A Travel Guide to Challacombe – the small picturesque village is set within the county of Devon, on the North Devon and Somerset border, the B3358 road runs through the village and is approximately two miles from the A39 making it ideally suited as a central base for exploring both North Devon and Exmoor National Park.
Just over an hour from TauntoN
Avoid potential traffic congestion on the A361 – North Devon link road and follow the heart of Exmoor route. Exiting the M5 motorway at Taunton junction 25. Travelling through Raleigh’s Cross, Wheddon Cross, Exford and Simonsbath before arriving in Challacombe. Not only is this route the most scenic taking in Exmoor’s traditional villages and open countryside views, it is almost exactly the same distance in miles, taking just over an hour from Taunton.
Challacombe’s picturesque unspoilt landscape ranges from secluded valley farmland, historical monuments, to high, open, moorland.
As the seasons change so do the magical delights of Challacombe’s rugged landscape, as spring starts to appear the migrating birds return, lambs are dancing in fields and there is hope for long summer days. As autumn approaches the moors are a carpet of rich purple heather, a last hurray for summer, crunchy leaf littered footpaths and warm cosy evenings around a log-burning fire await. Winter nights draw in and the green rolling fields are often blanketed in a deep layer of festive snow. Challacombe’s natural charm attracts visitors yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, throughout the year.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – COMMUNITY
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – Exmoor National Park, Longstone Bed & Breakfast is nestled within the small, rural farming and shooting village of Challacombe, Exmoor National Park. A short country stroll to Challacombe Shoot and down the hill into the heart of the village to one of North Devon’s most popular country pubs The Black Venus Inn. Serving fantastic locally sourced refreshments and freshly cooked lunch and evening meals.
ROMANTIC EXMOOR RETREAT
BREAKFAST TO TAKEAWAY
Choose from a variety of quality cooked breakfast options packed full of Westcountry ingredients, cheese toasties and packed lunches including cold sandwiches, drinks and crisps. Longstone Bed & Breakfasts takeaway menu is available to pre-order online and collect.
THE BLACK VENUS INN
The Black Venus Traditional country pub just a short five minute country stroll from Longstone Bed & Breakfast. It is believed to be the only pub in England bearing this name. Serving wonderfully tasty food and drink. Booking a table in advance is highly recommended.
Telephone 01598 763251
The villages small post office and shop is located next to The Black Venus Inn, a short five minute walk from Longstone Bed and Breakfast, perfectly handy for posting your postcards with tales of your Exmoor holiday back to loved ones.
CAMPING – BARLE BROOK RETREAT
For those who love to sleep under canvas, located next door to Longstone Bed & Breakfast, Barle Brook Retreat is an exclusive use campsite – no other campers apart from your booking party! Boasting both hardstanding and grass pitch, stream border, private gated entrance, electric hook-up, campfire and free wifi. Guests staying at Barle Brook Retreat may also enjoy take-away breakfast delivered to camp. Perfectly suited for those with large families, hen and stag parties and multiple units. Tents, Touring Caravan, or Motorhomes.
Exmoor National Park boasts varied rural countryside, rugged moorlands, rolling valleys and ancient woodlands. Well renown for its pheasant and partridge shoots, attracting sporting enthusiasts from all over the world.
Challacombe Shoot HQ is a short walk from Longstone Bed & Breakfast, offering some of the most challenging partridge in the country set in pure Exmoor Landscape. Shooting over moorland, with a reservoir at the heart of the shoot providing testing sport for both guns and dog. Challacombe’s shooting season starts in September through to the end of January.
WEBBERS TRAVEL of Exmoor
Webbers Travel of Exmoor based in Challacombe are a trusted local family business who have been providing taxi services since 1999. From airport runs, late night parties and evenings out to holiday tours of Exmoor, whether you need 4 seats to 16!
LEAF & LAVANDER – Massage & Beauty
No need to travel – Leaf and Lavenders mobile treatments can be enjoyed by our guests here at Longstone Bed & Breakfast. Booking in advance is essential.
Leaf & Lavender’s Anna, a fellow Challacombe resident is a fully qualified Beauty Therapist, Holistic Massage Therapist, Sports Massage Therapist and Baby Massage Instructor, using organic, vegan friendly products. Specialising in various types of massage which include: Indian Head Massage, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Bamboo Massage, Hot Stone Therapy Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Sports Therapy Massage.
Challacombe HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
The Holy Trinity Church of Challacombe is a beautiful piece of living history, dating back to early 16c, It is believed Christianity first came to Challacombe through Celtic saints who would have travelled the ancient tracks across Exmoor. The grade two listed building is located on the eastern side of the village, Barton town. Still a much loved and visited church by local parishioner’s.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – ACTIVITIES
Visitors to Challacombe enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the village’s unspoilt natural beauty whether that be exploring the circular walk to the tallest prehistoric standing stone within Exmoor National Park, the longstone to patiently awaiting a passing sparrow hawk for that perfect snap.
