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Orford Mill - Tarka

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Great Torrington, Devon
Grade 4 Star rating
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This property is part of our English Country Cottages collection

English Country Cottages

An inspiring collection of properties chosen for their character, luxury and heritage, all graded 4 star and above.


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)
  • 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 


  • Barbecue
  • Detached Property
    Detached Property
  • Dishwasher
  • Games Room
    Games Room
  • Highchair
  • Pub within 1 mile
    Pub within 1 mile
  • Rural Location
    Rural Location
  • Stairgate
  • Christmas Themed Cottage
    Christmas Themed Cottage
  • Cot Available
    Cot Available
  • Swimming Pool
    Swimming Pool
  • Washing Machine
    Washing Machine
  • Fishing Nearby
    Fishing Nearby
  • No Pets Allowed
    No Pets Allowed
  • Heritage Collection
    Heritage Collection
  • Shared Hot Tub
    Shared Hot Tub
  • Car Parking - On Site
    Car Parking - On Site
  • Children's Play Area
    Children's Play Area

Customer Comments

  • 8

    Confirmed guest, 06/01/2017
    We all felt very good in the cottage, we really loved the location but the cottage cleaning conditions where poor and the heating was a disaster. Not much organized about it. I had my daughter of 2 years and a half with us and in our room was nighttime 16 degrees, was quite cold I should say. And for the heating hours was all good but too many hours without heating made the stone house really cold. Also, jacuzzi wasn't working at all, flies and cobwebs everywhere, pool cold water, not fantastic like the presentation. Honestly, the cottage and surroudings were great and nothing else to be very much appreciated.

    Response from:

    Response on behalf of the owner; We were very surprised to read your review. Firstly, this cottage was thoroughly cleaned by us personally on the day of your arrival and there were no cobwebs or flies. Given that the first members of your party arrived at 10 am when the booking conditions state arrival time is 3pm onwards (and therefore we were still getting the cottage ready), we feel the comments to be unfair. The central heating was on every day from 7 – 11 am and from 5 – 11pm. In addition, there is an electric fire in the living/dining area for use at any time. The walls of the cottage are 3ft thick and retain heat incredibly well and 16 degrees at night is well within the recommendations for bedrooms at night, added to which all our duvets are 13.5 tog. Due to an incident, the swimming pool had to be shock treated which caused a drop in temperature of 1-2 degrees just for one day. The hot tub was out of use for a short time while we treated the water between users. As you were here for a week, we feel this did not cause too much inconvenience and we are disappointed by the comments.

  • 8

    Confirmed guest, 28/12/2016
    Took family of 11 away for Christmas break. Excellent downstairs but in wet and muddy conditions it is difficult to keep light carpets clean. Could do with boot room and downstairs toilet. Living room excellent for a large party. Bedrooms and bathrooms all good but could do with more cupboard room to hang clothes. Temperature was difficult to control as heating was on a timer locked away in cupboard. Swimming pool and games room a godsend with four active teenagers and they were in use constantly. Local pubs and restaurants were mainly closed even on normal business days so all meals had to be in the cottage although we had a lovely walk along the beach on Boxing Day, very cold and windy. Owners helpful but there were a lot of rules and regulations. Overall very enjoyable but if we were to go back it would be in the summer months when we could get out more.

  • 7

    Confirmed guest, 29/11/2016
    We traveled to tarka cottage as a group of 9 adults & 3 children, when we arrived we had no hot water as the owner forgot to put the emusion on, but I will say that once it was on the water was hot, we also found that the swimming pool was quite cold and the hot tub was out of action, we were a bit disappointed with this as these facilities were our main attraction, it was lovely to have all the family together but the stay could have been better if the hot tub & pool were maintained to a usable standard,

    Response from:

    Response on behalf of the owner; We were very surprised to read such a negative review from you, as you said what a wonderful weekend you had had and that you wanted to return. We were particularly astonished at your comment about the hot tub - several of your party used the hot tub to the extent that we had to treat the water, during which it could not be used. It was in full use the whole time apart from this. We apologised to you that when you arrived we had overlooked to turn on the hot water which we sorted out immediately

  • 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.

    Response from:

    Response on behalf of the Owner; We were very disappointed to read your very exaggerated and unfair review. We have only one “house rule” at Orford Mill – we ask everyone to please remove outdoor shoes in the cottages, and not to go around outside in bare or stockinged feet. This request was ignored, even after 2 days of very heavy rain; the children were running around the play area – which by then was very boggy - in bare feet. The dishwasher was out of use for no more than an hour and a half – you came and told us that there was a leak; it took only a short time for us to buy and fit a new drain hose. During this repair, you were pushing your toddler around the living room in her buggy trying to get her to sleep, and we respectfully pointed out the mud on the carpet from the wheels. After you left, we had to clean the downstairs carpets, not only due to the mud, but also several drink spillages. We also had to clean a lot of fibre-tip pen scribbles from walls and side tables, and we had to replace the entire set of table mats as the fibre tip pen marks wouldn’t come off. If you had a problem with the tumble dryer, you should have informed us so that we could see to it. Telling us about it in a review weeks later doesn’t help.

  • 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.

View All Guest Reviews

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