At Stonehayes Farm we have gorgeous self catering cottages for Autumn breaks in the Devon countryside. What a wonderful time of year to get away for a week or a short break! The summer rush will be over, the roads won’t be so hectic, all the attractions will still be open and hopefully, it will still be warm enough for days on the beautiful beaches of the Devon coast.
With holidays in the UK being more and more popular the roads have seen an increase in traffic this year and everywhere has been so busy! But when the schools go back it all calms down and the pace of life returns to the quieter ways that we know and love here in the West Country. It’s the perfect time of year to get away and unwind in spectacular surroundings where the air is fresh and clear and there’s plenty to do. It’s ideal if you have babies and toddlers, or if your children are older and doing their own thing now. And if you have a big birthday coming up, or something else worth celebrating a weekend in the country is a great way to mark the occasion with your nearest and dearest.
We’ve seen some very hot and muggy weather this year and though it’s broken the sun is still high in the sky, and with the trees starting to change colour it’s so inspiring; that lovely autumn glow is hard to beat, the slight chill in the morning heralds the start of another day, all yours to enjoy from your Devon holiday cottage at Stonehayes Farm.
We still have some availability for autumn at our self catering cottages sleeping 4-14; Siskins Nook used to be an apple store when the fruit was brought in from the orchard to make cider, but now it’s a cosy cottage that sleeps 4 and is well equipped with everything you need to keep you snug and happy on your autumn break. Pipits Retreat and Wagtail Corner are both a little bigger, with room for 5, and Dippers Rest sleeps 6. In days gone by these cottages were used for storing grain and providing shelter to animals but you’d never know if we hadn’t told you because now they’re so idyllic and homely. If you’re planning a few days away with friends or another young family, you can book Whinchat Barns to sleep 11, and that’s great because you each get your own cottage, your own space - but you can still get together to socialise and share meal times.
For groups of up to 14 there is mid week availability at Pippinsands, what used to be the farmhouse here; a big old thatched cottage that’s light and airy, loaded with country chic, packed with character, and has its own hot tub. Of course, we’re biased but we love the cottages at Stonehayes Farm; they all have centuries old rustic features that add to the warm and homely feel – just right for putting your feet up and enjoying a break in September, October or November.
It’s not just the cottages though - at Stonehayes Farm there’s also a shared games/play room and 15 acres of private grounds for you to play in, to walk in and to lap up the peace and quiet. We’re tucked away in the quiet lanes of East Devon with far reaching views over the Otter Valley, so if you fancy a walking break this is the place to come. We’re right in the Blackdown Hills here so you’ll find walks of all lengths; forest trails to wander, hills to climb, and some fantastic vantage points where you can have a picnic with a backdrop of miles and miles of unspoilt countryside – or if you prefer, round off a hike with lunch at one of the welcoming country pubs round these parts. Come back to your Devon holiday cottage, light the wood-burner and settle down for an evening by the fireside with a good book, a light hearted film, or a board game. Such a lovely thing to do after a walk at Hembury Fort or up to Dumpdon Hill above the cottages, even after a bracing stride along the clifftops or the more tropical parts of the undercliff on the South West Coast Path.
And isn’t there something very captivating about beaches when they’re not packed with lobster-red sunbathers and the constant hubbub of holiday makers, running to and fro with ice creams, larking about in the sea and that? That’s all very nice, but like we say, when it’s not so busy it really does put a smile on your face. We have days in September when it’s warm enough to play on the beach and to sit on the terrace of a café and eat outside, so you can still have fun but with less people about.
We’re lucky being so close to the coast; the beaches are quite diverse but they all have their charm. Exmouth is one of the more lively places with a long stretch of sand and if you like watersports it’s definitely the one to go for; Budleigh Salterton has an altogether quieter air and a backdrop of towering red sandstone cliffs – a bit like Sidmouth with its Regency feel and Millennium Walk that stretches right along the seafront. Nearby is the Donkey Sanctuary and Bicton Park Botannical Gardens where you can play crazy golf, visit the countryside museum and take the tinies to the indoor or outdoor play areas.
And Branscombe. You’ll love Branscombe. Flower hung cottages line the main street as it gently rolls down to the sea; there are two good pubs, an Old Bakery with a tea room, a traditional Blacksmith’s Forge, and a working Watermill. Beer is equally charming and a morning or afternoon browsing the shops and galleries is time well spent; go down to the beach exploring the rockpools at low tide, hire a self-drive boat and have a cruise around the bay; come back for fish and chips at the cliff top Anchor Inn, or for a bite to eat in Smugglers Kitchen.
At Seaton you can take a trip back to prehistoric times at Seaton Jurassic, have a ride on the tram along the Axe estuary to Colyton where you can alight for a cream tea at The Station Café and a mooch round the Vintage Shed next door, or have a leisurely stroll in the nature reserve at Seaton Wetlands – they often have activities at the hut there that you can join in. Pop in to Jean’s Tea Caddy Café at Axmouth Harbour for bacon butties or if it’s a bit later on in the day go to the Harbour Inn in the village.
And then there’s Lyme Regis just over the border in Dorset, where you can go on a fishing trip, see the marine life in the aquarium, visit Dinosaurland Fossil Museum and stroll along the historic harbour wall. All such lovely relaxed places to visit out of season, no crowds to battle, no queues if you want fish and chips or an ice cream.
Inland there are some great places to take the little ones; they’ll love Wildwood Escot with animals to see, a maze, woodland trails and adventure playgrounds. Just along the A35 is Axe Valley Wildlife Park which is all geared up for younger children; at Pecorama near Beer you can ride on the miniature train and see the shell house. Within half an hour or so are Knightshayes Court and Killerton House where they can let off steam running about in the parkland, and with animals and over 60 rides there’s Crealy Adventure Park. Plenty to see and do on your autumn break in Devon!
But if you haven’t got kids with you, it’s a chance to just be. To leave all your worries behind and come and completely relax in a cosy Devon cottage. Honiton is just down the road if you need anything and there are farm shops nearby so you can tuck into some seriously good local produce whilst you’re here. Stonehayes Farm is a wonderful place to come and stay anytime of year but there’s something very special about an Autumn break in this neck of the woods. Come and see for yourselves – check availability and book your autumn break today!