Fatima Truscott Little Devon Barn

THE LITTLE DEVON BARN

By now, you’ve gathered that I’m a big fan of the West Country. Whether it’s a luxury stay at the Scarlet hotel or hanging out with the Cornish family in Falmouth, we’re regular visitors. Proper job!

Admittedly, it’s a long drive from Surrey (the last trip took nearly 8 hours!) and while Mr Husband and I always talk about stopping en route to break the journey up, we never actually have. Apart from this one time when I suggested we stop at Longleat Safari Park. BIG mistake. HUGE! The monkeys ANNIHILATED Mr Husband’s beloved car. Terrible decision, not to mention a rather costly stop over.

So, when a friend-of-a-friend got in touch (just before our usual half term jaunt down West) asking if we’d be interested in staying at their brand new holiday home, my first thought was, will it involve an angry mob of monkeys ripping off parking sensors and windscreen wipers? Needless to say, it didn’t, so we gladly accepted.

So off we headed to The Little Devon Barn…

But first – we missed the turning. Of course we did! Standard stuff, right? Especially when trying to navigate winding, country lanes whilst arguing over the merits of the sat nav Vs iphone maps Vs Google blah! However, once you do find it (it’s actually not that tricky, it’s probably just us!) you’ll totally feel like you’ve stumbled upon a little bit of magic. A secret place, a hobbit-like hideaway; if I were a hedgehog (did I really just type that?) I’d totally want to hibernate HERE!

WHERE?

Located in a small village called Littleham just on the outskirts of Bideford, North Devon, this 17th century Georgian cottage totally struck a style chord from the moment I walked in. (The WhatsApp chat between myself and the owner within the first hour was basically 179 OMGs, WOWs and loads of worshipping-hand-palm-emojis)

It’s a truly gorgeous space and the attention to detail, from the hanging frames to the hammered metal coffee table from Habitat is stunning. Plus you’ve got all that idyllic quaint charm of a barn accommodation to soak up. With it’s heavy latch-locked doors, log fire and crisp white walls, it’s very beautiful. End of. And then there’s the countryside which surrounds you. It bounces all around thanks to excellent placed mirrors, large sash windows and the genius layout of the glass panelled sun room. With french doors opening out onto the shared garden access and summerhouse, you really do have to be a right moody arse not to appreciate this!

We arrived just as the autumn sun was setting so the rooms were lit up with the most magical, golden light. It ignited the leaves on the trees and as they danced around us in a stunning fiery glow, I sent my 180th Wow! + praise hands WhatsApp to the owners.

Being right up close to nature is one of life’s most simple pleasures, innit?

It’s funny how the older you get, the more you tend to appreciate these things – along with reading the local paper and watching Country File (just me?)

I certainly didn’t notice or value the seasons this much compared to when I was younger. Back then, it always felt like summer – except when it snowed. Maybe it is an ‘age’ thing and needless to say, the kids are happy because the cottage comes with WiFi and Sky TV and with two screens, one in the main room and another out in the sun room, the risk of remote control rows are low.

Good – because I’m really not in the mood to hit any DEFCON levels during this monkey-free, mini break!

I’ve brought a book. We are here to r.e.l.a.x. and that’s exactly what happened…

SET UP

The main bedroom is up on a mezzanine area. Here you’ll find a hand-made, wood bed with a Tempur Cloud memory foam mattress and pillows. Comfy doesn’t even come close! Even the low ceilings don’t put me off (although you do need to bend down a bit when on the mezzanine floor and admittedly the little one did have a few little bumps.) For me, there’s something quite cosy about being snug and having things on a smaller scale that lends itself to this type of accommodation. Clever storage cupboards have been built in to put away all your personal belongings, there’s a hairdryer and iron and board too, so before you know it, the place starts to feel pretty homely. With everything unpacked and out of sight, The Little Devon Barn soon becomes the perfect location to hunker down in, especially during this time of year.

SPACE

We stayed as a family of four and found it totally comfortable – as long as you don’t mind bunking the kids down on the sofa bed which we actually found great for a cosy movie night. During the day you’ve got woodlands to discover in your wellies and you’re a fifteen minute drive to Westward Ho beach (can anyone say that without chanting H0-oo-OO!? Just me? Again!)

And it’s not just for families, the barn can accommodate two sets of adults but Mr Husband and I reckon the ideal would be to book as a couple to indulge in romantic country walks, followed by a hearty pub lunch then back to the barn for wine or hot chocolate in front of the fire (not a euphemism!) Surely that has to be a little slice of happy heaven for anyone craving a city-detox or wanting some well deserved down time.

You won’t be disappointed, is what I’m saying. This place has been designed with not just a creative persons’ vision (the owner is a designer, hence the incredible attention to detail) but without sounding corny, happy people make happy homes and with The Little Devon Barn, that’s exactly what you’ll find. And definitely no monkeys.

Feel free to ask me anything about our stay and if I can’t help, I’m sure the guys at The Little Devon Barn will be more than happy to assist and you can check for availability here.

F.T.

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