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Villages & Resorts in Devon in general

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      20.12.2011 15:51

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      A charity let down by poor staff attitude at Hayloft Restaurant, staff retraining needed.

      When I walk round the farms at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary the first impression is of a generally well run charity that cares for donkeys both in this country and overseas.

      However from my own experiences the Hayloft Restaurant really lets the Donkey Sanctuary down. I used to visit the restaurant on a daily basis but as low season progressed with less customers Hayloft staff seemed to want to leave early. I was told off by the Hayloft chef for ordering food five minutes before the food cut off point . During visits in November many of the Hayloft restaurant lights were deliberately turned off by staff half an hour before closure, this made it uncomfortable for customers who left early. On my last November visit I was met with a closed sign on the main door, the sign was turned to closed over an hour before the Hayloft restaurant was supposed to be shut, and all but one of the restaurant staff had gone off home.

      I raised my concerns with the Donkey Sanctuary Chief Executive as I could not be sure when I should travel as the restaurant was keeping erratic hours. As a local Sidmouth resident, I liked to support the sanctuary and by visiting its restaurant on a daily basis. The Chief Executives' reply to me was simple, that he didn't accept my disparaging remarks, he didn't seem to want to understand the fact that I was a local daily visitor merely recounting my own experiences.

      Perhaps the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary should do more to address concerns from its own supporters and accept when things go wrong and when necessary retrain its staff.

      The Donkey Sanctuary must always remember that it relies on the loyalty of its supporters.

      Visited November 2011

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      20.12.2011 04:27

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      A charity let down by poor staff attitude at it's Hayloft Restaurant, staff retraining needed.

      When I walk round the farms at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary the first impression is of a generally well run charity that cares for donkeys both in this country and overseas.

      However from my own experiences the Hayloft Restaurant really lets the Donkey Sanctuary down. I used to visit the restaurant on a daily basis but as low season progressed with less customers Hayloft staff seemed to want to leave early. I was told off by the Hayloft chef for ordering food five minutes before the food cut off point . During visits in November many of the Hayloft restaurant lights were deliberately turned off by staff half an hour before closure, this made it uncomfortable for customers who left early. On my last November visit I was met with a closed sign on the main door, the sign was turned to closed over an hour before the Hayloft restaurant was supposed to be shut, and all but one of the restaurant staff had gone off home.

      I raised my concerns with the Donkey Sanctuary Chief Executive as I could not be sure when I should travel as the restaurant was keeping erratic hours. As a local Sidmouth resident, I liked to support the sanctuary and by visiting its restaurant on a daily basis. The Chief Executives' reply to me was simple, that he didn't accept my disparaging remarks, he didn't seem to want to understand the fact that I was a local daily visitor merely recounting my own experiences.

      Perhaps the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary should do more to address concerns from its own supporters and accept when things go wrong and when necessary retrain its staff.

      The Donkey Sanctuary must always remember that it relies on the loyalty of its supporters.

      Visited November 2011

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      17.05.2005 19:28
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      Cockington village is a hidden gem of Torquay. It’s one of those old time villages, which has stopped in time. There’s a bus to the village from Torquay which runs daily, also there’s a car park here as well. Narrow windy lanes add to the peaceful atmosphere, there’s also a horse drawn carriage ride for £8 as well. Walk through the gardens and past the cricket ground to a country manor where the carriages all park, you can sit outside and watch the world go by. Inside the house is a elaborate staircase, upstairs there are several craft rooms ranging from pottery to scents and fragrances.

      Nearbye is a 1930's pub and resturant with varied menu. It has two fireplaces, a brass huntsmans horn and outside tables. There's many walks for dog lovers, and there's the world famouse forge. Well worth a visit.

