Muddiford is a quiet North Devon hamlet with its own family friendly pub, the Muddiford Inn. The 16th century coaching inn, has a bar and restaurant and is popular within the local community, serving a good range of dishes and drinks.
Muddiford sits at the foot of a pretty valley with numerous walks available in the local area. It is also within easy reach of many of the beautiful villages, golden beaches and popular attractions.
Just a short drive from the farmhouse is the Broomhill Sculpture Gardens. Winner of several awards in North Devon, the sculpture gardens feature works of art by a range of up to 60 artists, including Carol Peace, Ronald Westerhuis and Giles Penny, along with many other both established and up and coming artists. The gardens, which are in full colour during the spring, summer and autumn, cover 10 acres of the valley and are home to 300 sculptures.
The gardens are a wonderful place to learn about modern art and admire bronze and stone sculptures intertwined with nature and local wildlife. After browsing the gardens, relax in the award winning Terra Madre restaurant and enjoy some of the best homemade dishes in the West Country.
Marwood Hill Gardens, a 20 acre private garden with three lakes, is also close by. Created in the late 1950's the gardens have a stunning range of plants, shrubs and trees surrounded by peace and tranquillity and boasting some impressive views across the valley, which can be enjoyed from the Garden Tea Room.
Barnstaple lies five miles from Muddiford and is steeped in history. The large market town has a good range of shops on its bustling high street, as well as a multi-screen cinema and a theatre, but it is the historic Pannier Market which really gives Barnstaple its charm and character. On the outskirts of Barnstaple are several supermarkets, a leisure centre and Tarka Tennis.
Continue along the Atlantic Highway from Barnstaple to visit some of the magical villages that sit alongside the ocean. From Instow to Hartland, these quaint villages offer excellent seafood restaurants, unique crafts shops and secluded coves. The villages are also on the South West Coast Path, so perfect for experiencing cliff top walks with breath taking views.
A visit to North Devon would not be complete without a trip to one of the wonderful beaches around the coastline. Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton are three of the most beautiful beaches in the country with their vast stretches of golden sands and blue flag waters. These popular beaches are ideal for families, with lifeguards on duty throughout the summer and plenty of water sports to entertain. For somewhere a little quieter discover some of the relaxed inlets, including Lee Bay, Woody Bay and Hartland Quay. Alternatively, Tunnels Beaches in Ilfracombe is a great place to have fun with its child friendly sea water pool and play area.
Overlooking the pretty harbour at Ilfracombe is 'Verity', a large 60 foot bronze clad statue donated by contemporary artist Damien Hirst. The artist also has a gallery and restaurant in the town. The harbour at Ilfracombe is a lovely relaxed place to watch the boats, savour a traditional cream tea or participate in a spot of fishing. During the summer, boats leaving Ilfracombe are a great way of seeing the North Devon coastline from a different angle, as well as transporting you to Lundy Island, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which recognises the area for its rare flora and fauna.
A little further afield from Muddiford is the Exmoor National Park, a stunning landscape, which is an excellent place to have a walk or admire the scenery. At Lynton and Lynmouth, Exmoor dramatically meets the sea. Known as Little Switzerland, the picturesque villages were the scene of a dramatic flood in 1952, but today they are a tranquil place to explore, with the unique water powered Cliff Railway a charming way to journey between the two, saving legs and cars the effort of climbing the steep hill.