Downe Cottages is one mile from Hartland.
Hartland is a real village with the sort of community and spirit long abandoned by most of England, Hartland is what an English village was fifty years ago.
There is a lovely circular walk to Hartland from Downe that takes you to the village through the picturesque Vale and back up through a wooded hillside by Cheristow to Downe. The walk takes a lazy half- hour there and a lazy half-hour back. The footpath through the wooded Vale runs beside a small river before leading you into the centre of Hartland. Beware; the walk can be very muddy.
In Hartland there is a small collection of village shops including a grocery shop along Fore Street (The Pop In). The Pop In supplies groceries, vegetables, fresh bread and pies, frozen meats from nearby farms, excellent local cheeses, freshly baked cakes and a variety of wines and alcoholic drinks. It also offers a useful cash back service and daily newspapers can be bought there. The Pop In is open from 8.00 a.m. until 7.30 p.m. every day and from 8.30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays (closing between 1.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. on Sundays).
Hartland has a Post Office Local on the High Street open from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m. Sundays selling freshly baked bread, local eggs, groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, off licence, tobacco, sweets, cards, daily and Sunday newspapers, fresh homemade cakes etc. It is possible to order your newspaper at the Post Office if you are staying for a few days.
Springfield Pottery is run by Philip and Frannie Leach. Philip is a grandson of Bernard Leach, the doyen of Twentieth Century English potters. They make earthenware pottery hand-made from local clays. We think their pottery is exceptional and very collectable. (The standard of the pottery in the immediate area is very high – see Local Potteries in the section entitled ‘Day Trips’.)
Milthorne Chairs is also located in Hartland (at 10 Fore Street) and supply handmade Windsor chairs in Beech, Ash and Elm. The chairs reflect traditional designs and (although very expensive since Dutch Elm disease) they still use elm with its beautiful grain and its resistance to splitting for the seats. Beech and Ash with their straight, close grains are used for the turned parts and also for the hoops.
Bob Seymour, the proprietor of Milthorne Chairs, is a very talented photographer. Some of his photographs of objects found on the beach are remarkable and take on the shape and mood of abstract paintings. In addition he has a number of breathtaking landscapes taken on the Hartland Peninsula. He is starting to exhibit the more abstract of his photographs in galleries and to gain a reputation well beyond the Hartland parish boundaries.
Merlyn Chesterman is a painter and woodblock printmaker who has a tiny studio at No.2, Harton Manor just off the Square in Hartland. .She is a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.
Three times a year (Easter, Summer and Autumn) the Hartland Arts and Crafts Society holds a ‘Craft Fayre’ in The Parish Hall just off The Square in Hartland. Well worth a visit if it’s on while you are staying at Downe.
Just off the Square is Harton Manor Workshop. This is a teaching workshop run by David Charlesworth that has won national repute. David is an author and furniture maker who has specialised in teaching since 1977. He runs courses at Harton Manor teaching fine furniture making to exhibition standard to no more than four students at a time. If you are interested in furniture making do visit David’s website at www.davidcharlesworth.co.uk.
On the corner of the Square in the centre of Hartland is The Old Bakery Coffee Shop which provides light breakfasts, lunches, cream teas and homemade cakes and excellent coffee. A great asset to the village, the Old Bakery Coffee Shop is open daily and has seating both inside and out.
Stoke Church is a landmark that gives a bearing to many a walker as they travel around Hartland Point. The tall tower is the reason why the church is known as ‘The Cathedral of North Devon’. The rood screen in the church is magnificent and provides a stunning backcloth to the small concerts and musical evenings that are regularly held in the church.
The other outstanding asset of Hartland is the Hartland Abbey,located a few hundred yards from Downe.
Church of England
St. Nectan’s in Stoke is the nearest church and holds services every Sunday at 11.00 a.m. There is also a St. Nectan’s in Welcombe that holds services every Sunday at 9.00 am. Communion is also given at the Catholic Church in Hartland on Sunday at 8.00 a.m.
There is the Hartland Methodist Chapel at the top of Fore Street in Hartland that holds services every Sunday. Phone 01237 441271 for times.
Hartland has an infrequent bus service seven days a week that runs from Northgate Green in Hartland to Bude in one direction and to both Bideford and Barnstaple in the other.
It is possible to take a train from Barnstaple to Exeter. The nearest mainline station is Tiverton (which is an hour’s drive away) and it is possible to organize a taxi to collect guests from Tiverton.
Music in Hartland
Hartland has two major musical groups: the Hartland Brass Band and the Hartland Chamber Orchestra. If your visit coincides with one of their concerts given by the Brass Band or the Chamber Orchestra we do recommend that you take the opportunity to attend even if the programme is slightly outside your normal tastes.
The Brass Band frequently performs on Hartland Quay on Sunday evenings during the summer.
A lovely sunset makes them quite perfect evenings. Performances in the Square in Hartland after the Carnival or at Christmas can also be delightful.
The Chamber Orchestra’s concerts in Stoke church are often lovely evenings. You can experience the orchestral music of Haydn, Bach, Beethoven.
Each year Hartland hosts a music festival called ‘One Week in Summer’. It takes place in mid to late July and is a celebration of music in Hartland. The concerts generally take place in St Nectan’s Church in Stoke but occasionally take place in Hartland Abbey.
The Jazz Concert is usually excellent.