      StagecoachBuses:(01803) 664500

      Dial-a-bus:(01803)211467

      http://www.holidaytorbay.co.uk/htcockington.html





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        22.01.2003 15:28
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        We recently had a 3-night stay in Sidmouth, a lovely old Regency town on the South Devon coast. During our stay we visited the famous Donkey Sanctuary, just about 3 miles outside town to the east. It was as I'd remembered it but they'd expanded it since I last went. They have approx. 500 donkeys there, though it seemed less when we visited. The dear donkeys were in their large stable and some enjoying winter sun in the yard, others in barns set in the surrounding fields. They honk with pleasure when humans come near, maybe expecting food! They donkeys have a home for life at the sanctuary, they have been rescued from cruelty, or rehomed when owners can no longer look after them. All donkeys are neutered on arrival as the sanctuary does not breed. There is a cafe selling delicious fresh sandwiches and soup and home-made cakes. Alas it was shut on Monday but had been open the day before when we visited (we went both days). You can't ask them to open every day in a cold January I suppose! There is also an information centre with donkey-oriented gifts to buy such as cards, books, a video, Post It notes, pens, keyrings, etc. and a nice furry bag which I treated myself to. Lots of walks around the surrounding peaceful area, marked out on maps for you to follow, around the donkey fields. There is one very long one down a valley to the sea, not for the faint-hearted, but better to try in dry warmer weather I think, which we will do. I intend to go back in the summer. Admission is free, it's open 365 days of the year (and how many places can you say that of?!) You can donate of course, and also adopt a donkey for £12 a year, there are two other sanctuaries, in Birmingham and Leeds, but these are not routinely open to the public though adopters can visit 'their' donkey there. All in all, a lovely visit to a peaceful and worthwhile attraction, though that word is hardly worthy of the good work that goes o
        n there.

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          28.08.2002 06:27
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          North Devon offers many attractions. The market town of Barnstaple, the blue flag resort of Woolacombe, the caravan sites of Croyde and the old world of Clovelly. But for me, one location beats the lot. If you negotiate your way through Barnstaple's dreadful traffic and head west for Britain's largest Parish, the village of Braunton, you'll spot a white road sign for Saunton. A quarter of a mile past Saunton Golf club, you get a magnificent view of dunes, golden sands stretching for miles and Atlantic surf rolling in over Barnstaple & Bideford Bay. Take a left down the narrow beach road, hand over £4 (peak season) to a bronzed Aussie in a hut and you can park your car yards from the sand! So, what's so good about the place? Well, firstly it's away from the crowds. While a tremendously hot day in August will fill the car park, the beach stretches for miles, so you can always find a spot for yourselves, either on the beach or a few yards back in the dunes. Families can play cricket on the damp sand within the tidal range, kids can play in the rock pools and Mum and Dad can just lie there and soak it all up. Surfers can enjoy waves that are on a par to Newquay. And a basic beach shop can sell those essentials of the beach - a bucket and spade and their more modern counterparts, sand carrying trucks! Oh, and it's a great place to fly a kite! If you forget the picnic, you can buy sandwiches, ice creams and drinks (no alcohol though) although the prices are a little on the steep side! You can also hire deck chairs and wind breaks (essential on a breezy day), although for the price of 2 days hire you can actually buy your own in the shop! If you want to get away from the beach, there are miles of dunes to explore - known as Braunton Burrows, an environmentally protected area of significance (and an internationally recognised Biosphere) - perhaps the best example of sand
          dunes in Britain. At low tide, the rock pools are brilliant, containing fascinating sealife, forming wonderful little waterfalls and revealing tiny cowrie shells too. Although the beach itself doesn't have the EU blue flag, it appears to be clean with numerous bins at the high tide mark to reduce our chance to litter the place. The toilet facilities are fairly basic portaloos, but they are clean and serve the purpose. Surfing equipment can also be hired most days and if you have mastered the art, you will know there is no greater rush in life than balancing on top of a wave! For bathers, there is a strong tidal pull, but life guards patrol during the day in summer and bathing between the flags is safe. Although inflatable boats can be purchased from the beach shop, an adverse breeze will blow them out to see - DO NOT USE THEM! For a great day out while holidaying in the West Country, British weather permitting, this is fabulous. You have to make your own fun, but the place inspires you to do just that. Alternatively, if you want to sample the place a bit longer, the filthy rich can enjoy a stay at the 4* Saunton Sands Hotel (this is a truly luxurious place with an unbeleivably stunning view from the cliff top) - it isn't cheap, but if you like a bit of pampering, go for it! It's part of the Brend Hotels chain and there is a webcam at www.sauntonsands.co.uk showing the view - as ever with webcams, they don't do the place justice, but it is worth a look when you log off "dooyoo"! Or, you can rent a Beach Villa for around £600 a week peak season (3 twin beds) - the accomodation is basic, but comfortable. No washing machines though! Book before the end of January! Oh, and in the late seventies several unexploded World War II mines were discovered here! They have, I am reliably informed, all been shifted - soon after discovery! So, as long as you can stretch to £4 fo
          r parking and making your own fun, this is the place for you on a sunny day while holidaying in Devon! I love this place.

