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Orford Mill - Tarka

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Great Torrington
Grade 4 Star rating
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English Country Cottages

From a touch of luxury to characterful heritage, experience one of our truly inspiring holiday properties.


A large cottage with character features set in grounds which are adjacent to RHS Rosemoor, and close to Great Torrington.

"Deep in Tarka the Otter country where the river glides beneath the trees and time stands still..."

Orford Mill lies alongside the River Torridge in a beautiful wooded valley, nestled below the historic town of Torrington. With its air of peace and tranquillity, abundant wildflowers and river life, it became the setting for Henry Williamson’s magical story of Tarka the Otter. Indeed, the mill wheel in which Tarka hid from the hound Deadlock was at Orford Mill. This superb location makes a wonderful holiday base, especially for families, with sandy beaches on the North Devon coast only 10 miles away.
The complex consists of a Grade II listed water mill and manor house, now converted into nine delightful cottages, all equipped to Visit Britain ‘4 Star’ standard. Most overlook the charming ornamental courtyard with its ponds and flowerbeds. Riverside is detached and overlooks the river. All cottages retain character features such as exposed beams and stonework, and each is furnished in an individual style to a very high standard. Guests can enjoy an indoor heated swimming pool, with lovely river views, as well as a spa room and all-weather tennis court, games room and fenced outdoor children’s play area. There is an on-site cafe with wi-fi (open 9am-9pm). In addition, fishing rights are available on 200 yards of river (bring own licence, or avail locally at cost). All the waterways are safely fenced.
The countryside around Orford Mill is dotted with sleepy villages nestled among the hills, while extensive woodlands, traversed by many footpaths, offer the chance to experience the area’s natural beauty at close quarters. Adjacent to the grounds are the renowned RHS gardens at Rosemoor, and other local attractions include Dartington Crystal, offering a factory tour and visitor centre. Great Torrington is only a mile away with good shopping and amenities, and there is golf at nearby Hartland. Orford Mill adjoins Torrington Common which extends to 365 acres, incorporating 20 miles of footpaths. The common is a haven for wildlife. The ‘Big Sheep’ and ‘Milky Way’ theme parks are each less than 10 miles away.
The River Torridge runs downstream to the ancient port of Bideford, still with a working quay offering boat trips out to Lundy Island. Just around the corner is the attractive little town of Appledore with its colourful houses and narrow streets. To either side lies Devon’s most spectacular stretch of coastal scenery – a chain of magnificent cliffs and rocky promontories, interspersed here and there by long flat sandy beaches, where the Atlantic breakers roll in to create ideal surfing conditions. There are splendid beaches at Instow and Westward Ho!, the latter bordered by the Royal North Devon Golf Club, and the Northam Nature Reserve. Further west is the supremely picturesque Clovelly, whose narrow, cobbled main street descends at a dizzying gradient to the little harbour below. To the south, the cathedral city of Exeter can be reached via a delightful drive through lush river valleys.
Orford Mill offers very attractive accommodation set in 3 acres of beautiful gardens with streams, waterfalls and the water wheel which is still operational. Excellent as a touring base, it makes a good choice for a holiday whatever the weather. Shop ½ mile.

This three-storey property is a converted former mill enjoying river and countryside views, with the original mill wheel still in place. Open-plan living/dining room with electric woodburner and 42in plasma TV. Well-equipped, modern fitted kitchen. First floor: Double bedroom with TV and en-suite shower room with toilet. Two twin bedrooms. Family bathroom. Second floor: Double bedroom with TV and en-suite shower room with toilet. Two twin bedrooms. Family bathroom. Separate toilet. Low ceilings on second floor.

  • Electric woodburner included
  • DVD

  • Electricity, full oil central heating (controlled by owner), bed linen and towels included
  • Cot, travel cot and high chair by arrangement
  • TV with digital terrestrial channels
  • Stereo/CD
  • Microwave
  • Washer/dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge/freezer
  • Wi-fi (in on-site café, open 9am - 9pm)
  • Shared grounds with sitting-out area and furniture
  • Gas barbecues for hire by arrangement
  • Ample parking
  • Shared games room with pool table, games machines
  • Shared outside area with table tennis
  • Shared indoor heated swimming pool (12ft x 33ft) with changing and shower facilities
  • Shared spa room with hot tub, wet and dry saunas
  • Massage and beauty treatments by arrangement
  • Shared hard all weather tennis court (bring own equipment, and tennis shoes – no trainers)
  • Professional tennis ball machine with wide speed variation from 12-80 mph for hire (over 16s only)
  • On-site river fishing (bring own licence, or available locally at cost)
  • Children’s play area with swings and playhouse
  • Heidi’s Hideaway (playroom for toddlers and young children)
  • Adventure fort
  • No smoking
  • NB: Securely fenced river on-site
  • Main TV in each cottage is linked (via colour camera) to its own individual bird box, providing live images on TV

