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A weekend at the longest longhouse
Just two months old, the longhouse in Exeter has everything an overworked city couple could want and that’s probably because the owners once had hectic London lives themselves. The 500 year old, five bedroom property took 1 year to restore and is believed to be the longest longhouse in Devon. Inside you will find spiral staircases beam ceilings, open fireplaces, modern furniture sheepskin covered window seats. Breakfast is an indulgent affair: expect homemade granola local jams, Devon sausages and eggs from the neighbouring farm. Dinner can be organised by prior request and the honesty bar containing local ales, cider, and bio-dynamic wines is always open, the perfect tonic after a hectic December.
B&B’s with bling
At Weeke Barton you don’t have to disappear for the day after breakfast, come rain or shine. The lovely longhouse has a lounge full of books and a fire in the hearth on cooler days, and there’s a well-stocked bar and a garden for kids to let off steam in… perfect!
The soft-hued bedrooms are decorated with quirky art to lift this out of the norm. Breakfast is very good and dinner’s available if you like.
Step out of the door and Dartmoor is before you – with hiking, biking, horse riding and climbing.
Uk and Ireland Escapes
What is it?
A 500-year-old whitewashed longhouse on a hillside in Dartmoor National Park, it opened last winter as a rustic-cool hideaway with wonky beams, modern art and photography on the walls, and retro decor such as Ministry of Food tins and film-set paraphernalia.
Behind the scenes
Jo Gossett and Sam Perry, who used to work for Conran restaurants, moved from London to Higher Westcott Farm six years ago and opened the old farmhouse as a B&B (it’s now a self-catering holiday home). This is the couple’s newer, hipper venture with more than a touch of East End edginess, set in about four acres of apple, damson and chestnut trees (plus a recently added pétanque pitch).
The Hackney-on-the-moors feel continues in the five bedrooms, each with quirky touches such as a collage of Fifties pin-up postcards, hessian-sack cushions, sheepskin rugs on the deep window sills or paintbox-coloured anglepoise lamps. Orla’s Room has a super-king bed with a bath at the end of for soaking up the view through lovely latched windows. The bathrooms are in sleek stone and chrome, stocked with fragrant local herbal bath products.
Dinners are very sociable: the set menu is eaten with other guests at a three-metre-long, polished-slate table by a wood-burning stove. Just-caught-crab salad was followed by a chicken, chorizo and cider pie, bubbling away in an enamel dish with a buttery pastry lid. The world’s best homemade brown-bread ice cream had a rum and caramel kick and was served in an antique tea cup atop a long-stem base. And it was all washed down with a rich, fruity red from a list of biodynamic wines. Breakfast is just as wholesome and hearty: homemade granola and local apple juice, or a Full English for those who can manage it.
Who goes there?
Foodie couples from Bristol and London; young families (children are very welcome, with camp beds and a kids’ supper menu).
What’s there to do?
Ramble till your heart’s content in the national park, or go fishing and shooting nearby. Come for foraging weekends in autumn or the pop-up supper clubs planned for later in the year. After a busy day, mingle till late in the low-roofed honesty bar (six-footers had better stay seated), with its funky stag-head wall lamp and all you need to mix your own cocktail.
The chilled soundtrack - from Balearic beats to reggae and soul - that hums quietly from sleek Sonos speakers in the sitting room, dining room and bar. Thoughtful touches such as a thermos of cold milk left out last thing at night so you can make tea in your room in the morning.
Kate Patrick considers the rise of the luxurious B&B, and finds some of the best examples in England
Weeke Barton is a traditional Devonshire longhouse with a newly paired-down, urban vibe. Although on 20 minutes from Exeter, this is an utterly remote escape with a view of the Teign Valley and near total silence.
Sociable graphic designer Sam Perry and his partner, Jo Gossett (ex Conran Restaurants) are Londoners who have embraced the country lifestyle, bringing a hint of the metropolitan and an eye for detail. The sitting room has leather sofas around a wood-burning stove, the dinning room a slate-topped table, and french or south American cafe music murmurs from hidden speakers. My room-one of five, all facing the view-was unfussy and expertly comfortable. You can sink into a vast, white bed or snuggle up on a sheepskin on the window ledge. What quirky pieces Sam and jo haven’t sourced, they made themselves. A dinner menu’s emailed in advance: Jo’s fish pie and apple three-ways was as good as any Marylebone bistro’s. I joined other guests for dinner, but otherwise this is the place to switch off and retreat.
