Words and Landscape Photographs by Angela Terrell
Nestled between Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks in North Devon’s verdant heartland, I’d expected the scenery to be spectacular, yet I hadn’t been prepared for the amount of time I’d actually spend feasting on it during a recent late-winter break at Highbullen Hotel. From morning mists that shrouded ghostly oaks until escaping sunlight revealed distant hillsides rolling across the horizon like a billowing sheet, cross-hatched hedgerows their only anchor to earth, to golden evenings with meadows bathed in flaxen light, the constantly unfolding magic was utterly mesmerising for this landscape-loving tragic.
Encompassing 127 acres, Highbullen Hotel and Golf and Country Club is a luxury destination which as well as being surrounded by beauty, is ripe for creating wonderful holiday memories. The manor house, built as a family home in 1879 at a time when architecture dominated the landscape, has been sensitively renovated, maintaining its original beauty and integrity, and from the bedrooms to the cosy drawing room, light-filled morning room and even the dramatic timber staircase, the furnishings, art and memorabilia have been beautifully curated to create a country-style ‘home away from home’.
The 11 Manor House bedrooms are grand, unique and full of individual character, the prize winning two bedroom Loft Suite offering additional luxuries such as infra-red sauna, steam room, Nintendo Wii and 3D TV. 26 modern Estate Rooms are found within the peaceful pheasant-attracting grounds, and four 5 star self-catering cottages are perfect for families and groups - but whatever the lodging, on-site facilities are plentiful and open to everyone.
Time can be spent playing golf, swimming in the indoor or outdoor pools, enjoying a game of tennis, croquet or snooker, working out at the gym, and if you’re more nature-orientated, exploring the deer hide or taking walks along roads lined by hawthorn hedgerows where primulas and snowdrops colourfully vie for attention. Further afield, Exeter and the Jurassic Coast are ripe for touring, as is cycling the Tarka Trail or stomping the South West Coast Path. And if you need some pure indulgence, the Superfood Pro-Radiance facial at the Spa was a wonderfully calming antidote for my winter-stressed skin.
Activity-sated, there are many dining options for a nutritional pick-me-up. High Tea at Laura Ashley The Tea Room is a sweet and savoury feast, the Cellars an atmospheric spot for informal meals and the Devon View restaurant offers fine dining full of local goodness, the roasted breast of John May duck and Rhubarb Souffle with rosewater ice-cream so flavoursome my eyes were finally drawn from the panoramic views as I relished the delicate tastes.
Whether it’s activity, peace and quiet or simply time to admire the evolving landscape that you seek, Highbullen Hotel offers everything for the perfect country getaway.
To discover more, or book a room, click here.