Louis Way, Dunkeswell, Honiton, Devon, EX14 4XW
Nestled in its own tranquil private estate, and located within easy reach of the beautiful East Devon coast, Blossom Hill is the ideal place to begin your exploration of southwest England – and in particular the numerous Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that are just a short drive away.
Running along the border of Devon and Somerset, the Blackdown Hills has long been a favourite of holidaymakers looking to get away from it all for a while. There are no towns in this area, just charming little villages dotted around, many of them retaining a distinctive olde-worlde charm, with buildings made of cob and thatch, and small-scale farms. To the north, the Blackdown Hills present steep wooded slopes, while to the south you can look out over green valleys and a patchwork of fields. The walking trails here are too numerous to mention, but what they have in common is routes through the unspoilt natural landscape, with splendid views on all sides, and a sense that you’re really in the rural heart of England. (Distance from park: 7.7 miles)
Made up of a diverse variety of landscapes, from thickets of woodland to vast barren heaths, towering cliffs and idyllic river valleys, East Devon is truly among the finest holiday destinations in the country. Encompassing a broad swathe of coast, with many picturesque beaches and coves, as well as several charming towns, there are a wealth of things to see and do in this area, whether you’re travelling as a family, a couple or a group. Walking and cycling are of course two of the most popular activities at any point in the year, allowing you to immerse yourself in the scenery fully, but there are also numerous fascinating museums and archaeological sites scattered around that bring to life the area’s rich heritage. Enjoy a delicious Devon ice cream on the sands, explore majestic Regency mansions, hunt for fossils along the Jurassic coast or take a pleasure boat ride out to sea – the choices are endless. (Distance from park: 15.6 miles)
Visiting South Devon is bound to put a smile on your face at any time of year. Just imagining the sheltered sandy coves that are ideal for sunbathing and letting the kids have a paddle, the ancient woodland of the South Hams peninsula inland, and charming fishing ports such as Dartmouth and Salcombe is enough to put you in a good mood. This is a very well-connected area, making it popular with everyone from sailors and day-trippers to serious hikers, families and groups. Yet even during peak season when it seems the world and his dog are flocking here to explore the area’s many great-value attractions, one can easily find a little peace and quiet. (Distance from park: 48.1 miles)
Walk over hilltops, clifftop paths or through wooded combes. Ride along some of England’s best mountain bike trails. Watch buzzards circle lazily in the sky above, or shy red deer peeking out from the long grass. The Quantock Hills has all the ingredients for a relaxing and reinvigorating holiday. A protected landscape with a unique and distinctive culture, the Quantock Hills are home to a dazzling array of wildlife, as well as many pretty little villages and memorable countryside walks. There are plenty of fun day trips on offer, not to mention regular events from farmers’ markets to organised beach combing. Take the kids hunting in rock pools, or searching for dragons in the forest, and give them the holiday of a lifetime. (Distance from park: 25.7 miles)