Home is where the Heart is | The Downes
The Downes is a grand, luxury holiday home that offers a warm welcome to large family groups coming together; this is how The Downes was conceptualised by the owners.
Holidays in Devon as a young family hold special memories for the Flowers. So as the family got older and grew in size, with grandchildren and better halves gathering for family reunions, they knew they needed a base where grandparents, parents and children could all congregate and continue to create those fond memories. After undergoing an extensive amount of restoration to breathe new life into this exceptional home, The Downes has become the perfect family retreat that the Flowers had hoped for. In addition, this characterful property provides itself as a luxurious respite for families to reconvene and create their own cherished memories.
The Downes – daughter Sally confesses – was love at first site: ‘I’m a bit of a romantic and I thought this was a dream home. You just get a feeling and I knew this was the one.’ The Grade II listed Georgian House stands proudly overlooking beautiful, mature gardens and the green dells and dips of the Torridge Valley. It’s a real piece of tranquillity, completely self-contained with acres of undulating lawns and great hydrangea bushes – perfect for a game of hide and seek. The pretty kitchen garden walls lined with nodding sunflowers and the fresh herbs and cultivated perennials further enhance the bucolic charm. An outdoor heated pool adds to the numerous facilities and on-site activities to enjoy, including a tennis lawn and games barn.
The surrounding countryside served as a great source of inspiration to author Henry Williamson, whose famous novel Tarka the Otter follows the life and journey of the book’s namesake. The popular Tarka Trail is the UK’s longest continuous traffic-free walking and cycling path, and allows literary fans to follow the trail of the fictional otter. This unmissable trail can be accessed right at the end of The Downes’ tree-lined drive, and makes for an idyllic family day out with picnic in tow.
Surrounded by the peace and quiet of the countryside, it’s easy to forget that the north Devon coast is just a 10 minute drive away. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that covers 171 km2 of rich and varied coastal landscape, from Exmoor National Park to Marsland Mouth on the Cornish border, every day can be spent enjoying somewhere entirely different. Explore the stretching coastline of Hartland Peninsula – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – followed by lunch on the waterfront at Westward Ho, finished off with a late afternoon surf at Croyde as the sun goes down. Handfuls of picturesque towns cluster in the lush valleys and along wending river mouths lined with mounds of fine sand, offering a plentiful selection of independent delis, cafes and restaurants in which to refuel.
The abundant choice of day excursions is made all the more wonderful by the prospect of returning home to sumptuously plump sofas, claw-footed bath tubs and generous-sized bedrooms to rest and recollect upon the days’ adventures.
The Downes sleeps up to 14 guests across 7 beautifully-appointed bedrooms. From £2030 for a short break, or £2330 for 7 nights: www.perfectstays.co.uk/property/the-downes/