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A day in Kingsbridge

Our local town of Kingsbridge, just over 6 miles from Beeson Farm, is a wonderful local hub that sits at the head of the Salcombe Estuary.

In summer children love to sit on the embankment with their crabbing lines and watch the boats come and go. The estuary is well used by boats, kayakers and paddleboarders as well as the Kingsbridge-Salcombe ferry.

Kingsbridge town is a lovely mix of independent shops, galleries, antique/vintage shops, places of worship and cafes.

Start off your day at the very top of town at the Cookworthy Museum where you can discover the history of the local area. After your visit pop across the road to the worlds smallest nightclub, housed in a telephone box!

Head down fore street stopping at the community garden on the way.  Walk under the Shambles (an old market hall on raised granite pillars dating from Elizabethan times) and you will come across the old town hall, now the towns cinema. The cinema is one of the most recognisable buildings in the town, with its distinctive clock face which has only three faces- the fourth faced the old workhouse and so wasn’t added to prevent the inmates from clock watching!

Discover the eclectic mix of shops and galleries that line Fore Street. With something for all ages from toy shops (The Trading Post and Non Such) to independent clothes shops (Posh Totti, Cocoa, Spotted, Mint Dress Agency), galleries (the Mayne Gallery, Tidal Gallery and The Art Cafe where you can paint your own pottery) and the wonderful Harbour bookshop.

Coming off the highstreet you can find many little alleyways lined with cottages – often with fascinating names such as Squeezebelly Alley. As the name suggests it is too narrow for more than one person to pass through at a time!

Pass the entrance to the estuary and hop on the miniature railway to the end of the line where you can disembark for the recreation ground (with excellent childrens playgroud) or walk on down for a drink at the Crabhsell Inn overlooking the water.

Kingsbridge has a thriving antiques scene with the Antiques and Craft Centre on Ebrington Street and the eclectic Two Rooms on Lower Union Road (a bazaar of the bizarre, full floor to ceiling with treasures and well worth a rummage!), as well as numerous charity shops.

Kingsbridge Information Centre sits on the town square and the staff are very  happy to help  with recommendations for places to eat and things to do.

No matter what the time of year there are plenty of local events in the town to choose from, incluing the regular farmers market, Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival (June), Kingsbridge Fair Week (July) Kingsbridge Show (September) and Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas (December)

Kingsbridge also has an indoor pool and sports centre.

Eating Out

Kingsbridge has something to suit all tastes and also numerous takeaways. For families we recommend eating the Art Café, the Crabshell Inn, Cool Beans Coffee shop, La Ranchera (amazing Mexican food) or the Fat Monkey.

For light lunches we can recommend Harbour House Café at the Arts and Yoga centre which has a delicious menu of vegetarian and vegan food, new arrival Fika, a Scandinavian inspired coffee house, and the Old Bakery which has a beautiful courtyard.

For a special meal head to Wild Artichokes (run by chef Jane Baxter) or Twenty Seven run by Jamie Rogers

Whatever you get up to on a day out in Kingsbridge we hope you enjoy it!

Give up plastic this Lent

We recently read this article about giving up plastic for Lent https://metro.co.uk/2018/02/14/best-thing-give-lent-plastic-not-chocolate-7312789/?ito=social&fbclid=IwAR0ICRmiGWBp4LXCmfDn6oXwvpTdBTwcl585sEfociUxgmJcNBH8-gzy4oU

We all agree that single use plastic is absurd and the effects of plastic pollution in our oceans are starting to be seen everywhere. We will certainly be considering how we shop and the products we choose to try and go plastic free for Lent and hope that our self catering guests do too…

Stokeley farm shop has everything you could need from a high quality butcher, cheese counter, fresh baked goods, local vegetables, locally produced beer, wine and gin and all other manner of groceries and essentials. The shop is very happy for you to take your own containers for your meat etc. You can also take home your produce from the butchery and deli counters in your own reusable containers to help reduce single use plastic.

Pretty local is on online marketplace offering a fantastic array of high quality food and drink. Each of their sellers is located in south devon within a 20 mile radius of Kingsbridge, keeping food miles to a minimum and supporting local farmers and producers. Order online by midnight on Wednesday to have your food delivered to your cottage on a Friday so it is in the kitchen for you when you arrive (they will even unpack everything and put items that need it into the fridge). We are pleased to see that most items come in a paper bag or without uneccessary plastic packaging.

