Big Sky Retreat – Devon
- Cabin for 2
Inspired by legendary American yurt builder Bill Coperthwaite, and his iconic 70s book, A Simpler Life, owners Alison and Scott set about building Big Sky Retreat to his wooden yurt plans. Scott and Alison’s passion for sustainability can be seen in everything they do and the yurt is entirely constructed from recycled and natural materials.
Situated between Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, the yurt has spectacular 180 degree views across undulating countryside, and sits next to a pond. Splash about amongst the lilypads in the little tub boat and say ‘hello’ to Big Red (the resident koi carp). In summer the swing makes an appearance too.
The wooden furniture, including the Swedish style enclosed king-sized bed, was all handmade by Scott. The homely interior is filled with colourful cushions and thick rugs and though owners Scott and Alison try to live ‘the good life’ as far as possible, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are some modern touches from the hot shower to the gas hobs.
Hookhill Plantation offers plenty of scope for exploring. Wander the extensive ornamental grass gardens (featured on Gardeners World!), explore the ancient woodland – complete with bluebells in season – or have a picnic by one of the large landscaped ponds.
We're sorry, Big Sky isn't suitable for children or pets, which cannot be accommodated
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Special Offer: Local drinks hamper! - A selection of local beers & cider whenever you book a stay in May. Try Exmoor Gold, Exmoor Beast and Ciders from the Sandford Orchards.
Valid from 30/04/2013 till 31/05/2013
Price discounts have been automatically applied unless otherwise stated
Everything you need to know about Big Sky Retreat
The important stuff
- Check in time is between 4pm-6pm. Please call Alison & Scott in advance if you think you may be arriving outside of these times as Big Sky isn't suitable for arrivals after dark. The remote quarry situation and lack of electricity combine to make it a far more attractive arrival during daylight hours!
- Check out time is 10.30am
- Big Sky Retreat is not suitable for children
- The yurt is heated by a woodburning stove
- Big Sky Retreat is quite isolated and there is little within walking distance. While this does mean that you’ll have some peace and quiet, we advise you to stock up on provisions and bring a good supply of books
- Muddy shoes and boots live in the porch, please don’t tread mud all over the place!
Kids & PetsWe're sorry, Big Sky isn't suitable for children or pets, which cannot be accommodated
- LPG 2 ring gas cooker plus woodburning oven and stove
- Coolbox - ice blocks changed daily
- Outdoor table and chairs with fire pit
- Crockery, glassware and cutlery all provided
- Please bring eco-friendly washing products
Heating, lighting & bedding
- Solar and wind-up lights are provided
- You might also need firelighters to give you a helping hand with the stove
Hookhill Plantation, Woolfardisworthy East, Crediton, Devon EX17 4RX
BEWARE SATNAV - it will lead you down a very long and rough track and takes you to the house, rather than the yurt, which is about a mile away! So please make sure you use the directions below once you are in Woolfardisworthy.
**It is not advisable to arrive at Big Sky in the dark.**
Take the train to Exeter St David's (35 minutes away by taxi). From here, the easiest way to get to Big Sky is to hop on a train to Crediton, the nearest station, a 15-minute taxi ride away - fare around £13. Trains to Crediton are not frequent so please check before you travel. Tiverton Parkway station is also close by, about 45 minutes by taxi, but this route can be expensive - up to £80 return(!). For taxis, try Arrow Cars on 07764 302301 (not Sundays), or Express Cars on 01363 777177.
By car - beware satnav, see above
From M5 Junction 27
Take the A361 to Tiverton. Do not take the first turning signposted Tiverton but continue to Knightshayes roundabout. Take the left turn to Tiverton. Go over the mini roundabout. At the second roundabout take a right turn past Morrisons. At the mini roundabout turn right (signposted Witheridge – B3221). Take the left hand turn signposted Long Drag Hill –B3127. Follow the road through Withliegh – through Beech wood. Take a left hand turn signposted Puddington and Black Dog. Follow the road through Puddington village taking the sharp right. Continue until you reach a chapel on right. At the crossroads take left turn (signposted Woolfardisworthy). Follow a windy narrow road to all the way to a T-junction. Take right (Woolfardisworthy Cross). Then follow the road up the hill, past a farm on your left, then past Gratton House, 200 yards past this is a sharp right bend corner (best to beep before you enter). Hookhill Quarry is in the middle of the bend on the left hand side. Pull in off the road to open the gate if closed... if not come in and park up! Big Sky Retreat is a short walk following the grass tracks & then path around the open quarry.
