devon weather throws at you.