Weeke Barton

Near Moretonhampstead, Devon, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Abi Dare
A great-value B&B on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, with chic rooms, crackling fires and fabulous home-cooked food
When Jo and Sam swapped their hectic London life for the wilds of Dartmoor, they set about opening the hip yet homely rural retreat they’d always dreamt of - the kind of place where guests can kick off their shoes and unwind. You’d expect a former Conran restaurant manager and a graphic designer to know a thing or two about hospitality and style, and they’ve certainly created a winning formula: beautiful interiors, total tranquillity and a refreshingly laid-back vibe. We loved it when it first opened in 2012, and were just as impressed when we last visited in 2016.

The building - almost 500 years old and rumoured by locals to be the longest longhouse in Devon - is delightfully quirky, with ancient nooks and spiral staircases offset by sleek urban furniture and a smattering of contemporary art. The 5 bedrooms have beamed ceilings, deliciously comfy beds and sheepskin-covered window seats; one even has a decadent double-ended bathtub. Downstairs, Jo’s excellent home cooking is served up in front of a blazing wood-burner, and drinks await in the honesty bar. Whether you’re a city couple in need of a countryside fix or a family seeking lung-fulls of fresh air, it’s the stuff perfect getaways are made of.

Highs

  • A secluded setting, with green hills rolling out from every window, yet it’s only 20 minutes from Exeter and the M5
  • Tasty food, with lots of organic and local treats: Devon sausages at breakfast, wild venison for dinner, regional ales and biodynamic wines in the bar
  • Plenty to do nearby: moorland walks, beaches, wild swimming, horse-riding, historic houses
  • Plus a cosy lounge, a DVD library and a beautiful garden with hammocks and a firepit if you feel like doing nothing at all
  • Groups can take the whole house, or spread out at Jo and Sam's nearby self-catering cottage for 6-10

Lows

  • No mobile phone or TV signal - though you won’t miss it
  • The communal meals won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoyed the convivial atmosphere
  • Tall guests beware: low ceilings and stone archways mean bumped heads aplenty!
  • It’s approached via a single-track road and can be a little tricky to find - make sure you take detailed directions (provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape)

Best time to go

Any time of year - Weeke Barton is lovely whatever the weather. Spring and summer bring the best chance of sunshine for walking, riding and cycling (or lazy days in the garden), and autumn is ideal if you want to try your hand at shooting or foraging. But in our view you can't beat a warming winter break snuggled up in front of the fire.

Our top tips

If you can brave the chilly water, take a dip in one of Dartmoor’s beautiful wild-swimming spots. Jo and Sam recommend Spitchwick Common and Newbridge on the River Dart. Dawlish Warren beach is also 12 miles away.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ dinner on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Local maps and guide books
  • Boules pitch
Room: Henry\'s Room

Rooms

Accessed via a pair of staircases twisting up from the dining room, the 5 rooms are named after the children of the first guests to stay in them. All are stylish and soothing, with pared-down décor, views over hills and valleys, and an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary furniture. Throws and artwork provide pops of colour, and little details - an embroidered footstool, an owl-shaped lamp - are dotted here and there. We particularly loved the sheepskin-covered window seats in every room; perfect spots for curling up with a book.

On our first visit we were treated to Orla’s Room, a vast space with a double-ended in-room tub and a TV which swivels so you can watch DVDs (there’s no signal) as you snooze or soak. On our return we stayed in Henry’s Room, which has an ancient hearth and double sinks beneath soaring rafters. Almost as large is Avalon’s Room, which has a bath and shower; Otis’ Room and Alfie’s Room are smaller but no less lovely, with ensuite rain showers.

Beds throughout are super-kingsize or kingsize; you also get toiletries and hanging space, plus tea- and coffee-making stations either in the room or on the landing outside. Best of all, though, is the near-total silence, with nothing but the gentle braying of distant cattle to wake you from your slumber.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Jo’s penchant for local, seasonal and organic fare, combined with her deft hand in the kitchen, produces mouthwatering results. If it’s not homemade then it’s sourced nearby, and she’s even creating a biodynamic vegetable garden.

