This month’s Great Escape comes from Sarah James & Katie Honnor from Devon based online retail company madebyhandonline. We visit Bovey Tracey with them and they share their favourite finds. Based in the town of Bovey Tracey, Sarah and Katie sell contemporary craft by makers from across the UK and Ireland.
Where in Britain is it?
Bovey Tracey is in South Devon and is a short drive from the city of Exeter. The town has an interesting history and more recently is known as the ‘Gateway to Dartmoor’ as it is nestled in the foot hills of the Dartmoor National Park.
Why should I go there?
Bovey Tracey (or Buvvy to the locals) is surrounded by some of the most stunning countryside in the UK. It’s just a short hop and a jump up to Haytor, the first of Dartmoor’s many impressive and haunting tors (pictured). The town has a variety of beautiful churches to visit and the stunning Riverside Mill, home to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, sits proudly on the River Bovey. The town is blessed with many independent shops selling locally produced food and craft. Bovey is perfectly placed as a base for inspirational and creative days out in Devon.
Will I find interesting local products to buy?
The Devon Guild of Craftsmen supports makers from all over the UK (pictured below) and if you’re after something unique and handmade from the local area then you’re spoilt for choice. Local potters, jewellers, textile artists and furniture makers exhibit and sell their work here all year round.
In the heart of Bovey Tracey you’ll find Mann and Son, a delicatessen with a real passion for quality local food. The deli has been part of the town since 1837. If you’re unable to visit Bovey in person, you can have a taste of the Westcountry via their website,www.delimann.co.uk, where you can order delicious hampers and even a Devonshire Cream Tea!
Mann and Son are also part of The Cheese Shed, which has just been given the title of Best Independent Food Retailer by the Observer Food Monthly Awards. Again based in Bovey, their website promotes and sells artisan Westcountry cheeses across the UK. Have a look at their incredible cheese wedding cakes.
Spin A Yarn is heaven for knitters! Packed full of colours and textures, this shop sells locally produced organic wool as well as yarns from around the world, and they also host lots of courses and workshops. Other inspiring places to visit in the town are Bovey Handloom Weavers and independent jeweller Lasting Impressions.
Can I stay somewhere with a bit of character?
Bovey Tracey has numerous cosy and comfortable B&Bs to choose from and there are also a number of small hotels and pubs with rooms in the area. Our favourites are Oaklands,Whitstone Farm, Ashwell, The Edgemoor Hotel and for ultimate luxury and utter gorgeousness, Bovey Castle (pictured) is just up the road.
Where can I eat locally sourced food?
The Terrace Cafe at The Devon Guild serves delicious meals and snacks, and is one of our favourites for hot chocolate and toasted tea-cake. Ullacombe Barn Café is a few minutes drive towards the moor and well worth a visit for a hearty lunch and the finest sticky toffee pudding in the West! We also recommend The Carpenters Arms at Ilsington, The Café at The House of Marbles, The Agaric in Ashburton, The Cleave at Lustleigh and The White Horse at Moretonhampstead and for an extra treat, try the champagne cream tea at Bovey Castle.
What should I see, do or visit when I’m there?
You must visit the Jubilee Gallery at The Devon Guild which showcases nationally and internally renowned craftspeople. Their shop features over 200 makers’ work. Then take yourself to watch glassblowing at Teign Valley Glass (pictured) at The House of Marbles. Just outside Bovey is Yarner Wood with beautiful walks and events such as night-time lantern walks. Head for Ashburton if you love antiques – there are treasures galore here, including our favourites Apollo Antiques and The Snug.
You should also make time to take in the splendour Dartmoor. Visit Hound Tor and get a cup of tea from the ‘Hound of the Basket Meals’ mobile snack bar. If climbing, mountain or road cycling is your thing, you won’t be disappointed. Bovey was recently one of the host towns to the Tour of Britain Bike Race. Bovey is also perfectly positioned for trips to the south coast. If you like the hustle of the English Riviera, Torbay is just half an hour away. A little further and you’ll find the secluded coves and sandy beaches of the South Hams.
When is the best time of year to go?
The best time of year to visit Bovey Tracey is in June when the annual Contemporary Craft Festival takes place. It’s one of the largest and best craft fairs in the UK with almost 200 British craftspeople selling their work. You can meet many of the madebyhandonline makers exhibiting their work here, including Christine Kaltoft, Helen Noakes, Pacha,Julia Parry-Jones and Craig Fellows plus many more.
To find out more about the Contemporary Crafts Fair at Bovey Tracey, visit www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk.
For more information about visiting Bovey Tracey and the surrounding area, take a look at www.visitdevon.co.uk.
Map of Bovey Tracey
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