Spotlight on Instow, Appledore and Westward Ho!
If you prefer to enjoy your holiday at a gentle pace, the villages of Appledore, Instow and Westward Ho! will make the perfect getaway for your next break in North Devon.
The two picturesque villages of Appledore and Instow are set apart by the Taw and Torridge estuary, where the two rivers meet. On the West side of the Torridge lies Applefore, a seafaring village of brightly painted fishermen's cottages and narrow streets leading to a busy quaysife. It's a great place to stay if you like to be immersed in coastal life and waking to the sound of the masts tinkling in the breeze is truly magical.
Once up and out, you could lose a day or two browsing the galleries of local artists, launching a ski boat, kayak or a dinghy, enjoying an ice cream or eating and drinking in cheerful pubs and cafes overlooking the water.
On the opposite bank sits Instow, home to the 'officer classes' of the Torridge. Here you'll find a cricket pitch (that's almost on the water), Instow Yacht Club, a fabulous deli and shops selling local art. The beach is fabulous too. At low tide it's great for exercising the dog or strolling among the beached sailboats. This is also a great spot to watch the sunset!
Westward Ho! is the area's beach town. It's home to England's oldest links golf course, the Northam Burrows Country Park, dunes, pebble ridge and miles of flat sands. It's becoming more and more popular with surfers and kite surfers and has changed a great deal in recent times, with new restaurants, shops and cafes adding a more cosmopolitan air. Some things, happily, will never change, such as the best ice cream in Devon. Be prepared to form an orderly queue at the Hockings van on sunny days!
Inland and upstream you'll find busy Bideford, beautiful Weare Giffard and the civil war town of Torrington. They are all linked by the Tarka Trail, a traffic-free cycleway that follows the course of the river and the old railway. It passes through lovely countryside, over old bridges and past meandering creeks as it makes it's (largely flat) way up the valley.