Axminster Holiday Cottage Devon

Things to See and Do

Your stay at Woodstock Cottage can be as relaxed or as energetic as the mood takes you, with easy access to the coast and the numerous attractions and places of interest to visit either a short drive away or further afield.  Below are a few suggestions for days out and places to visit. Axminster. Thursday is market day, and from May to the end of September, there are free lunchtime concerts in the Minster. Follow the Blue Placque Heritage Trail and discover the history of this market town in the local museum. The local Tourist Information Centre is located adjacent to the museum. There is a good choice of eating places in the town using locally sourced or produced ingredients, including the River Cottage Canteen.   A short distance from  the town ( approx 1 mile) is the Axe Valley Wildlife Park  www. axevalleypark.co.uk. or walk the recently opened section of cycle track along the river. Lyme Regis.  Taking the route along Trinity Hill ( first turning right off the A35 after you leave Axminster) you'll come into Lyme Regis at the top of the town. Park in the top carpark - considerably cheaper than down by the Cobb- and walk down through the gardens - wonderful views across Lyme Bay to Golden Cap and Portland in the far distance. Numerous shops and cafes can be found in the town. Take a bracing walk around the ancient harbour or Cobb or follow the river walk and visit Town Mill. This is the heart of the Jurassic Coast so take a guided fossil walk www.fossilwalks.com.  Walks and talks are also organised by Lyme Regis Museum - well worth a visit   www.lymeregismuseum.co.uk Bridport. Lively street market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, including stalls of antiques and collectibles. Other antiques shops can also be found in Bridport's "Vintage Quarter".  Numerous cafes and restaurants have given Bridport its reputation for good food.  A mile or so from the town will bring you to the harbour at West Bay and its dramatic golden cliffs, the location of the popular TV series, Broadchurch.  Enjoy a stroll around the harbour, take a mackerel fishing trip, or relax on the beach with freshly made fish and chips! Seaton  is now the home of the latest attraction on this stretch of the coast. Opened in March 2016,   Seaton Jurassic is a "time-travel" experience for all the family  www.seatonjurassic.org .   From Seaton take the tram up the Axe Valley, passing the nature reserves of the Axe Estuary to the historic village of Colyton. Check the website for times and special bird-watching trips.  www.tram.co.uk Beer   A picturesque fishing village with interesting art galleries and local craft shops .  Buy fresh fish down on the beach to cook back at the cottage, or eat in one of the good fish restaurants here. If you're feeling energetic, climb out of the village to pick up the coast path and follow it as far as Branscombe Mouth. Picnic on the beach, or wander up into the classic Devon village of Branscombe . The village has a number of centuries old thatched buildings cared for by the National Trust- the Old Bakery, Manor Mill and Forge - check for opening times. www.nationaltrust.org.uk.    Near Beer you can also visit the Beer Quarry Caves open from Easter to the end of September, as well as Pecorama, with its extensive gardens and model railway. Near Sidmouth you'll find the Donkey Sanctuary. As well as seeing the donkeys and the work of this international charity, there are many local walks including a route to the coast path at Weston Mouth. www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk Further along the coast from Sidmouth and you'll reach Budleigh Salterton.  Go via the  Botanical gardens at Bicton Park, or the pituresque village of Otterton.  The ancient watermill at Otterton still produces flour - check website for milling days - and there is a lovely restaurant serving locally produced food. www.ottertonmill.com.  Stroll along the banks of the River Otter down to Budleigh Salterton, or divert along the coast path for a circular walk via Ladram Bay with its dramatic red sea stacks. Coming inland and you'll come to Ottery St Mary, birthplace of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and famous for the Flaming Tar Barrels on November 5th each year.  Nearby you'll find Escot Park, open all year round with attractions for all the family - see website for full details www.escot-devon.co.uk    A few miles further on is the market town of Honiton with its street market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Famous for it lace making and pottery,it is now a haven for antique collectors. Exeter is easily reached either by car or take the train from Axminster. If you drive use the Park and Ride service to get to the city centre.  Here you can visit Exeter's gothic St Peter's Cathedral, or join a "Red Coat" guided walking tour, which run daily throughout the year. As well as retail therapy, there are the medieval Underground Passages to visit, or the recently re-opened RAMM Museum www.exeter.gov.uk Going east  beyond Bridport, take the coast road through to Abbotsbury. Go via the village of Burton Bradstock and its award winning Hive Beach cafe at the western end of Chesil Beach.  Abbotsbury is home to the famous Swannery. Here you can witness the twice daily mass feeding or from mid-May onwards see the cygnets. The sub-tropical gardens and children's farm provide something for all ages.  