Places to visits in and around Okehampton

 

Okehampton Castle

In an oustandingly pictureque setting above therushing West Okement stands the remains of what was once the largest castle in Devon.

 

This National Heritage site is one of the most extensive castle ruins in the West Country.  Before 1070 the site was a simple motte but in the late 11th century a stone keep was constructed. The Norman castle was transformed into a sumptuous residence in the early 14th century with a further building added to the keep with thick walls and high round-arched windows.  During this period buildings were also built below the keep including kitchens, a hall and solar, a chapel, guardrooms and more accommodation. A gatehouse was built, joined to the rest of the fortress by a long, narrow tunnel. The result was a long enclosure protected by walls and steep slopes.

 

The castle had a comparatively uneventful history but in 1539 its owner Henry, Marquis of Exeter was executed by Henry VIII for conspiracy. Thereafter, the property was seized for the Crown and dismantled. However, today many of the buildings are still in a good state of preservation.

 

 

 

Museum of Dartmoor Life

 

This museum, in Okehamton town centre, will tell the story of rural life and human activities on Dartmoor, using reconstructed scenes and artefacts. It illustrates farming and rural crafts such as thatching and cider-makering and artefacts from as far back as the Saxon, Roman and Bronze Ages.

 

It holds temporary exhibitions and events, including guided tours and family activities. Facilities here include a shop, and the Tourist Information centre, as well as independent craft shop, and tea rooms on site.

 

   

Victorian Arcade & Lion Yard

Reminiscent of the Burlington Arcade in London, the Victorian Arcade is filled with independent shops, run by local people.

Lion Yard (locally known as ‘The New Arcade’) has a number of independent shops, 2 cafes, a restaurant, and the local 2 screen Carlton Cinema and town hall.

 

   

The Dartmoor Heritage Railway and Okehampton Station

 

This single track branch line goes through from Exeter to Meldon Quarry.  There is a Sunday Rover Service in summer from Exeter, and very occasional special event trains. 

 

Trains operate on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer months, and The Polar Express, which runs during the festive season, is particularly popular.

 

   

Finch Foundry Museum

Okehampton

The last remaining working 19th-century water-powered forge in England.  Visit the 19th century waterwheels where you can see all the Victorian equipment, including the hammers that use to make agricultural implements. The forge does hourly demonstrations so you can see how the items were made.  This is a National Trust site and facilities include a shop and tea room; they also hold regular events here.

 

   

Meldon Reservoir and Meldon Viaduct

Okehampton

Surrounded by open moorland, Meldon is a breathtaking reservoir lake 900 feet above sea level teeming with native wildlife; befriend one of the fishermen sat on the steep banks and you may glimpse a brown trout!

 

Built in 1874, the stunning Meldon Viaduct spans 165 metres over the remains of the mineral mines. The views from the viaduct span across to Meldon Dam and reservoir to the south west.

 

   

Eastcott Vineyard

Northlew, Okehampton

Open all year for wine sales, and offering regular guided vineyard/winery tours.

 

   

Parklands Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool

Simmons Park, Okehampton

Open swimming sessions and fully equipped gym, together with indoor sports courts.

 

   

Black a Tor Copse

Okehampton

Black-a-Tor Copse is one of the best examples of high altitude oak woodland in Britain. The lichens and mosses that drape the trees are nationally important and grow here in this unique clean air woodland.

 

   

Eastlake Riding stables

Belstone, Okehampton

 

   

Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo is something of a fairy-tale castle which was built from 1911 and finished in 1930.  It is a grade 1 listed building and is currently undergoing an extensive conservation project (until 2017) to make it watertight.  It is located near Drewsteignton on the north-east edge of the moor.

Castle Drogo was the last castle to be built in England, and probably the last private house to be built entirely of granite.

 

   

 

   
     

 

   

 

   

Okeside Cottage          7 New Road, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 1JE          tel: 01837 55363          email: bookings@okesidecottage.co.uk