Take the A377 to Crediton. At Crediton go past a Shell garage on the left and follow the road until the first turning where you are allowed to take a right. Follow the signs to Sandford. Turn left at the T-junction. Take the first left. At the roundabout take a right towards Sandford. Go through Sandford to Kennerliegh. Go past the village shop on your left – continue up the hill and along the road. Take the second turning right (signposted Woolfard’y) and follow the narrow single track road for about a ½ mile until you go up a slight hill and a sharp bend. Hookhill Quarry is on your right-hand side and is the first lay-by to pull off completely from the road. Park up inside the gate. Looking south Big Sky Retreat is a short walk following the track and then path to your left.
From North Devon
With the Black Dog Inn on your left drive to the crossroads.Take the Crediton/Sandford Road. Go about ½ mile and take the first turning left (signposted Woolfard’y). Follow the narrow single track road (for about a ½ mile) until you go up a slight hill and a sharp bend. Hookhill Quarry is on your right-hand side and is the first lay-by to pull off completely from the road. Park up inside the gate. Looking South, Big Sky Retreat is a short walk following the track and then path to your left.
Eating & drinking
Eating and drinking at Big Sky Retreat
The basics - fresh bread and milk - can be provided on request.
There's usually plenty of home-grown seasonal vegetables, straight from the large kitchen garden which can be purchased, as well as fresh eggs from the Hookhill hens. You can also order locally farmed sausages, bacon and ruby red beef, local beers, ciders, apple juice and cheeses (make sure you try the award winning goat’s cheese).
If you'd like to have a hot meal waiting for you on the stove when you get back from a long walk, Alison can cook you up a large casserole, chilli, seasonal soup or curry.
Pubs and restaurants
The Lamb Inn, Sandford (5 miles) - A Sixteenth Century former coach house with open fires, low ceilings, comfy sofas, real aleand very good, affordable food.
Things to do
Outdoors & Active
The local area is filled with great ways to get out and about and experience the beautiful Devon countryside:
Beaches & watersports
Head to North Devon Surf School at Saunton Sands Beach near Bideford for some expert surfing instruction.
Surfing Lessons are also available from Walking on Waves, also based in North Devon near Barnstaple.
All you need is a good pair of boots... walk the Two Moors Way , explore Dartmoor or spend an amazing four hour tour of Exmoor with Jonny Kingdom.
Indoors & Active!
Rain's no excuse - you can still try your hand at indoor climbing at Quay Climbing Centre
Places to visit
National Trust properties nearby:
Castle Drogo - 'the last castle to be built in England,' overlooking Dartmoor
Knightshayes - Victorian gothic mansion with beautifully restored Walled Garden
Festivals & events
Markets and food festivals
Dartmouth Food Festival - With cooking demonstrations from Michelin starred chefs and wine tastings in the market square, Dartmouth Food Festival is only a short drive from Big Sky Retreat and is fast becoming a staple of the foodie’s calendar. Held in October.
Local farmers' markets - http://www.local-farmers-markets.co.uk/devon.html
Crediton Farmers Market - The market takes place on the first Saturday in every month from 10am to 1pm. With 35 stalls this is the largest farmers market in Devon, and has been voted the Best Farmers Market in Devon for two years running in the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards.
Exeter - Thursday every week - 9am- 2pm
Okehampton - 3rd Saturday of every month - 9am - 1pm
Tiverton - 3rd Wednesday of every month
Meet your hosts
Alison & Scott purchased their property in 1990 after having travelled and worked all over the world. Looking for somewhere to live The Good Life - inspired by American "back to the land" pioneers rather than Felicity Kendall - they toured in a caravan for thirteen years before pitching up in Devon and setting about building a house.
Everything at Hookhill Plantation reflect Scott and Alison's passion for sustainability. They were off grid for 5 years, and now
they're connected they barely use electricity. The neighboring Swanney Copse, which is on a rotation coppice programme, supplies the house with wood and garden with beanpoles. Energy efficient, sustainable and rooted in the environment, the plantation uses alternative technologies and recycled materials wherever possible.
The grass gardens attract a huge range of insects and birds, including kingfishers, ducks and geese. Buzzards, sparrow hawks andd peregrines are also frequent visitors to Hookhill Plantation. If you're really lucky you may glimpse the ghostly specter of a barn owl flying past. Deer and foxes are often seen in the woods and in dry summer spells badgers can be seen at dusk digging for worms in the fields. In springtime, bluebells carpet the woodland floor. Make sure you take a basket with you, as in season, the trees and bushes are positively dripping with blackberries, sloes, greengages & elderberries.