Climb up to the 14th century St Catherine's Chapel for panoramic views of The Fleet, Chesil Beach and Portland.  www.abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk.     From Abbotsbury carry on the coast road and across the causeway to the Isle of Portland. From the top of the hill there are extensive 180 degree views down to Weymouth and along the Dorset coast and Chesil beach. After a good walk around the "island" or part of it, return via the Dorset Wildlife Centre at the end of the causeway, and Mat Follas' new cafe, before taking the spectacular  coastal route back towards Bridport. You are now in Thomas Hardy Country, and the surrounding landscape that inspired his writing. Near  Dorchester the historic county town of Dorset, you can visit his birthplace, and the town itself is worth a visit. Its Roman origins can be seen in the Roman Town House as well as the many artifacts in the County Museum.  Just outside the town is England's largest hillfort - Maiden Castle, dating back to 3000 BC.  Here you're not far from Tolpuddle and the Martyr's Museum, as well as the Tank Museum at Bovington. Going north from Woodstock Cottage and into Somerset, Forde Abbey is just a few miles away. Here you can visit the house dating back to the 12th century as well as the extensive gardens and plant nursery.                              www.fordeabbey-gardens-dorset.co.uk     .  A little further on and you'll come to Cricket St Thomas set in 160 acres of landscaped parkland. The lakes and gardens are open from May to September.  Heading further into Somerset, the ancient art of basket making continues at the Willows and Wetlands Centre, where there are tours of the basket works as well as wildlife walks on the edge of the Somerset Levels. www.englishwillowbaskets.co.uk   Nearby are attractive towns of Somerton and Langport.  This is Cider country, and during the pressing season - October to December, see cider being produced using traditional methods dating back hundreds of years. Perry's Cider mill in the pretty village of Dowlish Wake   is open all year round and has a small museum, shop and cafe.  www.perryscider.co.uk Further afield you'll come to Taunton, the county town of Somerset, but for a full day out you can take the West Somerset Steam railway from Bishops Lydeard, skirting the edge of Exmoor up to the coast at Minehead.  See their website for times and events www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk For panoramic views there are numerous walks in all three counties. From the cottage, a short walk up to Beacon Hill gives you far reaching views across the Axe Valley. Near Ilminster, at Stoke-sub-Hamdon, there is Ham Hill country park. Climb the ramparts of this Iron Age hill fort for views across the Somerset Levels to Exmoor and the Mendip Hills.  Golden Cap is the highest point on the south coast. Best approach is from Langdon Hill, just off the A35 near Morecombelake. From the top are extensive views along the coast. Continue the walk down to Seatown to the Anchor Inn, or carry along the coast path and inland to Down House Farm.  Other view points in Dorset include Lamberts Castle, Coney Castle and Pilsden Pen- Iron Age fort and highest point in Dorset.  The highest point in the Blackdown Hills is the site of the Wellington Monument with views across the Vale of Taunton to the Bristol Channel and Exmoor. A "must-do" walk is the coast path between Axmouth and Lyme Regis - dry weather and walking boots essential. The route is through the Undercliffs National Nature Reserve with its unique landscape and luxuriant vegetation.  Allow at least 4 hours for this walk, and get the Jurassic Coastline X53 bus back from Lyme Regis to Seaton.  www.southwestcoastpath.com For lovers of ancient houses and gardens there are several National Trust properties all within easy reach of the cottage. These include Killerton  and A la Ronde,  near Exeter,  Shute Barton and Loughwood Meeting House near Axminster,  Barrington Court, Montacute House  near Ilminster and Yeovil (now familiar to viewers of Wolf Hall ) plus  Tintinhull Gardens and Lytes Carey Manor  nearby in Somerset. Horse Riding  is also available in the area , the closest riding school being at  Devenish Pitt near Colyton  www.devenishpitt.co.uk  If you want to bring your bikes there is great cycling to be had on the quiet country lanes as well as designated cycle routes throughout the area.  www.cycledevon.info Golf courses are located at Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth, Honiton, Bridport, Cricket St Thomas and Taunton 2016  Events and Festivals   These are just a few of the local events going on this year, that may coincide with your stay
 
22nd-24th  April Exeter Festival of Food and Drink
19th -21st May Devon County Show, Westpoint nr Exeter
 1st-4th June  Royal Bath and West Show at Shepton Mallet
27th -30th May Lyme Regis Jazz and Blues Festival
12th-18th June Bridport Food Festival
25th-26th June Axe Vale Festival in Axminster
9th -10th July Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth
23rd-30th July  Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week
29th July - 5th Aug Sidmouth Folk Week
4th August Honiton Agricultural Show
28th-29th August Honiton Hill Rally and Steam Fair, Smeatharpe Airfield
25th-29th August Great Dorset Steam Fair nr Blandford Forum
3rd September Chardstock Street Fayre
Devon Holiday Cottage Axminster