A day out in North Devon

This tour is centred on Tiverton, easily accessible from the M5 via Junction 27. It involves visits to a noted local house and garden at Knighthayes, an 18th Century woollen mill and Yearlstone vineyard.
Leave the M5 there and take the A373 towards Tiverton. At the junction with the A396, turn right towards Bampton. After about half a mile, turn right at Bolham and follow the signposts. It is about 7 miles from Jct 27


This is a National Trust property sited high over the town. It was built by the Heathcote-Amory family who were mill owners in the town. The view from the windows allowed them to oversee their textile mill in the town below. There are attractive woodland walks and a recently opened walled garden, as well as an exhibition of the works of William Burges who designed the house.

Leave Knighthayes and return to the A396. Follow this through the town and out on the Exeter road. Go on for about 3 miles after leaving the town, and you will see signs for Yearlstone Vineyard to the right.

Yearlstone Vineyard

Yearlstone was first developed by Gillian Pearkes, the noted viticulturalist, who first adapted the Guyot pruning system in Britain. She argued that low, closely spaced vines created a micro-climate that would encourage grape growth (and a bad back picking them!) The vineyard was taken over by Roger and Juliet White who have now developed it as a major tourist centre in the region. A large range of prize-wiinning wines are produced in the modern winery.

After leaving the winery, return to the A396, and continue along it. About 3 miles after leaving Bickleigh, turn left down a minor road to Silverton. Go through the village, passing the church on your right, going towards the village of Stockwell. There, take the right hand fork and after a mile, cross the River Culm Continue along this road until you cross the motorway and reach the junction with the B3181. Turn left and go north for about 7 miles, passing through Cullompton and Willand. Just north of Willand, the road forks. Take the right hand fork (B3440) to Uffculme. The Coldharbour Woollen mill is located in the village.

Coldharbour Mill

This 200 year old spinning mill was built in 1799 by Thomas Fox to spin woollen and later worsted yarns. It is a rare example of surviving Georgian architecture, industry and enterprise.

Since reopening as a museum in 1982 the mill has continued to produce high quality worsted knitting yarn on its period machinery. Take an exciting factory tour and marvel at the spinning frames and power looms, the enterprise and ingenuity of Thomas Fox and how Quaker attitudes influenced the treatment and welfare of mill employees. It is open daily from March to October and has a shop and cafe. It provides a fascinating demonstration of the workings of a water-powered cloth mill from the time when the South-West of England was the main provider of cloth in the country.

On leaving the mill, you can return to the M5 via a minor road leading north-westwards.

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