Chulmleigh has a population of around 1,300 inhabitants, but that doesn't mean it's a place of no importance. The town in North Devon is by far one of the oldest of the area, which has led to the entire town being declared a conservation area for its many traces of architectural history.
The Saxons first shaped how the English countryside still looks today, with neat fields, hedges and copses that have been the home of many animal species. Because they are so old, many of the plants and woodlands around Chulmleigh offer some of England's richest and most diverse flora and fauna, unknown to newer woodland ‐ a paradise for plant lovers and bird watching!
Culture & attractions in Chulmleigh
Chulmleigh itself features many fine examples of cob and thatch structures and Devon Stone buildings. Cob is made from a mixture of clay soil and straw and has proven as one of the most durable building materials, not only because walls need to be extremely stable and thick to support a thatched roof.
Still, it's unusual for buildings in this style to survive this long and Chulmleigh is lucky enough to have two of them: Egypt Cottage in Egypt Lane and Lower Dodyard, a little outside the countryside around the village. Devon Stone, which used to be produced locally, was used for many newer buildings in town, hinting at a prosperous past. Keep looking both up and down while wandering around Chulmleigh, so you don't miss any of the keystones and carved heads at many of the buildings.
It's hard to imagine what made the village so rich these days, but in the late middle ages, the area had a thriving wool industry, which also led to the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene being built in the 14th century. The church is bigger and more lavishly decorated than any other churches in the area and still features many of its original carvings and even colouring.
Must-do highlights in Chulmleigh
Of course, most visitors who base themselves in Chulmleigh are here to explore the vast Exmoor National Park, and while you can easily spend a week just doing that, it would be a shame not to explore some of the many other outdoor opportunities the village offers.
Chulmleigh Golf Course is open to the public and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, from the peaks of Dartmoor to the church and thatched cottages of the village ‐ worth a visit even if you have never played golf before!
Devon is famous for its well-bred horses and there might be no better way to explore the beautiful landscape than on horseback. The Boldtry Riding Stables keeps a variety of horses ‐ from maginificent thoroughbreds for advanced riders to patient ponies for kids. They offer many different excursions, no matter whether you were born on horseback or have never tried sitting on one before.
For hikers and wakers, Chulmleigh is well connected to the Tarka Trail, the Little Dart Ridge & Valley Walk and the Two Moors Way, which are all part of the larger national footpath network ‐ you decide if it's half a days walk or a multiple day hike. In any case, don't miss out on Eggesford Forest, one of England's oldest patches of woodland that is home to dozens of rare animal and plant species.
With many little streams and lakes, the area is a paradise for fishing, and even salmon (who are spawning here from May onwards) and sea trout are prolific here. The fishing season lasts from March until late September.
Eating & drinking in Chulmleigh
In spite of its small size, Chulmleigh offers some excellent food. Frenchs' comes up with some of the most creative menus in town, a mixture of high class gastro pub and Mediterranean food and a large wine list.
In the quaint countryside near Eggesford Forest, you can find the Fox and Hounds Restaurant, which offers some of the freshest local produce and Sunday lunches with live jazz music ‐ although the real star here are the Devon steaks.
The Red Lion is a gastro pub that is well known for its high quality pizzas ‐ you might think you accidentally took a trip to Italy!
Accommodation in Chulmleigh
Chulmleigh offers a wide choice of holiday accommodation, with many of the cottages and apartments set in historical buildings in the centre of the village.
28 Langley View is a modern first floor apartment that sleeps up to four and offers easy access to walking trails and the beaches of North Devon.
One of the most romantic places to stay is the Cider Barn, Park Mill Farm, a barn conversion that has ample space for two guests with a terrace and access to a local fishing lake. If you are planning to visit with more people, you can rent multiple barns for up to 14 guests.
So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend in Chulmleigh. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…