Bridge Cottage

Peppercombe, North Devon

Overview

This thatched cottage is set in Peppercombe Valley next to a path that leads down to a stony, deserted beach.  With its orchard and small garden, Bridge Cottage is a reminder of ordinary life lived in remote places over many centuries.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • RemoteRemote

Beds 1 Single, 1 Double

Sleeps
3
3 nights
£390 equivalent to £43.33 per person, per night

Built using local materials

Bridge Cottage is typical of the kind of building which must always have existed in Peppercombe. Smallholders' and labourers' cottages were built of the local materials most easily available, and developed over the centuries from humble single-storeyed dwellings into decent two-storeyed cottages such as we have here. The materials most readily to hand were rubble stone, cob (mud mixed with straw) and thatch, and it is of these that Bridge Cottage is built, with brick for the chimneys, made as tall as possible to provide a draft in this sheltered place.

The valley at Peppercombe

Peppercombe is a steep and wooded valley, through which a stream runs down to a meadow before tumbling to a beach in a fine waterfall. There is a sloping path for you to reach the shore. The cliffs here are particularly dramatic, formed from an outcrop of red Triassic stone, with the whole magnificent North Devon coast line curving away in both directions and Lundy on the horizon. When this wild and lovely valley was acquired by the National Trust in 1988, we took on this and Castle Bunglow, further down the coombe.

‘Landmarks are not simply places to stay, but places in which it is a pleasure to stay.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Bridge Cottage stands in Peppercombe Valley, a steep and wooded place from where you can walk to a beach at the bottom of the track.

Bridge Cottage is a fantastic base from which to explore the north Devon coastline. A day trip to Lundy is a must; crossings on MS Oldenburg run from either Bideford or Ilfracombe, both within easy driving distance from Bridge Cottage. 

Burton Art GalleryDartington Crystal and the Maritime Museum are great for keeping children entertained and learning about the local area. 

Hartland Abbey and Tapley Park and Gardens are two beautiful north Devon country estates, both well worth a visit. You can gain a discount on entry price at Hartland Abbey with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

For more information on things to do during your stay at Bridge Cottage, please see our Pinterest page.

See all our Landmarks at Peppercombe

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Bridge Cottage
Peppercombe, North Devon
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Barnstaple – 14.5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There are two parking spaces on the opposite side of the track. There is a steep cobbled path between the parking area and the entrance to Bridge Cottage.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are relatively steep.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a sloping garden (not enclosed).

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Built from locally available materials

Bridge Cottage, although itself dating only from the 1820s or '30s, is typical of the kind of building which must always have existed in Peppercombe: smallholders' and labourers' cottages, built of the most locally available materials, developing over the centuries from humble single-storeyed dwellings into decent two-storeyed cottages such as we have here.  The materials most readily to hand were rubble stone, cob (mud mixed with straw) and thatch, and it is of these that Bridge Cottage is built, with brick for the chimneys, made as tall as possible to provide a draft in this sheltered place.

Inside, the floorboards of the upper floor form the ceiling of the lower, left visible from below in a building tradition surviving from the Middle Ages.  There is evidence in the wall heads that at some stage these had been heightened to provide better headroom upstairs, but otherwise the cottage is little altered.  The ground floor is arranged in the universal manner, found in cottages throughout the country, with regional variations.

The central front door opens into the kitchen, which is the larger of two downstairs rooms.  The end wall is occupied by the large fireplace, on which, before a range was fitted, most of the cooking would have been done over the open fire, in a series of specially-designed pots, either self-supporting, with legs, or able to stand on a trivet; to the left is the bread oven, and on the other side is the corner recess in which the fuel, usually brushwood or furze, would once have been piled.

The inner room is also heated, and there is no sign that the chimney is an addition.  It must always have been a parlour, therefore, showing this to have been a house of good quality.  Often the inner room of a cottage was a storeroom, or a bedroom, unheated like the rooms upstairs.  On the other hand, the parlour here was not the precious, seldom-visited sanctum that is described by some writers on rural life in the last century.  The stairs lead out of it, and off it were the back-kitchen, or larder, and the wash-house, which would more normally open out of the kitchen itself.

Further evidence that this was more than the simplest labourer's cottage is shown by the large wash-house or laundry, with capacity to absorb more than a single family's clothing.  One 19th-century wife must have taken in washing to add to the family income.

At the turn of the century, Bridge Cottage was the home of the Hockin family, who had nine children.  One of their daughters married Mr Smales, who lived on the other side of the valley, and farmed the site of the Castle for about fifty years, from 1918.  Another daughter, Mrs Packington, later came back with her husband to live in Bridge Cottage for many years, the last person to do so.  Stephen Smales, who owns the garage in Horns Cross, and his sister, Mrs Eileen Tucker, remember frequent visits to their aunt and uncle, who had no children of their own and therefore made much of their Smales nephews and nieces.  The cottage and its garden were beautifully kept, although of course there was no electricity and minimal plumbing. Mrs Packington finally moved out of the cottage in the 1970s, to live with her niece until her death in her 99th year. 

