My Devon by New Business Manager, Oliver McCarron
My name is Oliver McCarron and I am the New Business Manager for Marsdens Devon Cottages. I have worked for Marsdens for over 5 years and have been living in North Devon for a similar length of time. My connection with North Devon goes back further than this though as my parents moved to Croyde over 10 years ago and it is an area where we took family holidays when I was younger. I love my role at Marsdens, as I not only get to meet a wide range of interesting people, but enjoy the process of seeing an owner's holiday property come onto the market, from my first valuation visit to visitors booking and enjoying the property year after year.
I now live just outside the popular village of Braunton (one of the largest villages in the UK). This is a great place to live, as it provides easy access to all of the beaches in the area, has lots of shops, cafes and restaurants and is the perfect, safe family environment.
I have a young family, a wife and two children, so a lot of my time is spent primarily entertaining our children. I am now an expert on all of the soft play areas in North Devon! When I do get time for any of my own hobbies I enjoy surfing (I’m not as good as I used to be though due to the lack of practice) and any type of fitness exercise. My other passion would be my football team, Liverpool FC, their erratic form often keeps my feet on the ground.
As you are probably aware North Devon has some of the best beaches in the South West of England, such as Woolacombe that was voted the best UK beach by TripAdvisor, and one of the best surfing beach breaks in Croyde. That being said there is so much more to North Devon than just spending your days on one our fabulous beaches as I was able to prove with my family this last weekend.
The weather forecast was in and it was wall to wall sunshine all weekend. Now all I had to was to decide what to do and where to go with my wife and our two young children (3 year old boy & 10 week year old girl). The beach I hear you say, well that was where my weekend began but not in the conventional sense and I was without my family. At 9:30am I found myself on Croyde beach waiting to start my fitness boot camp session with Bay Fitness in the pouring rain, what happened to that weather forecast!. This was my first boot camp session in quite a while due my new born baby and I eased my way back into it by flipping tractor tyres and running up sand dunes! By the end of an hour long session the sun had even come out and the world seemed like a whole better place. To all of those of people who enjoy their fitness I couldn’t recommend The Bay Fitness session enough. They make fitness fun and enjoyable, not a chore and there aren’t much better back drops to do a workout to than Croyde Beach.
There was a trade off with my wife for my exertions at boot camp on the Saturday morning and that was taking her to our local and favourite eatery; The Waterside Café in Chivenor. We took a pleasant walk down the Tarka Trail until we reached The Waterside Café, where upon ordering the realisation of why my wife chose to visit here this weekend dawned on me. The Freakshake has landed!! The Waterside Café are often known for their limited edition milkshakes and this was one of them.
On the Sunday we decided to take a trip to Marwood Hill Gardens, which is one of our favourite places to spend a relaxing Sunday morning. This 20 acre private garden with its 3 lakes and series of mini waterfalls is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy plants, shrubs, trees, lovely views and woodland areas. Created in the 1950’s the vision and inspiration of the late Dr Jimmy Smart VMH also provides a haven for birds and local wildlife. The gardens are famous for the largest collection of Camellias in the country, but there are many other plants, trees and that provide an abundance and variety of colour throughout the year. The first place we head to when we arrive at the gardens is the award winning tea room. Now this is mainly because we have a 3 year old who insists on having ‘juice and cake’ before we venture around the gardens, but I can appreciate if others wish to do it the other way round! The tea room is situated in what used to be Dr Smart’s living room and it provides not only lovely Devon fayre but stunning views of the valley. If you are looking for a tranquil idyll then I would most definitely place Marwood Hill Gardens at the top of your list.
As you can see there is lots to do in North Devon, whether it be activity or food based, or just immersing yourself in the North Devon countryside. Oh and the beaches are rather good too!