Weeke Barton, Dartmoor, Devon: Hotel Review
Tempering on-trend styling with original features, Weeke Barton is a renovated medieval longhouse on the doorstep of Dartmoor, south Devon. Isabel Choat enjoys the warm and relaxing vibe, a help-yourself bar and great food.
I’m glad I wasn’t trying to find Weeke Barton at night. On a gloriously sunny day I shot straight past the turning for it. Back on the right track, the only indication that the winding unpaved lane might lead to a boutique B&B was a discreet and tasteful sign at the side of the road.
Doubles from £110 B&B. A two-course dinner is £18, three courses £25
The oldest part of this listed longhouse on the edge of Dartmoor national park dates back to 1440. But step inside and you’re firmly in the 21st-century. Sam Perry and his wife Jo Gossett moved to Devon from London in 2007 to transform another nearby longhouse into a self-catering holiday home. With Higherwestcott Farm up and running successfully, they bought Weeke Barton and spent a year deep in renovations, blasting thick black paint off beams to reveal the original wood, relandscaping five acres of garden, and filling the interior with bang-up-to-date decor: a cow-hide rug, a chrome bull’s head light fitting, Sonos speakers, a SodaStream and animal skulls on solid wood shelving. The country-cool vibe continues in the five bedrooms with limestone bathrooms and sheepskin rugs. But the on-trend styling is tempered by the original features; there is character here and the overall effect is warm and relaxing, rather than coldly modern.
With the sun shining, I was tempted to settle into a deckchair in the garden, but instead headed out for lunch at the Nobody Inn in Doddiscombsleigh. This excellent pub offers a more trad take on country living, its wonky-floored, low-ceilinged interior filled with tankards and brass pots, fairy lights and candles. On the menu are steak-and-ale or fish pies and roast Dartmoor beef. If that’s not warming enough, there are 250 wines and 262 whiskies on sale. I went for the trio of “third” pints of local ale and a chicken terrine and potted shrimp.
Back at Weeke Barton, the wine list is more modest. In the snug bar, guests can help themselves to spirits or bottles of biodynamic wine. In her former life, Jo was a restaurant manager and now offers evening meals. A crab salad starter and chicken-and-chorizo pie with perfect pastry were rounded off by homemade brown bread ice-cream.
After a night in a deeply comfortable superking bed, it was back down the winding staircase for a breakfast of home-made granola and local apple juice.
A walk was in order. The village of Dunsford is a 20-minute stroll away, along the river Teign. But the moor beckoned. I drove to Haytor and walked to another granite outcrop, Hound Tor, for a blast of Devon air. The last time I was on Dartmoor it was a freezing winter’s day, and my bed for the night was in a shabby bunkhouse. This time, the landscape, of course, was just as wild, but the accommodation couldn’t have been more different.
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“Weeke Barton is a converted long barn in Devon and is as stylish as it is laid back,” says Tamara. “Rooms are only £110 a night, including breakfast, so it’s fantastic value, and prices don’t go up for the holiday season, either.” From £110 per room, including breakfast.
B&B and Beyond: Weeke Barton, Devon
An old longhouse in the Dartmoor countryside has been transformed into a sleek rural retreat. You might think you’ve gone awry. Because when you turn off Dartmoor’s one main road, trace a river, cross a stone bridge, squeeze down a lane and arrive at this traditional white homestead, you walk right into Hackney.
Weeke Barton is old: parts of this granite and cob longhouse date back to 1440. Yet, since the end of 2012, following one couple’s year of meticulous renovation, what now lies inside is an east London take on rural Devonian living. Beams have been reconditioned, granite fireplaces restored, the huge wooden door hung back on its hinges. But there’s also an integrated music system piping old-school reggae, arty prints on the walls and interesting books and knick-knacks on the shelves.
Weeke Barton sleeps 10, with cots and extra beds for under-12s. The five doubles occupy the first floor, two larger at one end, three smaller at the other, accessed by spiralling staircases. All gaze across the twittering garden to hills of green – views best contemplated from window seats covered in cushions and skins.
Rooms are named after the eldest child of the first families to stay in them. Wonderfully on-the-wonk Orla is super-kingsize, with a raised bath in the bedroom; Avalon’s tub is tucked into its neat en suite. The three kingsize rooms – Otis, Alfie, Henry – are shower only. All five are done in warm, neutral hues offset by flashes of colour and quirk.