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            21.01.2002 00:52
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            I have lived in Exmouth for 8 years and think it is a wonderful place. Most people don't know enough about it so I thought I might change that. Exmouth lies just 15 miles due south of Exeter right on the coast. The entrance to the river Exe estuary is at Exmouth. Sidmouth is 10 miles due east alomg the coast and Torquay is 25 miles the other way. Exmouth is a large town (the largest town in Devon) with over 35000 inhabitants. There is an even mix of young and old although most of the elderly choose to live nearby in Sidmouth or Budleigh Salterton. It is spread over an area of about 10 square miles, with the town at sea level and the housing predominantly up the hills on two sides. The other two sides are surrounded by water - one side by the Exe estuary and the other by the sea. The main attraction about Exmouth is the lovely white beach that spans most of the length of the town - over three miles. This can be crowded at peak times but usually it is perfect. The only other problem is that the Exe estuary is one of the most tidal places in the country so swimming is not safe at all times. We do, however, get the benefit of good weather during the summer being so close to the sea. THE TOWN: Exmouth town has all the usual amenities -quite a number of shops including WHSmiths, Woolworths, Boots and Superdrug. There is a lovely strand where the war memorial lies. There is a cinema and a library and 2 public fitness centers - with an array of squash courts and swimming pools - as well as an indoor tennis centre and a two sailing clubs. Exmouth has successful rugby, cricket and football teams as well as a smart bowls club and tennis club. The cricket pitch lies right by the sea on the 'Maer' and it is lovely to go and watch a few overs in the summer. Exmouth is a town of great tradition and is renowned locally for its Christmas Day swim. The turn out is usually around the thousand mark and we
            all line up on the beach and when the clock strikes 11 we charge! About three seconds later we all charge back out again but it's all in the name of fun! Exmouth has its own train station and is 30 minutes from Exeter both by car and rail. THE NIGHTLIFE: I would say that Exmouth definitely has the best nightlife in Devon with the exception of Exeter and maybe Plymouth. On New Year's Eve, people flock in their thousands to the sea front to join in the celebrations. There are about 10 pubs in the town - the best being The Powder Monkey, a new Weatherspoon's. There are also a few on the seafront, the best being the Deer Leap. There are 2 nightclubs, both of which are fairly uninteresting (although Samantha's on a Saturday night is quite lively). On the whole it is a very happening place for youngsters and older people. THE HOTELS Exmouth has a number of hotels and guesthouses. The best without a shadow of doubt is the 3 star Imperial Hotel and the next best is the Devoncourt, both of which are a stone's throw from the sea. The Imperial is also the biggest and has its own swimming pool and tennis courts. If you want something a bit more special in that part of Devon, I would strongly recommend the Victoria in Sidmouth - a four star hotel and one of the best in the whole of Devon renowned for its fine food. THE SEAFRONT The seafront is the heart and soul of Exmouth so I will take some time describing it. You start at the end nearest to Exeter and the estuary. There is the docks which used to be grotty but now are surrounded by quite a trendy housing development. There is talk of a new marina but this has been debated over for over 5 years. There is a nice private sailing club - the appropriately named Exe sailing club. If you want to do some sailing whilst on a holiday in Exmouth, I would recommend going to Spinnaker's run by a local girl, Steph Rowsell and her husband Eric. This is a
            great sailing club - very safe and very experienced whilst being fun at the same time. Also at the docks is the Dive Centre where Scuba diving regularly takes place throughout the summer. Geoff and Ginny have their own 30-foot Rib ('Rebel') and in my experience are also very good. There is also a water taxi service to take you over to the other side of the estuary and a slipway to launch motorboats etc. Walking along the seafront, you come to a Stuart Line Cruises kiosk, which does various excursions from a simple 'trip round the bay' to mackerel fishing and night cruises. It is well worth doing. There is a nice ice-cream parlour, the Octagon, nearby and also the Exmouth Pavilion, which is like an old concert hall and has regular entertainment as well as a nice enough bar. Next to this is Pete Manfield's watersports centre which organizes anything from windsurfing lessons to powerboating. I have always found them very pleasant and easy to deal with. For a cheap but delicious meal, I would always go for the Harbour View, a very friendly café next door to the watersports centre. There is the onshore lifeboat station just across the road which is well worth a look in. From here you walk past a series of amusement rides/parks: A boating lake, minigolf, a model railway museum and an arcade. They are all fairly crowded in summer but there is always a very pleasant atmosphere. Further down the beach is the rock pools, a favourite with the children at low tide. I once caught 126 crabs in just under an hour there - quite impressive I must say! (They really like smoked bacon - try it) That's pretty much it for Exmouth. It really is a lovely town and well worth a visit in the summer time. Feel free to come along.

