"Deep in Tarka the Otter country where the river glides beneath the trees and time stands still..."
Orford Mill lies alongside the River Torridge in a beautiful wooded valley, nestled below the historic town of Torrington. With its air of peace and tranquillity, abundant wildflowers and river life, it became the setting for Henry Williamson’s magical story of Tarka the Otter. Indeed, the mill wheel in which Tarka hid from the hound Deadlock was at Orford Mill. This superb location makes a wonderful holiday base, especially for families, with sandy beaches on the North Devon coast only 10 miles away.
The complex consists of a Grade II listed water mill and manor house, now converted into nine delightful cottages, all equipped to Visit Britain ‘4 Star’ standard. Most overlook the charming ornamental courtyard with its ponds and flowerbeds. Riverside is detached and overlooks the river. All cottages retain character features such as exposed beams and stonework, and each is furnished in an individual style to a very high standard. Guests can enjoy an indoor heated swimming pool, with lovely river views, as well as a spa room and all-weather tennis court, games room and fenced outdoor children’s play area. There is an on-site cafe with wi-fi (open 9am-9pm). In addition, fishing rights are available on 200 yards of river (bring own licence, or avail locally at cost). All the waterways are safely fenced.
The countryside around Orford Mill is dotted with sleepy villages nestled among the hills, while extensive woodlands, traversed by many footpaths, offer the chance to experience the area’s natural beauty at close quarters. Adjacent to the grounds are the renowned RHS gardens at Rosemoor, and other local attractions include Dartington Crystal, offering a factory tour and visitor centre. Great Torrington is only a mile away with good shopping and amenities, and there is golf at nearby Hartland. Orford Mill adjoins Torrington Common which extends to 365 acres, incorporating 20 miles of footpaths. The common is a haven for wildlife. The ‘Big Sheep’ and ‘Milky Way’ theme parks are each less than 10 miles away.
The River Torridge runs downstream to the ancient port of Bideford, still with a working quay offering boat trips out to Lundy Island. Just around the corner is the attractive little town of Appledore with its colourful houses and narrow streets. To either side lies Devon’s most spectacular stretch of coastal scenery – a chain of magnificent cliffs and rocky promontories, interspersed here and there by long flat sandy beaches, where the Atlantic breakers roll in to create ideal surfing conditions. There are splendid beaches at Instow and Westward Ho!, the latter bordered by the Royal North Devon Golf Club, and the Northam Nature Reserve. Further west is the supremely picturesque Clovelly, whose narrow, cobbled main street descends at a dizzying gradient to the little harbour below. To the south, the cathedral city of Exeter can be reached via a delightful drive through lush river valleys.
Orford Mill offers very attractive accommodation set in 3 acres of beautiful gardens with streams, waterfalls and the water wheel which is still operational. Excellent as a touring base, it makes a good choice for a holiday whatever the weather. Shop ½ mile.
A two-storey cottage with views of the mill wheel and leat. Large beamed living room with electric ‘wood burner’. Well-equipped, modern fitted kitchen/dining room with beams. First floor: Two beamed bedrooms; one double with en-suite bathroom with whirlpool bath, over-bath shower and toilet, one single with TV and en-suite bathroom with over-bath shower and toilet. Bunk bedroom.