Downstairs is party-host heaven: the parquet-floored dining room with its big slate-top table is where breakfast is served. There’s also a small honesty bar, where you serve yourself biodynamic wines and beers, and borrow DVDs. (All rooms have players, though no TV channels.) In the large lounge, leather sofas gather round a wood burner and a door leads to the terrace for summer socialising.
Breakfast is taken around the main table. Homemade granola is a tasty toast-up of oats, seeds and nuts. Apple juice comes from the local cider farm, honey from devon. The cooked course is modest but perfectly formed: bread is home baked: eggs, sausages are all local.
No need to go anywhere; Jo can cook dinner, served round the communal table. Choice is limited to one meat or veggie option, though special diets can be catered for. A choice of beef and ale or mushroom and tarragon pies made our menu; pudding was fancier - delicious Tarte Tatin with apple sorbet and Panna Cotta. the on-site honesty bar means no one has to drive for a drink.
A cossetting B&B on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, with chic rooms, crackling fires and fabulous home-cooked food
When Jo and Sam swapped their hectic London life for the wilds of Dartmoor, they set about opening the hip yet homely rural retreat they’d always dreamt of - the kind of place where guests can kick off their shoes and unwind. You’d expect a former Conran restaurant manager and a graphic designer to know a thing or two about hospitality and style, and their first venture, Higher Westcott Farm, proved such a hit that they soon decided to move things to a larger building a couple of miles down the road. After a year of negotiation and careful restoration, their B&B was reborn in its new home, The Longhouse, in 2012.
The address and the name may have changed, but the couple have stuck to the same winning formula: beautiful interiors, total tranquility and a refreshingly laid-back vibe. Their latest property - almost 500 years old and rumoured by locals to be the longest longhouse in Devon - is delightfully quirky, with ancient nooks and spiral staircases offset by sleek furniture and a smattering of contemporary art. The 5 bedrooms have beamed ceilings, deliciously comfy beds and sheepskin-covered window seats; one even has a decadent double-ended bathtub. Downstairs, Jo’s excellent home cooking is served up in front of a blazing wood-burner, and drinks await in the bar. Whether you’re a city couple in need of a countryside fix or a familyseeking lung-fulls of fresh air, it’s the stuff perfect getaways are made of.
The cool hotel guide
For a moment I wondered if i,d come to the right place. I was on the edge of Dartmoor National Park overlooking a quiet wooded valley, but it felt as though I was in Shoreditch (well a version of it). Soft hip -hop music was playing from a speaker next to a row of arty portraits of people dressed in their work clothes. Russian dolls were placed on a shelf, next to a mounted ostrich egg and a collection of original James Bond paperbacks.
Through a doorway, I came to a lounge with a cowhide rug and a blazing fire, around which 1930’s-style leather armchairs were clustered near an old poster advertising a Spanish bullfight and a striking image of a fox with butterfly wings. Piles of art books were placed on a side table.
The hip-hop fused into reggae as I met Sam Perry, who was wearing a flat cap and designer glasses. Sam, a Graphic designer, runs the Longhouse, which opened six weeks ago, with his partner Jo Gossett, who used to work at the Bluebird and Coq d’Argent restaurants in London. “we’re going for the urban, East London look,” he said “it’s a bit different for building that’s 400 years old.”
He was right-but it’s a style that works. Each of the five rooms had a touch of artistic flair, with posters by Tracey Emin and Edward Hopper and designer lamps dotted about. My room had a wide window alcove with a faux-fur-rug and throw cushions; a perfect spot for peering out across the wooded valley or reading a book. The walls of this terrific longhouse-which stretches for about 40 metres and is about 10 metres across- look thick enough to enough to withstand a rocket attack. There were eccentric touches too: tartan slippers were placed next to an enormous bed, while amid the muted colours of the bathroom was a shower cap shaped like a tea cosy.
Sam and jo have adopted a free-and-easy style for their B&B (the English breakfast was hearty and spot on, served with fresh coffee and apple juice to the accompaniment of soul music). There’s an honesty bar in a snug room near the lounge, with a stack of DVD’s on one side. None of the rooms have locks, “though a few guests have said something, so locks are coming in the New Year”. And they cook evening meals on request: £25 for three courses such as crab salad, fish pie and homemade ice cream (although as there was no other guest when I visited, they had the night off). It’s so laid-back it’s almost horizontal (and a lot of fun too).
