Important notice - The parkland and woodland are open for local visits. You will need to pre-book your car parking space, please visit the "what's on" section to book. (Last checked 25th Feb 2021)

Discover Knightshayes - a great post-war garden, 19th-century parkland and grand Gothic Revival architecture by Victorian visionary William Burges.

A rich and varied history

The house was built by Sir John Heathcoat Amory, the grandson of John Heathcoat, creator of the mechanised bobbin lace making machine and owner of a lace factory in Tiverton.

The foundation stone was laid in 1869, but it was not until 1873 that the elaborate interior designs were completed. William Burges, designer of Knightshayes, had a rocky relationship with the family and was fired half way through the project, leaving his imaginative vision incomplete.

Burges was replaced by another reputable designer, John Dibblee Crace, who turned out to be another ill-fated choice. Much of Crace's work was covered up by the family, but later restored by the Trust.  

Knightshayes Bolham, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 7RG

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Devon Gardens Trust The house built on a new site in 1822 by Thomas Lee, a Barnstaple architect, for Newton Fellowes. It was an early example in the county of an embattled Tudor style for a country house. It was dismantled in 1917. Now an eminently picturesque large ruin standing against the sky, surrounded by the woods of the Taw valley, like the best of follies. Revd John Swete visited in 1796 and wrote that ‘the landscape had nothing in it of the wild, or romantic, it was a sweetly-pleasing picture, touched by the soft, the minute, the elegant pencil of nature. Art did not seem to me to have used much of its interference in the embellishment of this little paradise.’ In 1806 Polwhele wrote that it was ‘built about the year 1718 of brick, much increased and improved by the present possessor who has also laid out the grounds about it with much elegance and taste under the direction of the late Mr Richmond; woods well interspersed, considerable plantations and the river Taw contributing much to enrich and beautify the scene.’

White (1850) noted that ‘Old Eggesford House was the seat of the Lords Chichester in the 17th century, and was rebuilt by W. Fellowes, Esq., in 1718, but was taken down about 26 years ago. The present seat of the Hon. Newton Fellowes is a neat mansion, standing in the adjoining parish of Wembworthy. ’ Stockdale described it as ‘lately taken down’. The sale particulars of 1913 particularly noted the walled kitchen gardens of three acres while that of 1914 noted the mile long drive and that the walks
were noted for the specimen trees. The Parkland survives. Within the former grounds are a nursery and garden. 

A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

An ancient woodland to explore, with added panorama of the North Devon landscape.

About the reserve

There's much to see both within and looking out from the reserve. Take a path under mature oaks, ashes and hazel coppice to discover glades of spring woodland flowers, while the level hilltop location, just a few miles south of Barnstaple, gives wide views of the surrounding countryside. 

Connecting the Culm Discover the River Culm... Flowing through 100 square miles of stunning Devon countryside to meet the River Exe

Discover this beautiful, but often overlooked, landscape

The River Culm flows through the Redlands of Mid and East Devon and is the longest tributary of the River Exe. It rises in the Blackdown Hills at a spring near RAF Culmhead in Somerset, and flows west through Hemyock, then Culmstock (in the Culm Valley) to Uffculme.

The river then turns south, through Cullompton (alongside the M5 motorway), skirting the northern boundary of Killerton Park to join the River Exe north-west of Exeter.

The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a tranquil and relatively isolated landscape, on the border of Devon and Somerset. The area is rich in wildlife and heritage. For many, it epitomises the English countryside, with hedgerows and copses, small farms with intricate field patterns, deep valleys and narrow, winding lanes.

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The CCA was set up in 1970 by a group of Cullompton residents in order to promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Cullompton by working with other interested local parties to advance education and to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare, recreation and leisure. The current site was recommended so that the water meadows would not be used for development and so reducing flooding. In addition, the cricket and bowling clubs already owned land in this part of town.

The thirty-two acre site previously belonged to two different farms and was bought at a cost of £11,500. Some of the money to pay for the fields came from dormant club and charity bank accounts with the permission of the Charity Commissioners.

The work to make the site suitable for public use began in 1971, with volunteers donating their time and skill to the work. Fund raising events were organised to help to pay for materials. One major part of the work was the draining of the land. During the construction of the M5 in return for John Vicary providing bulldozer training, some hard core and a bulldozer were provided which became the base for the car park and access road.

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The Grand Western Canal Country Park and Local Nature Reserve meanders for 11 and a quarter miles through beautiful countryside and quiet villages between the market town of Tiverton and the hamlet of Lowdwells (near the Somerset border).

The park features: Horse drawn barge trips, Cafés, Canal themed play park, Visitor centre, Boat hire, Marina moorings (non residential), Gift shop, Public toilets, Picnic sites, Car parks

The canal’s story covers over 200 years of fascinating heritage, with many of its original features and buildings still surviving. Many people know the park locally as the ‘Tiverton Canal’. However, the Canal is probably best known for the horse drawn barge, Tivertonian, run by the Tiverton Canal Co. that has been taking visitors for a leisurely cruise for more than 40 years.

Owned by Devon County Council and managed as both a Country Park and a Local Nature Reserve, the park is a haven for wildlife as it offers a range of habitats including woodland, hedgerows, open water and ponds.

A well surfaced towpath adjacent to the Canal, provides ample opportunities for walking, running and cycling. Rangers have installed lots of benches throughout the park, to provide ideal places for visitors to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Families visiting the park can learn about the Canal’s history in our interactive Visitor Centre or enjoy playing on the Canal themed Play Park at the Canal Basin. Alternatively, if you’re venturing further along the Canal, then why not enjoy a picnic at one of our many picnic sites or have fun at the Sampford Peverell Trim Trail.

Activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding are all popular on the canal. The park also offers a quiet and relaxing venue for angling, and is especially noted for its summer tench fishing. Please note: You will need to purchase a permit in advanced to do these activities within the Country Park.

The Grand Western Canal forms part of the West Country Way Cycle Route (NCN3) which runs from Bristol to Padstow in Cornwall. 

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A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

Devon Wildlife Trust's latest nature reserve. A must for bird watchers. No access at present to the nature reserve but great views of it and its wildlife are available from a public road/path… 

North Devon Coast AONB Braunton's Great Field truly lives up to its name. It is treasured as one of only two surviving medieval open strip field systems in England and is believed to date way back the 1200s. Here you can walk through a medieval landscape; covering an area of around 350 acres (equivalent to 200 football pitches). Such fields were the norm in medieval England but virtually all have since been lost or modified.

History This huge field would have been used by hundreds of landworkers, busily farming the food they needed to support their families. The land was farmed in narrow strips, most comprising of 22 yards (one chain) by one furlong (220 yards) in length, which interestingly makes an acre, which it was said was the amount an Oxen could plough in a day. Clusters of strips were given field names such as Gallowell, Pitlands, Longhedgelands, etc.

In 1840 it was recorded that the Great Field was divided into some 600 strips in 60 different ownerships. Today the land is worked by just a small number of farmers but clues to the field's ancient heritage are easy to spot. Although some of the distinct landsherds (small mounds of earth separating the strips) have been lost through modern farming methods together with the Bond Stones which marked division in ownership, many landsherds and the furlough boundary tracks still remain in place. 

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