Dinner, available by prior arrangement, is a real treat. It kicks off with tipples from the honesty bar, before everyone moves to the vast communal dining table, lit by flickering candles and flanked by a glowing wood-burner, with jazz playing softly in the background. The dishes are delicious: we tucked into Dexter beef pie and a fennel salad, followed by damson crumble - perfect comfort food after a day roaming the moor.

Breakfast is similarly hearty. Laid out on the table are bottles of fresh apple juice, jars of homemade granola, baskets of home-baked bread, local jams and preserves, steaming pots of tea, and cafetières of coffee. Hot dishes are cooked to order - succulent sausages and bacon, eggs from a neighbouring farm, and juicy slow-baked tomatoes. In summer, you can eat outside on the terrace.

For lunch and evenings out, there are plenty of good pubs within a short drive. Our favourite was The Horse in Moretonhampstead, which serves up Mediterranean-inspired grub. Jo also recommends The Ruggle Stone in Widecombe, where outdoor tables line the banks of a burbling stream.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go walking among Dartmoor’s craggy granite tors and tumbling rivers. Jo and Sam have put together a booklet of tried and tested routes of varying lengths
  • Bike hire and horse-riding can be arranged if you’d prefer to explore on 2 wheels or 4 legs
  • Dartmoor is dotted with Bronze Age sites, including menhirs, stone circles, cairns and huts. Some of the most impressive are Upper Erme, Challacombe, Drizzlecombe, Grimspound and Merrivale, all within an hour's drive
  • Or fast-forward a few millennia and explore remnants of the area's fascinating industrial heritage, including the Wheal Betsy engine house, the ruined gunpowder factory at Powdermills, and the ghostly outline of the Haytor granite tramway
  • Visit Castle Drogo, 20 minutes away. Designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, it’s perched above the Teign gorge and was the last castle to be built in England
  • Wander along Lydford Gorge (40 minutes away), with its gushing whirlpools and the 30m-high White Lady Waterfall. Lydford village is also worth a stop for its ancient castle and thatched cottages
  • Spend a day on the beach. Dawlish Warren (25 minutes away) has sand dunes, safe swimming and traditional seaside cafés, while Exmouth (40 minutes away) is great for rock-pooling and kite-surfing. Bigbury (45 minutes away) is particularly pretty, with a 13th-century pub and sea tractors out to Burgh Island
  • In season, Jo and Sam can arrange shooting, fishing and foraging

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Climbing
  • Cycling
  • Foraging
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Shooting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Weeke Barton's laid-back ambiance makes it ideal for families seeking a stylish country base. Children of all ages are welcome; baby cots and extra beds can be added to rooms for a small supplement, though the steep staircases mean you’ll want to keep an eye on roving toddlers.

There are plenty of attractions nearby to keep little ones amused, and they may even spot a Dartmoor pony on the moors. Some of Devon’s best beaches are within striking distance, too.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can accommodate a baby cot, and the larger ones (Henry's Room, Avalon's Room and Orla's Room) have space for 1 or 2 rollaway beds. Avalon's Room and Orla's Room are the only rooms with bathtubs.

Babysitting:

Jo and Sam can recommend tried and tested babysitters.

Baby listening:

Baby monitors work between the bedrooms and the lounge, bar and dining room – you'll need to bring your own.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Highchair
  • Changing mats
  • Booster seat

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Jo can tailor dishes to young tastebuds by prior arrangement, and will happily prepare simple meals like pasta with tomato sauce. Children's supper is served at 5.30pm, and kids are welcome in the dining room until 7.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Boules pitch
  • Children’s DVDs
  • Garden
  • Craft materials, crayons and pens
  • Books

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Miniature Pony Centre (15 minutes away)
  • Castle Drogo (20 minutes away)
  • Bellever Woods (20 minutes away) - perfect for picnics and paddling in the river
  • Becky Falls (25 minutes away) - woodland park with waterfalls, a picnic area, bouldering and animals
  • Dawlish Warren beach (25 minutes away)
  • Woodlands (50 minutes away) - a family theme park and indoor playground suitable for all ages, including toddlers

Families Should Know:

All rooms are on the first floor, accessed via steep spiral staircases.

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 minutes (Exeter)
  • Hospital: 20 minutes (Exeter)
  • Shop: 15 minutes (Moretonhampstead)
Kid Friendly: Haytor Rocks Dartmoor National Park

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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