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              27.08.2001 18:14
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              As you probably know we have just returned from a lovely week’s holiday in Devon. We stayed on a farm just outside Sidmouth and it was so good I just had to write an opinion on it! It is called Pinn Barton Farm and I found it by using www.smoothhound.co.uk which I must get round to writing about, as it is a seriously good aid to finding good holiday accommodation. Pinn Barton is situated on Peak Hill, approximately two miles from the seafront at Sidmouth, which itself is on the south coast of Devon just east of Exmouth and west of Lyme Regis. The farm is only 12 miles from Junction 30 of the M5 and 11 miles from the A30 and A35, so it’s quite easy to get to. The current cost – as at August 2001 – is £22 per person, per night for bed and breakfast. If you stay for a minimum of 5 nights the price reduces to £20 per person, per night. Children under 5 years old are charged at half the adult rate and children over 5 years old are charged at two thirds of the adult rate, providing they are sharing a room with two adults. A deposit of the cost of one night’s accommodation is needed to secure a booking, with the balance being payable on departure. The English Tourism Council has awarded it four diamonds in recognition of its excellent facilities. We arrived at about 6.30pm on the Saturday and Mrs Sage, the proprietress, was there to greet us. After showing us to our room she made us a pot of tea and served it complete with a plate of biscuits in the large comfortable guests’ lounge. That was just what we needed after a long, tedious journey! By the way I use the term tedious to refer to the traffic not the company on the journey! Our room was large with a double bed, two bedside cabinets, two small tables, two easy chairs, a large mirrored wardrobe, with an abundance of coathangers, and a dressing table. There was plenty of drawer and hanging space. The bed had a
              sheet and continental quilt plus numerous pillows, but there was a lot more bed linen in the top of the wardrobe if we had needed it. There was also a small electric heater, but we didn’t need to use that, thankfully! There was a clock radio, always worth checking that the last guest hadn’t set it for some ungodly hour though, and also a hairdryer. The TV was on one of those special shelf things and was remote control. We used to switch it on each morning whilst drinking our cuppa to check the weather!! The tea tray comprised of a kettle, teapot, milk jug, china mugs, saucers, plates, two wineglasses and a tea towel. There were containers of tea bags and sugar, together with jars of coffee, ordinary and decaffeinated, hot chocolate and Horlicks and a full tin of biscuits! On the landing, just outside our bedroom door as it happened, was the fridge for use by the guests. There was always fresh milk here for us to have in our morning cup of tea, and we were encouraged to use it for any other items needing to be kept cool. There were also an iron and ironing board for the use of the guests. The en suite bathroom was large and contained a bath with a shower over it, toilet, washbasin, heated towel rail, chair and little table. There was a bottle of bubble bath and one of shampoo, together with plenty of soap, spare toilet rolls and a supply of those little tie handle bags that us ladies use to dispose of our ‘personal’ items. There were also plenty of towels. You may think from this description that everything was pretty much taken care of, but it gets better! Out on the landing there was a chest of drawers, and on top were sundry items, to which Mrs Sage told us to help ourselves if there was anything we had forgotten to pack. These included toothpaste, disposable razors, hairspray, plasters, painkillers, indigestion tablets, a mending kit, a corkscrew, an alarm clock, and many more things th
              at I can’t remember! We thought that this was an excellent idea. When we arrived we were shown where the dining room was and which table to sit at for breakfast, which was served between 8.30 and 9am. We were also told that evening drinks would be served in the lounge each night at 10pm, but we didn’t bother with that – we weren’t even home by then! The breakfast consisted of tea or coffee, fruit juice, grapefruit, a choice of numerous cereals followed by a breakfast cooked to order having any or all of the following: Eggs – boiled, scrambled, poached or fried Bacon Sausage Fried Bread Mushrooms Tomatoes Baked Beans There was a toaster on every table together with a supply of white and brown bread, so you just made your own toast as and when you wanted it. The farm itself is a working farm of about 330 acres and while we were there we saw sheep being moved from one field to another and a small herd of cows and calves. They have two goats, which live in a pen near to the farm and at least two horses, but I don’t know what other animals they have. They had not been directly affected by foot and mouth disease but had obviously felt the ‘knock on’ effects in the lack of sales of animals and lack of tourists. The first night that we were there, I found it difficult to sleep, because it was so quiet! We live on a main road at home so the near silence of the countryside took a bit of getting used to. We dozed off at night listening to an owl hooting and woke to the sound of the horses neighing. It was lovely. We also had a nest of house martins in the eaves outside our bedroom window and we could see the parent birds flying backwards and forwards feeding the young, who in turn made quite a noise when food arrived! I’ll close by saying that I would recommend this place to anyone staying in the Sidmouth area and I’ll leave you with the full
              details: Mrs B Sage, Pinn Barton Farm, Peak Hill, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 0NN 01395 514004 betty.sage@faxvia.net <br>