From a short country stroll down to The Black Venus Inn to an invigorating circular walk around Pinkery Pond and Chapman Barrows and the Longstone. Challacombe is a walkers haven, with days worth of footpaths to explore, ever changing through the seasons.
Please remember the countryside code when exploring the local countryside, closing gates, keeping dogs on leads and sticking to footpaths is vital for the local community and wildlife.
Whether you are an experienced walker or someone who prefers a short stroll, Exmoor National Park is the ideal place to explore the outdoors on foot. With over 1000km of footpaths and bridleways, through oak woodlands, alongside tumbling rivers and across open heather-covered moorland, the variety is endless. Some of the country’s finest long distance routes pass through our National Park, or you can plan your own adventure to explore this unique landscape.
Challacombe is surrounded by fantastic cycle routes. Such as the Tarka Challenge, silver grimpeur – The ride begins with a gentle prologue along the Tarka Trail with glorious views across the Torridge-Taw estuary before heading into the challenging terrain of the Exmoor National Park. Cafe Controls at Lynton and Lynmouth provide the opportunity to rest a while before the climb out of Lynton and stunning coastal views along the Valley of Rocks. The route then takes in the coastal resorts of Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Croyde Bay before the final descent to Braunton and the respite of the Tarka Trail for the return leg to Bideford.
Designated the first dark sky reserve in Europe and second in the world, stargazing on Exmoor is a truly magical experience and one not to be missed! Guestrooms at Longstone Bed & Breakfast are equipped with telescope’s, ensuring our guests have the best chance of catching that shooting star or passing planet
Home to a vast array of moorland birds such as the skylark, cuckoo, willow warbler, to the rarer species such as the curlow. With wetland birds to such as kingfishers and the grey wagtail. Whilst its smaller species can be harder to identify, Exmoor’s birds of prey are far easier to spot such as the buzzard, hen harrier, sparrow hawk or kestrel as they are often seen impressively hovering over a valley stalking its prey below.
PHOTOGRAPHY & PAINTING
Famous for its dramatic landscapes and breath-taking vistas Exmoor National Park is a nature photographers dream come true. Challacombe is no exception with many avid artists visiting throughout the seasons to capture the ever changing moods and colours.
Challacombe is a fantastic central base to explore both Exmoor National Park and North Devon. With superb scenic routes allowing visitors to take in the very best views often without even leaving their vehicle. Such as the circular route over Brendon Common taking in the far reaching views over the moor to Wales, down the valley through picturesque Watersmeet. Into the harbour town of Lynmouth, perhaps for an ice cream and some fish and chips, then onto Lynton following the A39 back to Challacombe.
STEEPED IN HISTORY
Mentioned in the Doomsday book, Challacombe is an ancient Exmoor village. Challacombe derived its name from the Saxon’s, Cealda Combe or Cold Combe, combe meaning Valley. Old folk legend dating back to this era is said that the devil died here wearing several coats, hence acquiring the name “Cold Valley.” Whilst it is true the harsh moorland conditions bless us with the exciting variety of seasonal changes. It would have been far more difficult for those first residents without all of todays modern day essentials, we often take for granted. Challacombe is certainly a history lovers ideal holiday destination, with countless fascinating historical monuments, landmarks and tales within Challacombe and across Exmoor National Park.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – PLACES OF INTEREST
Across the valley from Longstone Bed & Breakfast lies Challacombe’s ancient woodland, easily accessed by foot either along the B3358 to the bottom of Bickfont hill, turn right at the fingerpost junction where you can then pick up the footpath opposite The Old Packman’s Bridge through Home Farm. Alternatively across the Barton Plantation from Longstone Bed & Breakfasts smallholding, joining the footpath further along. Challacombe woods run along one side of the river bray, located in the valley the steep gradient amplifies the woodlands natural drama. At the top of Challacombe woods the footpath continues towards Barton town on the east side of the village.
Elevated 472 meters above sea level Shoulsbury Castle is an iron age hill fort, its multi-ditch, rampant footprint is on the very shoulder at the top of a hill of Shoulsbarrow Common. Its location on the moor is extremely exposed and remote, yet from the Iron age into the Saxon period it was inhabited by the Dummonii people. The unusual rectangular is the largest and best known hillfort within Exmoor. The likely entrances given its form are from the west and south east corners. The inner footprint extends to four acres, the outer six. There is also a circular mound evident in the north east corner. This has been described as a Bronze Age barrow and was excavated as such before 1906 however nothing was reportedly found.