Read more 


  • BarbecueBarbecue
  • Detached PropertyDetached Property
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • Games RoomGames Room
  • HighchairHighchair
  • Pub within 1 milePub within 1 mile
  • Hot TubHot Tub
  • Rural LocationRural Location
  • StairgateStairgate
  • Christmas Themed CottageChristmas Themed Cottage
  • WifiWifi
  • Cot AvailableCot Available
  • Swimming PoolSwimming Pool
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine
  • FishingFishing
  • No PetsNo Pets
  • Heritage CollectionHeritage Collection
  • Car Parking - Designated On SiteCar Parking - Designated On Site

Customer Comments

  • 6

    Confirmed guest, 05/08/2016
    All the potential for a great family holiday (good location, beautiful building, and loved the warm indoor pool and kids play areas), but really let down by the owner's attitude. He greeted us after an 11 hour journey with a list of rules, and constantly complained about these being broken, (eg children on grassy area of playground without shoes, one wheel of our pram was on the carpet). We had paid over £3,000 for a week's stay and expected decent accommodation and customer service - the cottage was fine but tired (dishwasher broke, tumble drier didn't work) and we were made to feel very unwelcome.

  • 7

    Confirmed guest, 03/06/2016
    A lovely location with good potential. Has all that was listed on site, however surprised that payment required for games room, spa etc. Owner is quite a character too with many ground rules, which makes you feel a bit like you ate bring monitored. Saying all this place comfortable, perfectly situated and lots of space for big party. Great holiday with our family.

  • 8

    Confirmed guest, 19/02/2016
    Lovely location and mainly comfortable. I think it would be a tight squeeze if there were 12 of you. We only had 10 and managed nicely. Do take extra towels with you as you are only provided with one medium sized one. Also loo rolls. The pool was slightly cloudy and very highly chlorinated so take goggles. Because of heavy rain and flooding, the playground areas were out of bounds. You are also asked to take off your shoes the minute you get into the house so take slippers with you.

  • 10

    Confirmed guest, 02/11/2015
    loved this house ,was a little worried after previous review's but never heard or saw any vermin and certainly nothing running above the lounge ,spotlessly clean,lovely setting ,grandchildren loved the pool,the candy floss and popcorn machines and the playhouse,and also the Halloween figures around the ground's,you can see a lot of work is going into the upkeep of this site ,we found the owner's very friendly,yes theyr'e are rules & regulation's but it is nice to walk into a house that was spotlessl'y clean and we are used to removing shoes at home,the only comment we made in the book was that maybe a porch out by front door might help if a lot of people were staying as we did find it awkward with children to all remove shoes outside the door in pouring rain ,and the house does sleep 12,but apart from that it was great,would love to visit when the weather is warmer as i think there was a lot we did not see.

  • 3

    Confirmed guest, 29/05/2015
    The surrounding area was wonderful, but we were extremely disappointed with and shocked by the standard of accommodation, given how much we had paid for a week's stay. On arrival we were met by the owner who provided a very cold "welcome" to the cottage, and a long list of rules about what children and adults were or were not allowed to do. A very negative experience. In addition, we could smell urine throughout the house from the outset and heard rodents running across the ceiling in the lounge every evening, which was most distrubing. We mentioned our concerns about this to the owner who initially denied any knowledge of rodents at the residence, but then admitted it was a general problem given the location, and pest controls had been put around the house. But essentially we were offered no apology and nothing changed in this regard during our stay. It was a particularly worrying situation, given that our family included a 4 month old baby, sleeping in a pram bassinet close to the bedroom floor above the lounge. In addition: the fridge space was very limited given the number of guests that can stay at the house, we could only have one shower running at a time in order to have warm water and there was no evidence of a proper fire escape for the upstairs bedrooms, particularly for the top floor. In sum, our high expectations, as set by the website Cottages4you, were unfortunately never met. We will never book this cottage again, nor would we recommend anyone to stay there. A real disappointment.

    Response from:

    Response on behalf of the Owner; We were disappointed to read your review, in light of the fact that your holiday was nearly 4 months ago, and at no time did you raise any issues with us or with Cottages 4 You. If you were unhappy, we would have expected a complaint at the time, if not to us, then certainly to the Cottages 4 You Customer Service Department. Tarka is a large property, on 3 floors, with 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Your claim of a smell of urine throughout the house is unfounded as is your claim of rodents in the ceiling. There is a full size fridge, full size freezer and a wine cooler in the cottage which are entirely adequate. There are 2 hot water tanks supplying just this cottage so guests are able both showers simultaneously. A gentleman in your party did approach us about fire precautions and we assured him that all fire precautions are fully met and complied with. Nevertheless, he reported us to the Fire Service, who visited us the following week, checked the cottage and agreed that all necessary fire regulations are being met. The cottage has half hour fire doors to every room, linked smoke alarms, fire extinguishers on every floor, and two exits on the ground floor. In the unlikely event of a fire, given that there is no gas on the property, and no smoking is allowed, guests would have plenty of time to evacuate the property. The Fire Service advised us that you would receive a copy of their report, yet despite this; you choose to raise the issue again in a review, which we find totally unnecessary given that your complaint had no foundation. All of our cottages are inspected regularly by a representative from Cottages 4 You and all have been awarded 4 star rating.

View All Guest Reviews

6.3 out of 10 – based on 6 reviews collected by Reevoo
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