Five reasons to visit Combe Martin

Posted by Simon L on 31st May 2018

North Devon

combe martin north devon

Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, rolling moorland and fantastic family attractions, North Devon is often considered to be one of the best UK holiday destinations. From the cosmopolitan town of Ilfracombe to the rugged cliffs of Hartland, there are plenty of places that are well-worth a visit – but there's one village which, in our opinion, remains surprisingly under the radar.

The area has plenty of towns and villages that are welcoming to all visitors, but we want to shine the spotlight on Combe Martin, home of England's highest sea cliff – and the perfect base for your next North Devon holiday.

1. The beach

combe martin beach

Set in an attractive location at the bottom of the village lies Combe Martin's beach; surrounded by sea cliffs and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There is a selection of rock pools to explore, while dolphins have been known to be seen off the coast during the summer months. Due to its sheltered position protecting it from strong currents or waves, the beach is a great location for swimming but take care in the water as there are no lifeguards on duty.

2. The attractions

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park

There aren't many places in the world where you can see animatronic dinosaurs, but that dream becomes a reality at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. Home to a selection of robotic dinos, including a T-Rex, raptors and a Triceratops, there's also a wonderful a great collection of animals at the park, including lions, baboons, penguins, sea lions and wolves.

Other top Devon family attractions, including Watermouth Castle Theme Park, Ilfracombe Aquarium and Ilfracombe Museum, are also just a short drive away, plenty to keep everybody busy during your holiday.

3. The sights

Great Hangman Combe Martin

Did you know that England's highest sea cliff is found in Combe Martin? Well, on the outskirts to be exact, but Great Hangman is indeed the highest sea cliff in the country, measuring 1,043 feet (318m) high with a cliff face of 800 feet (244m). The village is also just on the edge of Exmoor National Park, where 268 square miles of possibilities await you. From long walks across the moors to trips to country pubs via days out at Exmoor Zoo, you'll never be bored.

4. The locals

combe martin earl of rone

“What do you mean, ‘the locals'?” We hear you mutter under your breath. We'll keep it simple… in 2002, to mark the Queen's Jubilee, villagers closed its high street for five-and-a-half hours to throw the world's longest ever street party! The mile-and-a-half-long village street was packed with tables, bands and bouncy castles to celebrate, with the numbers of revellers estimated at between 5,000-8,000. There's also the wonderful celebration of The Hunting of the Earl of Rone, which takes place every May, various markets and fayres, music and car festivals, and more, all organised by Combe Martin villagers – further pointing to the fact they're up there with the best!

5. The accommodation

Stowford Farm Meadows combe martin

Well, now you're sold on visiting Combe Martin for your next holiday, you'll need somewhere to stay, won't you? We think Stowford Farm Meadows is the perfect base for you and yours. Here, you'll be spoilt to a wide range of facilities and activities including Petorama, Stowford's very own mini zoo, a horse riding centre, pitch and putt and crazy golf courses, and plenty more family entertainment. The park's brand-new cottages (available from 20th July 2018 onwards) look mightily comfortable, and a stay means you get free access to their fantastic on-site facilities. Perfect!

Photo credits:

  • Main image: John Ireland (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park: Alastair Campbell (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • The Locals: The Earl of Rone 2011, by Brian Flanagan (CC BY 2.0)
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