The Chains is a triangle of land popular with avid walkers, between Challacombe, Simonsbath and Lynton. The plateau lies 475 meters above the contour line, and is the highest point in North Devon elevated 487 meters above sea level. Home to Exmoor’s largest group of prehistoric standing stones and the start of The River Barle. Located on the Simonsbath side of The Chains is Pinkery Pond.
THE Longstone & Chapman Barrows
The Longstone is the tallest prehistoric standing stone within Exmoor National Park, dating back to the Neolithic period, 500 years ago, the same century Longstone Bed & Breakfast was built, although back then it would have been home to a family and their livestock! Longstone standing approximately three meters tall above ground and believed by locals to be the same deep, is located between Longstone Barrow and Chapman Barrow, Challacombe, in rugged, prime Exmoor National Park landscape.
Pixie Rocks also known as Swincombe Rocks, a steep valley which joins the iron age Longstone and The Chains to the village of Challacombe. With the abandoned medieval farm of Radworthy sitting above it. According to old Exmoor folk tales, it is believed that Pixies live in small, narrow crevices. The petite mystical characters proficiently residing with understanding of Exmoor’s moor and woodlands, in low moss covered dwellings hidden within the combe. These Celtic beliefs are thought to date back to Saxon and Norman Britain. It is also believed to be the source of the Longstone. Still today a much treasured site and favourite spot for those shooting at Challacombe Shoot, for its beauty and high birds.
The Pixie – With Continental Breakfast
Our luxurious double guestroom with sumptuous linens, modern amenities and on-trend en-suite wetroom aptly named after Pixie Rocks.
OLD PACKMAN BRIDGE
Challacombe’s timeless, old packman bridge is an iconic symbol of Challacombe’s evolution from the harsh isolated existence it first began. Where up until the 1840’s the village was serviced by horse pack pulling sledges with supplies along barely impassable mud tracks and when villagers rode to neighbouring hamlets on the backs of their trusted Exmoor ponies out of necessity, as a pose to leisure like residents today. It wasn’t until the entrepreneurial Knight family, fellow West Midlander’s brought their wildly industrial vigour to Exmoor that the road from Challacombe connecting Combe Martin and on to Simonsbath was built, now known as the B3358. Thus putting Challacombe on the map. The old packman bridge is a 10 minute walk from Longstone Bed & Breakfast, follow the lane opposite The Black Venus Inn, through the ford and continue past the Methodist church and the bridge crosses the River Bray to your left. A particular pleasant haunt on a warm sunny day, with the river to paddle and explore.
CHALLACOMBE WATER WORKS
A pleisurely country lane stroll through the village, past the old pack man bridge towards Lee Ball hill sits Challacombe water works. The bridge is an atmospheric, peaceful spot to stop and take in the scenic River Bray with the odd brown trout darting up stream and birds singing. The location at the bottom of the valley spreads light in pleasing and flattering directions. Illuminating the combes natural features perfectly for artists and photographers alike.
East of The Chains and Longstone, Pinkery Pond sits between Challacombe and Simonsbath. Surprisingly Pinkery Pond is a man made construction built in 1833 by John Knight. Pinkery or otherwise known as Pinkworthy canal runs from Pinkery Pond to Exe head. Whilst the purpose is not known it speculated John Knight intended to power his railway over an incline to Simonsbath.
The Pinkery – With Continental Breakfast
Our luxurious king guestroom with sumptuous linens, modern amenities and on-trend en-suite with roll-top bath perfectly situated with views over the valley, aptly named after Pinkery.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – EAT OUT
Eating out whilst on holiday should always be an exciting adventure for the taste buds, visitors to Challacombe certainly wont be disappointed. With Longstone Bed & Breakfast serving a mouth-watering, locally sourced, breakfast menu and The Black Venus Inn cooking up fabulous lunch and evening meals, without leaving the village! Discover other fantastic eateries such as S&P Fish Shop in nearby Ilfracombe, or Besshill Farm Shop in Arlington for their highly sought after Devon reared steak and juicy chicken kebabs to cook on the BBQ back at Longstone Bed & Breakfast.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – ORDER IN
Whilst you are unlikely to find a local Uber to deliver to Challacombe. There is still a generous selection of retailers both local and nationwide who deliver do. Make planning your Exmoor holiday even more interesting by ordering in a variety of local delights and you favourite essentials. Longstone Bed & Breakfast are more than happy to take delivery and store it safely for you prior to your arrival.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – NEARBY ESSENTIALS
Unarguably Challacombe is a rural hide away, however nonetheless within easy reach of all of those everyday essentials from quaint local community shops such as Parracombe’s Pavilion Cafe & Stores. Fabulous restaurants and handy service stations ready to refuel for your next big adventure. Plus pharmacies and medical centres for those unexpected emergencies.
A Travel Guide to Challacombe – NEARBY ESSENTIALS MAP