Room 9 out of 10. Food 8.5. Service 9. Value 9. Cool factor 9.5. Score 9
Molly Gunn (Anonymously)
Spain? No. France? Mais non. Italy? Non tanto… I can’t put my finger on where this feels like. But, I’m quite sure it doesn’t feel like Devon. I’ve been to Devon before, and usually it’s far more bucket-and-Breton-stripes. Which, while superb, is a world away from this.
Outside, the mist is rolling in over the mother-of-all hills (even here in the South West of England it is ridonculously big), covered from brow to foot in a forest-full of trees, forming the most spectacular view and feeling so very alpine. In fact, it’s so alpine that snow wouldn’t surprise me, and neither would a steaming hot chocolate laced with whisky (admittedly in August, snow would be a stretch, but the hot chocolate I’d take willingly).
I’ve obviously got nothing better to do that ruminate on where exactly in the world it feels like I am, because this is what I’ve spent the last 10 minutes doing. You could say this is testament to the magic bestowed on me by Weeke Barton.
Mr Smith and I are only here for two days, but thanks to its transporting qualities, it feels like I’ve travelled further, and for longer. It’s as though we trekked for days to arrive. Not like we hopped off the A38 and wound round remote country lanes for a few minutes (roads so remote, may I add, that our phone’s ‘no service’ had us thinking that if we broke down we’d walk for miles before seeing a sign of life, which prompted us to relay hitchhiking ghost stories en route giving ourselves a case of severe heebie-jeebies. Just saying).
Where am I? Oh yes. I’ve found ‘my spot’ – a cosy grey armchair perfectly positioned to gaze at the Dartmoor hill, by the window in the living room. The splendidly solid, unevenly walled, wooden-floored farmhouse that is Weeke Barton, reminds me of a gîte my parents might have rented in the South of France in my girlhood, but with a whole lot more style. No naff lino floors or lilac walls here; this place has lashings of interior-design idiosyncrasies, with furnishings that look plucked from an East London apartment by a cool couple and planted in an atmospherically creaky 500-year-old house.
Of course, that is what’s happened, in essence, as owners Sam and Jo are DFLs (Down From Londoners), hailing from Hackney seven years ago. And, their DFLness oozes from the pores of Weeke Barton. It’s found in the hip decor, the just-right soundtrack, the tastemaker art hanging on the walls, and their mi-casa-es-tu-casa approach to hosting.
Don’t expect an over-exuberant Devonshire welcome, Sam and Jo are more laid-back, which means that, yes, sometimes you can’t find them if you need assistance, and yes, you may feel like you’re staying at a friend-of-a-friend’s house. But, once you get them chatting, they’re really friendly, and you can tell that Weeke Barton is a true labour of love. Which, fact fans, the previous owner, a farmer and a gambler, won in a game of cards, and which on buying, Sam and Jo (and Sam’s dad Barry) spent a year renovating before opening to guests.
And, oh what a house! Our room – Orla, she’s called – is up a wooden spiral staircase and has oodles of space, the high points being handsome beams, industrial metal lights, a bathtub and a massive bed – the kind you can really stretch out in and not bother each other. The bath is raised on a platform beneath the window, so when I’m not in ‘my spot’ downstairs, I’m bathing amid steam and suds, while I view-gaze with a glass of prosecco, or a G&T, procured from the snug honesty bar downstairs. This is also where we’ve plundered the DVD collection, and admired a fetching stag-head wall light.
Food is another plus point at Weeke Barton. Breakfast is usually served 9am to 10am, but Sam and Jo happily cater for early risers like us, and laid on an 8am feast at the slate-topped dining table (which was made bespoke locally, and which I wanted to take home with me). This was a full English fit for kings, with local organic produce and perfect portions. The veggie (me) was as happy as the meat eater (him), and the coffee was just right.
