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Hemyock Castle
Ancient Heart of the Blackdowns

Day Trips from Hemyock

Hemyock is in the upper Culm Valley, amidst the Blackdown Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty long popular with artists and writers. The trunk roads which now supplement Devon's picturesque lanes have made Hemyock a good touring centre. As well as the natural attractions, there is a wide variety of facilities within easy travelling distance able to satisfy a wide variety of interests, whatever the weather.

Hemyock Village and Local Towns

The Blackdowns, an area of outstanding natural beauty have long been popular with artists and writers. The villages, lanes and footpaths are well worth exploring.

Hemyock Castle itself is centrally situated in Hemyock. This village is about 5 miles from the M5 exit 26, 8 from exit 27 and 10 from A303. The village has 2 shops (one of which is a Spar and has its own bakery, the other has the post office.) There is a car repair garage. The Catherine Wheel, the village pub, serves meals. It is about a 2 minute walk, along the streamside footpath that runs along beside Hemyock Castle and St. Marys Church. Nearby Culmstock has a tea-room and the Culm Valley Inn which has a restaurant.

There is a Children's playground with swings about 5 minutes away and tennis courts that can be booked locally. Hemyock also has a new sports ground.

The interesting market towns of Tiverton and Cullompton are nearby.

Local Walks in the Blackdown Hills

The Blackdown Hills, designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, have a network of lanes and footpaths, although care is needed, especially while using the narrow lanes. Several of the published walks are longer or more strenuous, but many have easier sections which can be followed separately. (When parking, please do not block gateways or obstruct lanes.)

Useful Links:

Photo: Hemyock Footpath Map
Hemyock Parish Council's Commons & Footpath Map
(in carpark next to Hemyock's Baptist Chapel)
Click here for a larger map

Hemyock Parish Footpaths & Common Land

Hemyock Parish has a network of footpaths, and five remaining areas of Common Land:

  1. Ashculme Turbary
  2. Owleycombe Common
  3. Hemyock Turbary
  4. Shuttleton Common
  5. Lickham Common

Some other Nearby Open Spaces:

Coasts and Beaches

The North and South coasts are within easy reach. The many sandy beaches include Sidmouth (18 miles) and Exmouth (about 25 miles). Other beautiful beaches include Beer, Seaton, Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

Coastal footpaths follow the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and South East Devon; further west, there is the South West Coastal Path.

The English Riviera: Torquay and the English Riviera coast are about 1½ hours drive.

Surfing: The wonderful surfing beaches of the North coast are within 1¼ hours drive. Saunton, Croyde, Woolacombe and Putsborough are all easily accessible. The National Trust car parks are free to members.

Surfing and body boarding are year round activities: The waves are often better in the winter. Equipment such as wet suits, hoods, boots and gloves; and boards are all available to hire. Lessons can be booked at several schools such as Croyde and Braunton.

You could try something new, like kite boarding or sand yachting. Lessons and full equipment are available in several places such as Exmouth and Braunton.

Fishing boats from Lyme Regis can take you mackerel fishing.

Exmoor and Dartmoor

We are within about one hour of both Exmoor and Dartmoor. These are wonderful natural National Parks with pretty little villages. You can often see the moorland ponies and if you are lucky the wild Red Deer on Exmoor. Both moors are excellent for walking either with an organized walk (these happen throughout the year) or on your own: Moorland walks can be as gentle or challenging as you like.

National Trust, Gardens and other Attractions

There are many nearby National Trust and English Heritage properties. Montacute House, Killerton House, Knightshayes Court, Arlington Court, Saltram and Anthony (near Plymouth - about 2 hours), a la Ronde (Exmouth), Bickleigh, Okehampton and Tiverton Castles, the atmospheric Tintagel Castle.

The beautiful Medieval Cathedrals of Wells and Exeter, Bishops Palace (Wells), Glastonbury Abbey and Tor, Muchelney and Cleeve Abbeys (English Heritage).

Muchelney, Glastonbury and the mystical Isle of Avalon are part of the Somerset Levels which until fairly recently were regularly flooded each Winter: People travelled by boat between hamlets built on the higher ground: Babies cribs were designed to float. Modern drainage schemes have controlled the flooding but the area is still dotted with fascinating hamlets and nature reserves.

Other tourist attractions include the caves at Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole (about 1¼ hours away). Several towns such as Sidmouth have beautiful public gardens.

The famous Eden Project (about 2 hours drive) and Lands End etc. etc. are all within a day trip.

Other places include: The Yeovilton RN Fleet Air Arm Museum, the historic Morwellham Quay (near Tavistock), Crealy Great Adventure Park, and Diggerland (where you can drive diggers).

Shopping and Antiques

Shopaholics are well catered for: Clarks Village at Street (near Glastonbury) has many Factory Shop outlets as does Atlantic Village near Bideford. Taunton, Exeter and Tiverton have many of the chain stores and larger supermarket. Taunton has an impressive range of Building Society branches.

Otter Nurseries (Ottery St. Mary) is about 30 minutes drive away. There are several other Garden Centres.

Honiton is noted for its Antique shops. There is a regular Monday Antiques Market at Silver Street in Taunton. There are many car boot sales locally such as at Taunton Race Course on Sunday mornings.

Festivals and Carnivals

Throughout the year there are many festivals, Carnivals and traditional agricultural shows. Seaside towns hold their carnivals during the Summer and early September; market towns hold theirs in the Autumn: The local circuit starts with Wellington Carnival in late September, Taunton in October, culminating with the world famous Illuminated Bridgwater Carnival around November 5th and the spectacular Tar Barrel Rolling at Ottery St. Mary.

The Sidmouth Folk Festival in the first week of August attracts folk singers and dancers from all over the world. There is a wonderful festival atmosphere throughout the town, including impromptu street performances. Sidmouth is only about 45 minutes drive.

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is likewise very close so Hemyock is a good base for Donkey Week.

Trains, Coaches and Buses

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Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
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