We were late arriving at our Exmoor accommodation, near Dulverton, but the lovely couple who run The Copse B&B were totally relaxed about it. They enjoy Exmoor too, and understood that we’d wanted to squeeze every minute out of what had been an idyllic sunny Saturday. We’d been walking in the Doone Valley almost on the North Somerset coast, and Dulverton is on the southern edge of Exmoor National Park. Although it’s only about 25 miles away (and only 15 as the crow flies), it took us almost an hour to get there on these rural roads. But it was a fantastic drive, right through the very heart of the National Park as the day was heading for dusk.
The View from the Rear Windows of the Copse B&B
near Dulverton on Exmoor
All Photos (c) Mike Watson
Brushford is a couple of miles south of Dulverton, close enough for us to unpack and drive straight back, in search of somewhere to eat. Despite us being late, and rushed, our hosts Sally and Mike were as easy-going and as friendly as could be. They gave us some dining suggestions in Dulverton, steered us away from another pub elsewhere, and made us both feel incredibly welcome in their delightful and spacious modern house.
The Copse has only two guest bedrooms, giving it an intimate feel and it seemed more like visiting friends than staying in a B&B. One room is called Bluebell but we were in Poppy, which did indeed have a cheerful Poppy feel about it (left). The bed had one of the comfiest mattresses we’ve slept on for a long time, and the ensuite shower room was pleasingly spacious rather than being a cramped afterthought.
There was also a great view from the window, and in fact there were great views all over the house as Mike is a talented landscape photographer and his photos adorn many of the walls. They really are exceptional, and you can see some of his Exmoor photos in the gallery here. So anyone wanting photographic advice, or keen to know where the most scenic spots are – and what time of day is best – then Mike is your man. He's also kindly allowed us to reproduce some of his photos here.
Exmoor Ponies Have their Morning Planning Meeting
We definitely needed Mike’s help for the following morning, as we’d arranged to do the annual deer rut walk on Exmoor, led by one of the National Park Rangers. The bad news was that it began at 7.15am at a place called Anstey Gate – and we had no idea where that was. Mike not only printed out a detailed map for us, showing us the route, he showed us some beautiful photos of a nearby standing stone, so we would know we were at the right spot.
Sally also offered to get up early and cook us breakfast, which was definitely above and beyond the call of duty. We’d have been happy with a bowl of cereal left out for us, which is what many b&b's and guesthouses would have done. Not Sally – she was up with the lark, preparing the full English breakfast for us, which was amazingly tasty and filling. It set us up for the next few hours, and the deer rut walk.
One of Mike Watson's Photos of a Stag on Exmoor
We loved the Copse, and were so sad we arrived late and had to leave early. Sally and Mike were the nicest couple, really helpful and interesting hosts who we enjoyed talking to. The accommodation was perfect, and it was hard to believe the room rates – extremely cheap, we thought. Next time we’re visiting Exmoor and need accommodation near Dulverton, we’ll be going back to enjoy a proper visit.
Dec 26, 16 03:03 AM
Beyond London Travel visits Floors Castle near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, family home of the Duke of Roxburghe and one of VisitScotland's 5-star visitor attractions, a Scottish Downton Abbey.
Dec 04, 16 12:37 PM
The Beyond London Travel Books page reviews guidebooks, history, mysteries and fiction to help readers enjoy their visits to England, the UK, France, and beyond.
Dec 04, 16 12:20 PM
Beyond London Travel reviews Food Trails, a new guidebook from Lonely Planet for the culinary traveller which helps you plan 52 Perfect Weekends in the world's tastiest destinations.