Meet the owners: One Gidleigh Park
Further Afield introduce you to Adam and Stephen, the owners of One Gidleigh Park in beautiful Devon. Located in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, you’ll find that there is more than magical woodland to explore.
One Gidleigh Park is a beautifully renovated cottage in a stunning woodland setting – perfect escape material. Fantastic decor, a smashing chef’s kitchen and being dog-friendly add to its appeal, as does the Michelin-starred restaurant just down the road… Adam and Stephen let us in on their treasured things about this Further Afield favourite.
FA: Were you always country boys or did you have to make a leap from city life?
We are both city boys, but Adam spent much of his childhood in the Chagford area and knew it well. When we hit our thirties we hankered after a quiet bolthole from our lives in London and we started looking around Chagford and found the house for sale by complete accident. The house is a 1920s wooden kit home and we bought it in its originally constructed state. The overgrown garden and the rundown house needed a lot of TLC but we just loved it. We spend as much time as we can at the cottage but rent it out when we aren’t there.
FA: How did you end up running your business?
The house was originally one of three timber framed kit homes built as staff cottages for the manor house that became the Gidleigh Park Hotel in the 1920s. They were constructed by a company called Boulton and Paul. This Norwich based outfit specialised in these prefab houses but also made shepherds’ huts and light aircraft.
We have owned the house for over 20 years and have restored it piecemeal, reforming and opening up the original floorplan and adding two new extensions. We love the house and the area and in 2016 decided to rent it out to others with the hope that they would enjoy the place as much as we do.
FA: Tell us a bit about the country pursuits that are on offer either through you or through providers in the immediate area that you work with.
We are both keen walkers. Adam has drawn up his own favourite “Walks from our Door” which avoid the necessity to get in a car. You can walk up the river to Dartmoor, a stunning wild and woolly terrain with its many granite tors within half an hour. Cycling and mountain biking are popular here on the “Granite Way”. There is coarse fishing locally on the River Teign and at Fernworthy Resevoir with a licence.
Dartmoor is also the ideal place to ride a horse. There are many riding schools situated around the moor. Steven Spielberg chose to shoot his film War Horse on Dartmoor, an obvious choice as the original book was set in Devon. He was apparently blown away by the landscape. There are companies specialising in following the “War Horse Trail” but our recommended local riding school is Babeny at Poundsgate.
In the next village on from Chagford there is a Falconry school, The Dartmoor Hawking Falconry Experience.
FA: What’s your favourite walk and are you a dog friendly place to stay?
There are countless walks but we would say our favourite is the walk directly from the house up the wooded Teign valley on to the moor up to Kestor Rock. On a clear day from Kestor you can see across Devon in each direction for miles and the wildlife is wonderful. We regularly hear cuckoos in Spring up there.
We are a dog-friendly house (we do prefer to chat before stays about breed and age) and all our walks and our large garden that leads on to the woods at the rear of the house are perfect for dogs.
FA: Do you have a favourite pub or restaurant nearby?
We love the Gidleigh Park Hotel for a special occasion, and being so close we can drink as much as we want without worrying about transport home.
We have a number of great local pubs with good food and beer. Our favourite pubs include The Ring of Bells in North Bovey, The Horse in Mortonhamstead for it’s great pizzas, The Cleave in Lustleigh and The Rugglestone Inn at Widecombe in the Moor. Other favourites slightly further afield include the Nobody Inn in Doddiscomleigh and the two South Devon coastal pubs The Ship Inn at Noss Mayo and The Pilchard Inn at Bigbury on Sea. The best cream tea in our opinion can be found at Hotel Endsleigh at Milton Abbot and our favourite outdoor eating experience has to be the floating establishment The River Exe Café at Exmouth.
FA: If you’re looking for a bit of culture, where do you head to?
There is a Picture House cinema, the Northcott Theatre and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, a 40 minute drive, so we don’t feel as though we are in the middle of nowhere.
We’re not too far from Totnes and Dartington, which has links to the creative industries. Ashburton has great antique shops and of course we have numerous National Trust properties and gardens to visit, including Lutyens’ Castle Drogo – an interesting building at the head of the stunning Teign Gorge and the last castle to be constructed in England.
FA: What’s the best thing about running your business?
Working in the film industry can be fun but we have concentrated on renting One Gidleigh Park over the last couple of years and have really enjoyed running our own business and being our own boss. We love meeting our guests when we can and making them feel welcome. We like to think we go the extra mile on everything, including welcome packs, guides, etc, but we realise that you’re only as good as your last booking, so we challenge ourselves to be the best we can and that’s been incredibly rewarding.