Autumnal Escapes

A perfect autumnal weekend at Number Six, Totnes

Twilight on a Friday night saw us heading across the Devon countryside towards our pad for the weekend, the beautiful Number Six in the middle of quirky-cool Totnes. We easily navigated our way through the winding back streets to the gated entrance, pulled up on the gravelled driveway and quickly let ourselves in, escaping the bitter-cold evening that was settling in.

Leaving our luggage in the hallway, we raced up the stairs to explore our Georgian home for the weekend. The gorgeous sitting room is first on the list; with two sash windows overlooking the high street, opulent duck-egg blue sofas and wooden floor throughout, it’s clear to see that interior designer owner Holly has excellent taste.

Towards the back of the house, there’s a large dining table that easily seats eight and to the rear the pretty blue kitchen with lovely tiled floor, filled to the brim with everything we’ll need to rustle up a feast.

On the second floor to the front, lies the oh-so-romantic master bedroom with its own roll-top bath.

Paul sleeps here, whilst I opt for the equally stunning bedroom towards the back with a gorgeous wooden four-poster bed and en suite shower room. Finally, on the third floor there’s a further double room, twin room and a large family bathroom.

Back downstairs, we’re delighted with our welcome goodies which includes a bottle of Prosecco, lots of things for breakfast plus some biscuits. We make ourselves a reviving cuppa and snaffle up the biscuits, before heading out for an evening stroll around Totnes.

The rain holds off, so we wander the streets, taking in the fabulous Tudor merchant-houses, evidence that Totnes was once a busy trading post. The road and paths glisten with the rain from earlier in the day, reflecting the lights of the pretty shop window displays and the bustling eateries. Eventually we find a laid-back vegetarian café that’s open until nine, and we enjoy a quick bite to eat before heading back to Number Six for a bottle of wine and an early night.

The next morning, we have a lazy lie-in as the rain is set in for the day. I’ve slept like a log in my four-poster, whilst Paul enjoys the super king bed in the master bedroom and a wake-up bath.

After a breakfast of tea, toast and jam, we head out into town for a spot of shopping. Totnes has an excellent variety of shops, with well-to-do clothing boutiques sitting happily next to esoteric book and crystal shops.

We happily spend a few hours (and pounds) shopping and end our session with coffee and cake.

The weather well and truly sets in bad, so we decide to head back to Number Six for a relaxed afternoon watching a film and chatting. Later, we head out for dinner at ‘Rumour’, a fab little bistro just a short walk away.

There are lots of amazing places to eat and drink in Totnes, but this was recommended – and it was fabulous. I opted for an Iranian lamb stew whilst Paul had a fabulous pasta dish with fresh red mullet, accompanied by a tasty bottle of wine and finished off with a decadent dessert.

After an excellent nights’ sleep, the day dawns bright and clear, so after a quick breakfast we head out in the car to Dartmoor, ooh’ing and aah’ing at the rolling countryside and trundling over the cattle grids until we reach Haytor, located on the eastern edge of the moor and probably the most visited of all the tors.

We parked at the visitor centre and climbed up to the mossy granite rocks, pausing every now and then to pat the ponies and gaze at the amazing views across Dartmoor and the South Devon coastline.

Dating back 280 million years, people have populated the area for over 4,000 years, evidenced by the prehistoric round houses and burial cairns that surround the area. The spot was certainly atmospheric and just as popular today; people were rock climbing, flying kites or simply enjoying a Sunday stroll.

After we had climbed to the top, soaked in the views and made our way back to the car, we headed off to Widecombe-in-the-Moor, one of the most picturesque villages on Dartmoor with a pretty village green, church and excellent pub – The Old Inn – where we stop for a Sunday roast. There are some great little shops too, and I pick up a lovely sheepskin rug to take home.

Afterwards, we head to Buckfast Abbey, a working monastery close to the River Dart and home to a community of Benedictine monks. We have a stroll around the impressive abbey, and inside catch the tail end of choir practice – their soaring voices make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. We have a peek in the shops and walk through the gardens, which although dormant at this time of year must look absolutely stunning in summer.

By this time the evening is drawing in, so we make our way back to Totnes, picking up supper en route. We settle in for the night with a huge cheeseboard, some wine and a film – a blissful end to a wonderful day.

The next morning, it’s sadly time to say farewell to lovely Number Six, but we vow to make the most of our weekend break so after packing up the car and saying goodbye to our home for the weekend, we once again head out onto the moor.

This time we head west to the impressive Brent Tor and St Michael’s Church which perches on its top – making it the highest (and smallest) church on Dartmoor. We don our walking boots and coats and make our way to the top.

The weather is unpredictable, and the mix of rain and sunshine means we witness an amazing rainbow before seeking shelter in the church from a sudden sleet and hailstorm. It’s also very windy but doesn’t detract from the amazing views and we spend a good amount of time here, completely alone and utterly bewitched by this magical place.

Eventually we head back to the car and make our way home, stopping in Tavistock for lunch then we squeeze the most out of the day by stopping off at Cardinham Woods near Bodmin.

This wonderful forest has trails snaking throughout, so we find a relatively short 4k path through planted pine trees and native species, just as the sun begins to set. We both love the forest, and as we cradle cups of tea in our hands on a bench in the darkening evening, we decide it’s just what we needed to finish off a perfect weekend getaway.

Number Six in Totnes is a wonderful retreat that sleeps eight, and ideal for a weekend getaway or a week as you’re ideally located for exploring both Dartmoor, south Devon and the coast. There are a plethora of restaurants and shops on your doorstep making it easy for dining out. There is a lower occupancy discount that applies all year around – for four guests or less the discount is 20%.

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