Milk – we supply our cottages with milk from Dartmouth Dairy, making sure there is a pint in the fridge for you when you arrive. Their delicious locally produced milk is delivered to our doorstep in glass bottles, which we then return to them for reuse and we are delighted that as the tide turns against plastic waste the old fashioned milkman is making a comeback!

Cleaning products we use biodegradable, eco friendly cleaning products on our changeovers and try to ensure that our cottages are equipped with the same. We use Bio D products which are approved by Cruelty Free International and the Vegan Society, which are also hypoallergenic. we buy in bulk and refill our own containers. We also use Ecover cleaning products, which are mostly renewable, biodegradable plant based ingredients.

Our handwash and washing up liquid is also supplied in bulk and we refill plastic bottles ensuring that we aren’t contributing to the plastic waste problem.

We encourage all our guests to recycle via the recycling bins in the shed. We thoroughly clean and reuse empty plastic bottles for our homemade farmhouse cider and apple juice each year. We encourage guests to compost their food scraps which we use on the garden- or where applicable feed to our guinea pigs and chickens (they both love a broccoli stalk!)

Lets take just 6 weeks to try and make a change.

Shop Local this Christmas

South Devon knows how to kick off Christmas! Both Dartmouth and Kingsbridge have wonderful Christmas fairs. Dartmouth opens the festive season with a unique Candlelit evening (November 24th-25th) lantern parade and Christmas market.  Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas is the first weekend in December and showcases local artisans, food producers and independent retailers.

This year I have decided to focus our Christmas shopping locally as well as crafting our own gifts. If I cant make it I am going to buy it in the South Hams – indeed I think everything on this list can be found within a 10mile radius of Beeson Farm!

Here are our top gifts that can be found in the South Hams:

My Sister in Law recently had a baby,  so we decided to buy something practical, beautiful and handmade from Wifflepigs (based near Start Point Lighthouse) who make beautiful handmade baby clothes in quirky and colourful fabrics. Prices start at £8 for a pair of leggings. https://www.facebook.com/wifflepigs/

Naturemake is run by local artist Naomi who also offers workshops locally throughout the year. She sells kits online to make your own sculptures from natural materials (think unicorns, fairy houses, boats, tree houses made from wood, shells, petals etc). Our children have found pure delight in her workshopsand the Christmas scene we made a few years ago is now a treasured Christmas heirloom. Her kits make ideal Christmas gifts for children (and adults) of all ages. Its great to know that the recipients of these gifts can make something special, unique, eco-friendly and beautiful. Prices start at £7.50 for a small robin kit https://naturemake.co.uk/shop/

For a happy Ginmas what better than a bottle of locally produced Gin? The perfect drink to get you through the long winter nights in front of the log fire!  Salcombe Gin distillery opened in 2016 and its Start Point Gin has won numerous awards.  A ticket to the Salcombe gin school would be a fabulous experience for a gin lover and a bottle of Salcombe Gin is definitely on my list of Christmas list! https://www.salcombegin.com/

My son is a chilli fiend- the hotter the better! So this year I am off to the South Devon Chilli Farm for some Christmas shopping. Everything spicy from Chilli Chocolate to a grow your own Chilli plant is available in store or online.  https://www.southdevonchillifarm.co.uk/

My daughter and I love to collect sea glass from our local beaches and have been following the work of devon jeweller Olivia Joy Jones (who started off in Beeson) for a few years. This year we both want one of her stunning sea glass necklaces which she sells from the Gallery at Avon Mill Garden Centre. The Gallery also stocks a beautiful selection of cards, ceramics, art and other unique pieces. https://www.facebook.com/The-Gallery-at-Avon-Mill-1673482926234362/

Another local artist we have been following on social media for a while is Hallsands Hidden Treasures. She makes beautiful decorations for the home using scavenged drift wood and natural materials from the beach, as well as plastics which have washed up, which she sells on Etsy. Her decorations really add something uniquely Devon to the Christmas tree- we especially love her hanging jellyfish made from limpet shells! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HallsandsTreasures?ref=search_shop_redirect

This year we bought some of graphic designer Jennifer Cooper Designs beautiful pictures of the local area to adorn the walls of our cottages. Her designs feature local landmarks and towns such as Burgh Island, Overbecks, Salcombe and Kingsbridge. They make a beautiful gift for someone who has Devon in their blood, or to remind you of a holiday well spent in Devon! Prices start at £15  https://www.jennifercooperdesigns.com/

This Christmas avoid the battle of the highstreet. Shop local, shop ethical, shop unique and see what your local community has to offer.