While breakfast is included, evening meals have to be booked in advance (my tip is to request dinner when booking, so you don’t forget). Try not to make the mistake we did of thinking dinner happens naturally, and so avoid an unexpected trip to a pub on your first night. On our second evening, experiencing dinner at Weeke Barton proved a highlight of our stay. Jo expertly crafted a mushroom-and-tarragon pie for me, and a pork-and-chorizo pie for Mr Smith from ‘what she had in the kitchen’ followed by homemade melt-in-the-mouth-obscenely good lemon curd ice-cream. While Mr Smith and I dined, we pondered life, sipped prosecco and listened to Bob Marley, while rain pattered on the windows outside. It felt blissfully comforting with the bonus of only have to roll upstairs afterwards.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what we did, other than lazing, gazing and eating… Well, we wandered in the beautiful, wild, gardens and played with the irrepressibly friendly spaniel, Coco; possibly the world’s best ball-retrieving dog, ever. And, we also ventured further afield: to lunch at Riverford Organic; crabbing at Stoke Gabriel; a quayside wander in Exeter; and a roam up on deepest Dartmoor. It is all a world away from the Devon bucket-and-Breton-stripes brigade, and what a wonderful thing that was! Now, don’t ask how on earth we find our way home again…
Abi set up These Four Walls to share interiors, lifestyle and travel inspiration from her home city of Bristol (UK) and beyond: the spaces she loves, the places she visits, the things that catch her eye and the people she meets – always with a focus on Scandinavian design, calming colours and simple, relaxed living.
To read her review please click on the link below
Weeke Barton, Dartmoor – Weekend Takeover
Clio is a mum of two toddler boys, freelance writer & editor of Mumsnet Exeter. She writes about (with occasional reviews) on life in the West Country.
“Why Devon? My family spent idyllic summers in the wilds of North Devon when I was growing up. My sister and I nagged my parents until we eventually moved permanently when I was 6-years-old (even if it meant they had to commute 200 miles to London to work – that’s love). It was heaven for little people: beach trips, horse-riding, freedom and space.”
To read clio’s review please click the link below
To read this review please click the link below
Fancy a glam Dartmoor escape. Check in at Weeke Barton
To read the Muddy Review please click on the link below
Muddy Stilettos tottered into the world in 2012 over in Bucks/Oxon, where its founder Hero Brown was struggling to find fun stuff to do in the area. She decided to research it herself and the blog was born. The aim was simple: to write a witty but indispensable local guide to the very best restaurants, walks, boutiques, day trips, hotels, interiors and events (whilst also perking up her social life).
Four years on and Muddy Stilettos is now in 17 counties. There are now over 150,000 Muddy readers who trust our blogs to deliver the very best their county has to offer. And did I mention awards? The industry likes us, too. Muddy Stilettos won Most Innovative Blog at the UK National Blog Awards 2015, was runner up in the same category in 2016 and was also voted Top 3 Lifestyle Blogs in the UK in both 2014 and 2015.
For all Tripadvisor reviews please click the link below
Below are our last 3 Tripadvisor reviews
“LOVE THIS PLACE!” Reviewed 1 week ago
This is the third year we’ve been to Weeke Barton for a group get-together. We hire the whole house as self-catering and always end the stay wishing we could live there! Fantastic for adults to relax and enjoy the scenery while the kids have adventures galore!
“Wonderful stay” Reviewed 4 weeks ago
We recently joined another couple for a mid-week birthday celebration. As we live fairly locally we had reservations about staying so close to home but as soon as we got to Weeke Barton those doubts disappeared. We were greeted by Sam and shown to our room, Orla which is pure luxury. It has a free standing bath but also a fantastic shower in the en suite bathroom. Other couples arrived about the same time but there was certainly enough hot water for everyone (assuming we all made the most of the gorgeous facilities!) We had decided to eat in-house and Jo served a wonderful pie. One of our friends had the mushroom stroganoff and i would have happily eaten either dish. As you eat with the other guests you have the option to find a quiet place afterwards or move en-masse to the sitting room or honesty bar - we chose the honesty bar which is stocked with lots of good wines and although we only intended to have a quick one we ended up staying there for several hours - in fact into the early hours. We had to leave particularly early and before the usual breakfast sitting but Sam and Jo got up to cook our full English breakfast which was over and above the call of duty but greatly appreciated. We will definitely be returning again this year.
“Fantastic place to stay in Dartmoor” Reviewed 4 weeks ago
An excellent stay. Lovely property in a very good location on the edge of Dartmoor and well situated for short distance drives to many great walks or the coast. Or just walk from the house. Great room, fantastic views, splendid breakfast. Book it - you won’t regret it. Jo and Sam were perfect hosts - one of them seemed to appear whenever we needed them but otherwise they left us to enjoy the house.