Herons Bank stands in secure gated grounds on a hillside with views that stretch for miles across the beautiful countryside of the Culm Valley; just a stone’s throw away is the Mid Devon town of Cullompton where you can stock up on provisions at the supermarket, browse the independent shops, and stop for coffee or a bite to eat in one of the cafes or pubs. There’s a regular pannier market and a farmer’s market, so take your basket along and fill it with fresh produce all homemade or homegrown within a few miles.
If you’ve got children with you, they’ll start jumping for joy when they find out that just down the road is The Bear Trail and Diggerland (got a feeling the Dads will like that too!); easily reached are Crealy Theme Park & Resort, Wildwood Escot and Devon’s capital city, Exeter, where you can explore the medieval Underground Passages beneath the streets, meet Gerald the Giraffe at the Royal Albert Museum, or go and play at Clip n Climb. History lovers will appreciate the magnificent Gothic cathedral, shopaholics will like Princesshay, and those with a sense of adventure will relish the prospect of getting out on the estuary of the River Exe in a kayak or canoe hired from AS Watersports.
The National Trust are all geared up for families these days and not far away from Herons Bank are Killerton House and Knightshayes Court, so go and discover the acres of parkland and centuries of history. A lovely way to pass an afternoon is to take yourselves over to Tiverton and head down to the canal; you can walk and cycle along the towpath, or board a horse-drawn barge for a boat trip. When you get back have refreshments at the Canal Tea Rooms & Garden or on Ducks Ditty Floating Café Bar.
The Jurassic Coast isn’t that far, so if the sun is shining have a day on the beach at Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton or Exmouth. If you’re a corporate group or a hen or stag party looking for activities you’ll be impressed with the choice around these parts; there’s clay pigeon shooting at Shalden Shooting School, go-karting at Mansell Raceway, and off-road fun to be had at Quad World and Land Rover Experience West Country. You could set your own challenge with a bike ride or a hike in the Blackdown Hills AONB; make a summit bid at Culm Beacon (the views, the views!) and round it off with a well deserved pub lunch at The Culm Valley Inn.
Now there’s something else. Country pubs. Proper ones. You’ll find several round here that are warm and welcoming; you can go to any of them and enjoy a pint of local ale or cider and decent home cooked food in a nice relaxed environment. Perfick, as we say down here. Try The Ashill Inn at Ashill, Keepers Cottage Inn at Keenthorne, or The Merry Harriers at Westcott.
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