Stay the Night: Longlands, Devon

They may be under canvas, but these lodges offer country elegance and comfort, as James Litston discovers

Even the most committed urbanite cannot fail to be won over by Longlands. Opening on Friday in rural North Devon, right on the fringes of Exmoor National Park, this intimate retreat is the latest incarnation of the ever expanding "glamping" phenomenon.

Don't be fooled by their canvas roofs; Longlands' three sturdy lodges may look like tents but their stylish interiors and en-suite facilities will satisfy the softest of city dwellers. They combine all the romance of camping with the stay-at-home comforts of a country B&B.

Tucked into a sheltered valley with views across rolling hills to the sea, the lodges make a handy base for exploring the 17-acre property and the attractions on its doorstep, from Exmoor to Victorian resorts, cliff-top walks, and the wonderful beaches at Woolacombe and Croyde.

The rooms

The three (there will eventually be five) lodges have been thoughtfully positioned to overlook the surrounding countryside rather than each other. Each is dug into the hillside to provide protection from the elements and comes with its own private barbecue platform and broad, elevated wooden deck. Inside, it's all about country elegance. This translates into vintage leather sofas, beautiful fabrics, antique dressers and a blanket box filled with family-friendly games. There's an activity pack for children, too.

The identical lodges each sleep six (one king bed, two singles and a further double housed within a cosy cabin) and have wooden flooring, a fully equipped kitchen with wood-burning stove, another wood-burner for the en-suite shower, luxury bedding, a separate loo/washroom ... in fact just about every convenience (except electricity, of course – that would be cheating).

Out and about

For outdoor antics, Longlands has its own nature trails and small boating lake, while the national park's perimeter lies just over the next hill. Experience Exmoor (01271 889316; experienceexmoor.co.uk) offers exploratory adventures in this wide, open space (both on foot and electric bike), or take a 4x4 safari to seek deer, wild ponies and perhaps even the legendary Beast of Exmoor.

Children can interact with creatures great and small at the Wildlife and Dinosaur Park (01271 882486; wildlifedinosaurpark.co.uk) or find their own among the rock pools at Ilfracombe's Tunnels Beaches (tunnelsbeaches.co.uk). Adults can make up their own minds about Verity, Damien Hirst's controversial, 20m-tall bronze statue, which was permanently installed atop the harbour walls last October.

The Tarka Trail is a popular cycle path along a disused railway line that the fictional Tarka the Otter followed in Henry Williamson's novel (Rent bikes from Biketrail: 01271 372586; biketrail.co.uk.) Or hit Woolacombe Sands for a walk or a surfing lesson (01271 871337; nickthorn.com), then warm up with lunch at the Sands on the Beach in nearby Saunton (01271 891288; sauntonsands.co.uk).

The food and drink

The lodges come stocked with larder essentials, plus pots of fresh herbs and a bowl of fruit. Top up with supermarket shopping in Ilfracombe (a 15-minute drive away), or opt for local produce from the farm shop just up the road. Even more convenient is the Longlands Larder, an on-site honesty shop selling everything from apple chutney to "zingy zucchini" pasta sauce. There's also a menu of home-made dishes (lasagne, Thai curry and vanilla cheesecake) that can be ordered in advance and warmed up in the stove; plus the Longlands Cellar has local and international wines, beers and ciders.

A DIY breakfast is delivered in wicker baskets (featuring eggs and sausages sourced from the neighbouring farm), plus there's the option of a barbecue basket with burgers, marinated chicken drumsticks, coleslaw, salads and marshmallows for toasting.

Of course, you can't come to Devon and not have a cream tea. Lynton and Lynmouth are pretty Victorian seaside towns filled with naughty-but -nice cake shops for that essential fix of scones and clotted cream. They'll be joined this summer by Longlands@Lynton – a deli featuring "best of the west" local produce in the form of salads, pasties, biscuits, pies and other picnic-friendly fare.

As for eating out, The Hunters Inn (01598 763230; thehuntersinn.net), hidden away at the bottom of wooded Heddon Valley, is a great bet for hearty pub grub.

The essentials

Longlands Farm, Coulsworthy, Combe Martin, North Devon EX34 0PD (01271 882004; longlandsdevon.co.uk). Three-night breaks from £475. Up to two dogs are welcome per lodge, at an additional cost of £25 per dog (bed, towels and bowls provided).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Guru Careers: Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager is req...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future