 

Restoration

One of our largest restoration projects

The thatch of Bridge Cottage had not been renewed for several decades, for the last two of which it had been covered with a tarpaulin.  After the house fell empty in the 1970s, decay had quickly followed, with the windows broken and the weather getting in.

When the Landmark Trust agreed to take on the building, the first priority was to make it weather proof, and at the same time vandal proof.  This work was put underway early in 1989.  The roof was stripped of its old thatch. The frame underneath was found to be largely rotten, and to support the new thatch would have to be renewed.  However, the old frame also supported the bedroom ceilings, and these we wished to preserve.  The architect's solution was to construct a new frame over the existing one, and then suspend the old, weakened timbers from it, to carry the ceilings.

The wall heads had, of course, to be repaired at the same time.  This was done in a mixture of rubble stone set in lime mortar, built up on the existing cob, or mud, walls.  The new thatch is water-reed, and the roof is finished with a plain ridge, as is the Devon tradition.  The work was done by local roofing and thatching firm, C. Robinson.

To finish off this part of the work, the house was securely boarded up. Other commitments did not allow the next phase to begin until the following year.  This was undertaken by another local, but slightly larger, general building firm, C.J. Cox.  In addition to minor structural repairs, the work consisted in giving the cottage a general overhaul, to make it habitable again.

The windows and doors, the external render and the internal plaster, were all in poor condition.  One alternative, and probably the cheaper one, would have been to strip out all the existing finishes and completely renew them, copying the original work.  The danger of this approach is that not only do you lose the texture and feel of old materials, but that in addition, however carefully and sensitively the new work is carried out, nothing can stop it being the work of late 20th-century craftsmen, rather than early-19th; and nothing, therefore, can stop the building from becoming a 20th-century creation in the eyes of future generations, even if not of our own.

The other alternative is to keep as much as possible of the original work, and to carefully repair it.  The repairs will be obvious, but the reason for them will also be obvious, and will be part of a continuous process in the life of that building, rather than an interruption.  This was the approach that Landmark adopted.  All the doors and windows were repaired, apart from one upstairs window on the north side, which was entirely missing; and the outside door in the lean-to, which was beyond repair.  Inside, the stairs, partitions and upper floors were similarly made good where necessary.  The slate floor in the kitchen was lifted to put an insulating membrane beneath it, and in the
parlour, a cement floor was replaced with a similar membrane and a new slate floor.  The plaster on the walls was patched, and then limewashed.

The kitchen range was retained, and reblacked, and entirely new kitchen fittings provided.  A new bathroom was inserted in the lean-to.  The previous facilities for washing consisted of one tap and a bowl in a small porch on the front of the cottage, which we removed.  Providing an adequate new water supply was a major undertaking, requiring the sinking of a new well.  

On the outside of the building, the taller chimney had to be rebuilt entirely, as did the top of the shorter one.  The chimneys pots were not replaced.  The render was patched with new lime render, before the whole cottage was limewashed, in a colour to match that found on the old render.

The outbuildings were also derelict.  The lean-to on the end of the cottage was coming away from the gable and had to be stitched back to it.  The rag-slated roof was stripped and repaired and the slates refixed, with second- hand ones to make up the gaps.  In this type of roofing, which is common in Cornwall and West Devon, larger slates are nailed directly onto the rafters, rather than onto battens laid across them - presumably in an attempt to economise on timber.  The wash-house, on the other hand, has an ordinary slate roof, of Cornish slate (Countesses, in traditional slate size-names), which also needed repair.  After renewing the structure, as many as possible of the old slates were relaid, with second-hand ones to make up.  On the ridge, there were some special ventilating tiles, and two of these were retained.  The chimney was rebuilt, the walls repointed and the window repaired.

When the undergrowth around the building was being cleared, the privy was discovered underneath a large pile of brambles.  This was given a new slate roof, but it was decided that the door was adequate for its purpose.  The kennel beside it was made to house the pump for the new sewage treatment plant.

One of the reasons for the cottage being left empty had been the severe damp.  To help cure this, the ground was dug away from the upper end and a new retaining wall built of beach pebbles.  Then a French drain was dug right round the building.  When the earth was scraped away, the stone path was found beneath it, so this was lifted and then laid back over the drain, and then extended to reach round to the wash-house. 

With its orchard and small garden, Bridge Cottage provides an area of cleared space and domesticity in the now thickly wooded coombe, a reminder of ordinary life lived in remote places over many centuries.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.