Hartland Quay is situated on the South West Coast path and the surrounding area is designated as ‘Heritage Coastline’ and as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The cliff walks, with their extensive coastal panoramas and wealth of wild flowers are on a par with walking anywhere in Europe. For more information on the coastal path walk, visit the South West Coast Path website. There are many smaller circular walks that can also be enjoyed using Hartland Quay as a base.
Flora & Fauna
The surrounding area provides many varied habitats for wildlife. From the expansive Atlantic Ocean to it’s small rockpools on our beaches, from the woodlands around to the rough grasses of the Coast Path, you are never far from nature.
Peregrine falcons hunt the cliffs, oyster catchers, cormorants and seagulls can be seen. Buzzards abound in the woodlands and roe deer are regularly spotted grazing.
Photography & Dark Skies
Hartland Quay has long served as a base for photographers to explore the surrounding area. Now, with North Devon having been designated as having some of the darkest skies in England, Astro Photography is becoming more and more popular as a reason to visit the area. On clear Autumn evenings the Milky Way can be seen majestically across the sky and star clusters sparkle like diamonds on black velvet. It’s a breathtaking scene that adds so much to the unspoilt character of the region. On a clear moonless night you can see 2,000 stars at any one time, compared with just a handful from urban areas.
Photo courtesy of Jen Rogers www.jenrogersphotography.co.uk
Just 2 miles inland, Hartland village, once called Harton Borough, is a timeless, unspoilt rural gem. For over a thousand years the village has been the hub of social and community life for the whole peninsula, so is packed with history, heritage and the kinds of shops, events and services that have served traditional village communities for centuries. The annual Carnival, taking place in August is not to be missed! Visit the Hartland Peninsula Association Website for information on Hartland village and the surrounding area.
Hartland Quay is a great base to explore Devon and Cornwall. Our National Parks of Exmoor and Dartmoor and the Cathedral City of Exeter are well worthwhile days out. Take the Tarka Line railway from Barnstaple for a hassle free visit to Exeter. Hire a bicycle in Bideford or Barnstaple for a carefree day of cycling on The Tarka Trail. Bude, Tintagel and the north Cornish coast are within easy reach.
Hartland Abbey & Gardens
Hartland Abbey was built in 1169 and originally housed the monks who worshiped at the beautiful church of St Nectan’s in Stoke. It was dissolved in 1539 and was given as a gift to William Abbot, Henry VIII’s chief butler, seven years later.
It has passed through the family and is now owned by Sir Hugh & Lady Stucley and is open to the public during the summer. Not only is there the historic house to see but also the astonishing gardens. There are some beautiful walks down to the sea and teas to refresh you afterward. The Abbey hosts many special events and outdoor theatre throughout the summer months. Visit the Hartland Abbey Website for opening times and further information,
Lundy Island, off the North Devon coast and clearly visible from Hartland Quay, offers a diverse variety of seabirds, wildlife, flora and fauna for nature lovers and the seas surrounding the island are designated a marine nature reserve. Day trips to Lundy Island are available locally during the summer with sailings leaving from either Bideford or Ilfracombe depending on the tide. For further information Visit the Landmark Trust Lundy Island Website
Spekes Mill Mouth
20 to 30 minutes walk south of Hartland Quay is the beautiful waterfall of Spekes Mill Mouth. The two streams that rise on the high ground of Bursdon Moor meet near Lymebridge and wind their way through the secluded Spekes Valley before cascading down a shear rock face sixty feet, through a series of four smaller falls before finally reaching the sea.
At low tide there are often sandy stretches running down to the shore. Surfers like to visit Spekes Mill for it’s renowned reef brake, yet it remains peaceful and quiet even at the height of summer.
Situated only 1,400 yards from the Spekes Mill Mouth Coastal Waterfall, the garden at Docton Mill was created in 1980 around the existing river, waterways and ponds. As well as beautiful gardens, Docton Mill has a working water wheel and lovely tea room. Open March to October, 10am to 5pm.