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                20.04.2001 00:57
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                Ilfaracombe in North Devon is a great seaside resort for families and those who just want to take in the beauty of its scenery. The harbour is lovely and the promenade always has nice flowers on display, a nice walk when you feel like just wandering and relaxing. The beach is clean and the sand is nice and golden just what you want to see at the sea- side. There is an enclosed open pool on the main beach this is great for the kids and there is plenty of room to find a peaceful spot to set up your deck chair. You can visit the indoor pool overlooking the harbour but myself I prefer the beach but I suppose it is handy if the weather is not too good at least the kids still get to swim. Crazy Golf and pitch and putt are good for entertainment, or if you are a serious golfer you can visit the eighteen- hole golf course. There are plenty of fishing trips available from the harbour and well worth the prices charged. It is a good afternoon or day out I can highly recommend it. There is so much entertainment for the evenings from the local pubs to various restaurants, a good cinema, Bingo, discos and nightclubs. The Landmark Theatre is a popular place; you can go to see a show or just visit for the fine food at the Rendevous Café Bar. Tel: 01271 324242 There are some breathtaking scenes from the cliffs of Ilfracombe and the walks are out of this world. Some of the walks mind you are quite steep so wear a good pair of boots. You can go on the water-powered cliff-railway it runs from Lynmouth to Lynton and you will get to see the valley of rocks that run parallel with the sea it is a truly magnificent sight so if you do get the chance take it. Woolacombe is a short bus ride from Ilfracombe and the beaches here go on for miles great for sunbathing in a peaceful setting. Baricane Beach is full of seashells I spent an entire afternoon here collecting some really lovely shells to take
                home. Lundy Island is a good place to visit you can get a boat trip across from Ilfracombe harbour. It has a lighthouse and castle and the whole island is totally unspoilt. The wild life is plentiful especially birds, but you will see deer, seals, ponies, rabbits and if you are very lucky basking sharks and dolphins. You can get accommodation on the island from a mansion house to a converted pigsty believe it or not and of course there is a very good campsite. A good site to visit is www.lundyisland.co.uk To find the right accommodation it is possible to get prices of hotels, bed and breakfast, and camping sites from the Tourist Information Centre at Ilfracombe. Tel: 0845 458 3630 or you can email them at ifracombetic@visit.org.uk They have an office in the Landmark Theatre on the sea front and will help with anything from booking sea trips to foreign exchange while you are there. . If you are travelling by car leave the M5 at junction 27 and travel on the A361 all the way to Ilfracombe. By train you travel to Barnstaple and then catch a connecting coach through to Ilfracombe it is wise to book your coach seat when you buy your rail ticket, especially in high season. A great place for a family holiday with plenty of entertainment and easy to get to.

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