Drive to Seaton and park in the main car park by the Tramway. Catch the miniature Tram to Colyton, travelling along the side of the River Axe. Birdlife is abundant along here and the Trams are popular with all ages. On arrival in Colyton there are several places to eat, from award winning local pies and pasties from Colyton Butchers to full à la carte meals in the pubs and restaurants.
Car Mileage: Seaton 6 miles
South West Coast Path and the Jurassic Coast
The South West Coast Path National Trail is rated as one of the top walks to be found anywhere in the world by Lonely Planet voted Britain’s bets walking route by the readers of Walk magazine. The section closest to Higher Wiscombe is also part of the Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural World Heritage Site. Covering 95 miles of coastline from East Devon to Dorset, is has 185 million years of the Earth’s history on show. World Heritage status was achieved because the Jurassic Coast provides a unique insight into Earth Sciences. It shows a geological ‘walk through time’ spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. World Heritage Sites are places of ‘outstanding universal value’ selected by Unesco.
We are only four miles from the coast at Beer, Branscombe and Sidmouth. You can take a boat trip along the coast and see the rock formations from the sea. These run from Lyme Regis, Sidmouth and Topsham in season. One of the most interesting walks between Seaton and Lyme Regis. Drive to Seaton and park in the main car park by the Tramway. Walk towards Axmouth, in an easterly direction and look for the South West Coastal Path. The walk to Lyme Regis is 7.5 miles and really gets you close to the Jurassic Coast as well as the famous Under Cliffs, one of the best bird watching spots in the UK, before emerging in Lyme Regis with beautiful Regency buildings and the Cob, made famous by the book and film “The French Lieutenants Woman”. There are some great places to eat, from The Alexandra Hotel with lovely gardens overlooking the harbour, to pubs, café’s and a great chip shop by the Millenium clock on the front. Catch the bus back from Lyme Regis Square to Seaton, the buses are numbers X53 and X54 and you get off in Seaton, about a quarter of a mile from where you parked your car.
Car Mileage: Seaton 6 miles
Bicton Park has amazing gardens, a miniature railway, a restaurant and many other attractions. It is popular with all age groups and is set in the most beautiful countryside. Easy to spend a whole day there. Head from Higher Wiscombe towards Sidmouth, keep going on the A3052 towards Exeter, signs for Bicton will start after you travel through Newton Poppleford.
Car Mileage: Bicton 14 miles
Another great Family Day out. There are gardens, an amazing hedge maze, very difficult to escape from, and you can get up close to the only breeding Red Squirrels in South West England. There are more small animals for the children as well as very cheeky otters and birds of prey. Make sure you make feeding times. There are bird of prey flying displays, a working blacksmith, a good restaurant, with very local food and much more. You can even do a Segway or Quad bike safari. Once again easy to spend a day here. To get there go to Honiton and turn left on the A30 to Exeter and then follow the brown signs.
Car Mileage: Fairmile 9 miles
Pecorama is a combination of wonderful gardens and a miniature steam railway in the grounds of the Peco model railway company (UK rival to Chinese built Hornby) overlooking the sea at Beer. Great selection of model railways to look at before heading into the beautiful gardens, many displays laid out by famous designers which you can walk around or travel on the best miniature railway we have seen. The children’s play areas are exceptional. We take all our friends who come to stay here especially if they have young children or elderly relatives with them. It also has an indoor ball play area. Head for Beer and look for signs to Pecorama.
Car Mileage: Beer 5 miles
Beer Quarry Caves
Not open all year so check by ringing 01297 680282. If possible not to be missed. They have been quarrying Beer stone here since Roman times, and the quarries are underground. Vast amphitheatres as big as football pitches tell a fascinating story, from the Romans, to medieval times to the famous smugglers of Beer and more. The stone for St Pauls Cathedral and Exeter Cathedral was quarried here. Very cool even in summer so wrap up warm before entering. Head for Beer and follow the signs to the caves.
Car Mileage: Beer 5 miles
River Cottage Canteen
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food. His River Cottage Canteen at Axminster is an excellent local café with a wide selection of excellent local produce. It also has a deli section. It is more relaxed than his River Cottage HQ and you don’t usually need to book unless there is one of his special events. Tel:01297 631715.
Car Mileage: 12 miles
Fossiling at Charmouth
Charmouth is the best and safest place to go fossil collecting along the Jurassic Coast. The rocks here formed on the sea bed nearly 200 million years ago when conditions were perfect for preserving shells and bones as fossils. Today these soft rocks are eroded easily by the fierce winter storms and the fossils that get released are mixed into the beach shingle. Most of these fossils are small and common and collecting them to take home is perfectly acceptable.
There is a wealth of information and hammer hire at the visitor centre.
Car Mileage: 15 miles
Forde Abbey in Dorset is a treasure in an area already known for its outstanding beauty. It is a family home as well as a living and breathing working estate, and welcomes visitors all year round It is a great family outing in beautiful Dorset, lovely gifts in the shop, plant nursery, tasty refreshments in the tearoom – something for everyone.
The Pick-Your-Own Fruit Farm is initially for strawberries and gooseberries, then raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, jostaberrie, and tayberries through the season. You can call the Fruit Farm on 01460 30460. A pivotal scene in the new film “Far From the Madding Crowd” was filmed at Forde Abbey, where the Great Hall features as the Corn Exchange. This is where the very first meeting between Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) and Mr Boldwood (Michael Sheen) takes place, as she bargains with the corn dealers. email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01460 220231.
Car Mileage: 19 miles
Fishing at Beer
The town of Beer, once famous for smuggling, but now known for its fantastic fishing and beautiful cove – a suntrap sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds, with shingly beach nestling below the chalk cliffs, is the ideal take off point of a bit of mackerel fishing.
While the sleek silvery Mackerel swim in deep water around 300m deep over winter, they return to the shallows off the coast in the summer months to spawn, often in fast moving shoals numbered in their thousands. This is where, with the aid of locals that have been fishing these coasts for generations, you can get your hands on a fresh catch of these tasty morsels.
A mackerel fishing trip from Beer Beach normally last for one to three hours and is ideal for children or groups wanting something a bit different for a day out. Not only do the kids get a fair chance of catching a mackerel (with bait, lines and expert tuition all provided) but a couple of hours on the high seas also provide the chance to a variety of wild frolicking in their natural habitat.
Car Mileage: 5 miles