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Brilliant boltholes

PUBLISHED: 12:11 30 October 2014

American Airstream, Little Coombe Farm, near Dittisham.

American Airstream, Little Coombe Farm, near Dittisham.


CHRISSY HARRIS seeks out 10 cosy Devon hideaways for winter

Shaldon Beach Huts, Shaldon.Shaldon Beach Huts, Shaldon.

When it’s cold and dark outside the best thing to do is hide away. But you might as well do it in style and with a sea view, if possible. A little under-floor heating wouldn’t hurt either, plus a woodburner and maybe some sheep’s wool insulation against the elements.

These are just a few of the luxury delights on offer in some of Devon’s winter boltholes – quirky little (and large) places designed to let people enjoy the outside, inside. It’s a growing trend and many holiday let-owners are tapping into the winter season market.

“You’ve got to give the people what they want for as long as they want it,” says Jeremy Robinson. He and wife Carol run Little Coombe Farm in Dittisham and have recently restored a beautiful 1956 American Airstream trailer, complete with all mod cons.

“You’ve got to cater for all seasons,” he says. “People enjoy going on holiday, whatever the weather.”

Big Sky Retreat, Hookhill Plantation, near Crediton.Big Sky Retreat, Hookhill Plantation, near Crediton.

If it’s beautifully finished granite worktops you want or simply a roof over your head, Devon certainly has a lot to offer the winter holidaymaker.

We’ve rounded up ten of the best cosy hideaways:

1 American Airstream, Little Coombe Farm, near Dittisham.

This amazing trailer has been fully restored to include under-floor heating, a double bedroom, power shower and fully equipped modern kitchen.

You can light a fire in the fire pit outside and then look at it through the window of the galley kitchen, complete with dishwasher, fridge and combi-oven. My kind of ‘camping’.


2 Shaldon Beach Huts, Shaldon.

These are not just any beach huts. These are five-star quality built unique holiday experiences.

Each hut overlooks the beach and has a private terrace. Inside there’s under-floor heating, Italian glass sliding doors and loads of lovely cushions! What more could you want?


3 Treetops, Woody Bay, near Lynton.

This really is a hideaway. Situated down a ‘no through road’ (directly overlooking the Bristol Channel and leading to the beach) with almost no passing traffic, it is surrounded by National Trust woodland.

Go walking, riding or fishing – or just sit and enjoy the oil-fired central heating, while eating a packet of locally-sourced biscuits.


4 Quarry Pods, Dunsdon Farm, Holsworthy.

These unusual hidey-holes have been described as luxury wooden tents, offering guests the chance to rough it or enjoy a luxury pad for the weekend.

They promise to be toasty and cosy, with double-glazed windows, electric heaters and sheep’s wool insulation for the walls.


5 Tunnels Beaches, the Bath House and Tides, Ilfracombe.

If you’ve got a large entourage in tow (up to 24 people, say), you can all get on each other’s nerves in these amazing places.

Bath House and Tides are both part of Tunnels Beaches, a network of hand-carved tunnels leading to sheltered beaches and a Victorian bathing pool.

Weep at the beautiful décor and light-filled rooms in these high-class holiday lets, before making the most of the stunning views on offer at this North Devon attraction.


6 Bramble Shepherd’s Hut, Ottery.

With its recycled windows, ‘up-cycled tea towel curtains’ and country china, this is the perfect place for the vintage-loving holidaymaker.

It’s basic but cosy with log burner to huddle around.


7 The Log Cabin, Sheldon, near Blackdown Hills.

Be at one with nature in this peaceful haven, made from weathered pine logs.

It’s within the grounds of the owner’s trout farm in a picturesque hamlet.

There’s also a covered veranda, ideal for enjoying an evening hot chocolate, while dressed in several layers.

Oh, and there’s no mobile phone reception. Bliss!


8 Big Sky Retreat, Hookhill Plantation, near Crediton.

Inspired by legendary American yurt builder Bill Coperthwaite, this astonishing building is entirely constructed from recycled and natural materials.

Everything here reflects the owners’ passion for sustainability. There are amazing 180 degree views of the Devon countryside and not a soul in sight.


9 Level 8, 80ft 2007 Italian motor yacht, Torquay.

If solid ground just ain’t your thing, head for the open sea in this, slightly alternative ‘winter hideaway’.

It can sleep up to six and food and drinks can be supplied on request before arrival.


10 Beach huts at Broadsands, Torbay.

These pretty-as-a-picture, pastel coloured beach huts are the perfect, slightly more long-term winter hideaway.

Derek Singleton, Torbay Council’s resort services manager, says the chalets, which have electricity, lighting, worktops and kitchen units, have been snapped up but there’s a waiting list and more on the way.

He told Devon Life: “The Broadsands chalets have proved so popular there is a phase two development planned for summer 2015.

“Similar projects are happening at Meadfoot and Oddicombe beaches in Torquay.”

Call 01803 208024.


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