Bampton has a long and interesting history and there are various booklets in the information box.
We think the collection of buildings here, now known as The Old House, dates back to the early 1700s, though remarkably little seems to be known about it locally and we are still trying to assemble information from various sources.
However we do know there was a tannery on the site up to about the 1860s – the building across the stream is still known as the Bark House – and a school for young ladies in the early 1800s. From the 1880s to about the second world war it was a nursery and seedsman business.
Shopping in Bampton
Bampton has a good range of local shops which can cater for most of your day to day needs.
General Food Shopping/Newspapers
There are two mini-markets in the village, Spar (bottom of Frog Street and turn right) and Costcutter half way up the main street (Brook Street) on the left.
Bread and Bakers
Bawdens on the right hand side of Brook Street opposite Costcutter. Their granary bread is especially good but sells out early. The Spar shop also bakes a limited range.
The butcher in Brook Street offers local meat, poultry and cheese of a high standard.
Fruit and Vegetables
Next door to the butcher is Bampton Fruit and Veg with a good range of fruit, vegetables, dairy eggs, deli-type foods and spices.
A fresh fish van comes to Brook St from about 8.30-10 am on Fridays. He parks as near to the Post Office as possible but could be on either side of the street, depending on spaces.
A local enterprise, Bampton Game, has a shop opposite the pharmacy.
The nearest petrol is now at the supermarkets in Tiverton – Tesco (24 hour) and Morrisons. It’s advisable to fill up whenever you have the chance as other petrol stations round here are few and far between.
Bampton Pharmacy is on Newton Square (opposite The White Horse/Blackberries) . The out of hours rota for the Tiverton pharmacists is shown in the window.
The post office is part of the Spar store. There are 3 post boxes in the village.
Cash & Banking
There are free to use cash machines in Spar and Costcutter. Cash cards can be used in the Post Office. Tiverton has all the main banks and building societies.
The local taxi service is Chris’ Car on 0777-360-012 and there are others in Tiverton.
Tiverton, about 7 miles away, is the local shopping centre and you get there by making for the link road (dual carriageway) and going straight on at the roundabout.
There are two major supermarkets in Tiverton, Morrison’s and Tesco (24 hours). See if you can spot “Mango“, the famous “Tiverton Tesco Cat, asleep on top of the charcoal briquettes.
There is a small Cooperative off the Market parking area and a smallish food-only Marks & Spencer near the bus station in Phoenix Lane.
The Tiverton Pannier Market in the town centre is open every day with a Farmers Market on the third Wednesday of the month, open till early afternoon.
Tiverton has a reasonable range of the better known high street and other shops, plus banks and building societies. Also rare examples of two endangered species – a department store (Banbury’s) and an independent cinema (the Tivoli).
Taunton and Exeter, each about 25 miles away, are county towns and have the usual range of large-town shops and amenities plus superstores and shopping sheds on the outskirts. Exeter being a city and with a large student population is livelier and has the better entertainment and shopping facilities of the two.
In Bampton, The Quarryman’s Rest, The Swan, The White Horse and The Bridge all have some good beers and restaurant-type food. The Bridge has a folk night sometimes, the Quarryman’s Rest has live music every now and then and the White Horse more often. The Swan has won numerous awards for its food. The Waggoner Bar & Grill does a wide range of meals made from locally sourced food.
The Toucan Café bistro in Brook Street has won awards for its food. It is open for espresso, lattes (with newspapers for browsing) and lunch weekdays from Tuesday to Friday mornings and afternoons. It no longer does evening meals routinely but has specials, eg curry nights, and is licensed for beer and wine. It’s necessary to book for evening meals.
Bawdens the bakers in Brook Street has a cosy café area where you can have breakfast, tea, coffee, cakes, rolls/sandwiches, pasties, ice-cream and Sunday lunches in a homely setting.
The Chip Shop on Brook Street has some seats for eating in and does a variety of other fast food including pizzas.
Takeaways. The nearest takeaway (kebabs) is run from a van on the industrial estate off the South Molton Road (leaflet in the binder). There are various Indian, Tai and Chinese restaurants in Tiverton. You can order by phone and then drive in to collect (no home deliveries here!).
Nearby Restaurants. There are lots of eating places in the countryside roundabout, but the following are not far away and can be recommended.
The Rock Inn at Waterrow about halfway between here and Wiveliscombe on the back road to Taunton – turn left at the bottom of Frog Street. Booking is sometimes necessary. 01984 623293.
The Globe at Appley. You may need to book as it can get quite busy especially at weekends. It’s not all that easy to find so if you want to go there it might be as well to ask us for directions. 01823 672327.
Woods Bar and Restaurant in Dulverton. Has won awards for fine wines and dining. 01398 324007.
Things to Do
There is lots to do around here, see the wide selection of leaflets and booklets in the information boxes Another good resource is the Bampton website www.bampton.org.uk which has links to many other useful sites. www.discoverdevon.com is also worth a look.
There are many riding establishments in the area, Dulverton Tourist Office, the Exmoor Information Centre, (about 7 miles away) is a good place to look as the village is a centre for equestrian sports. See leaflets in the information box and maybe also visit the Exmoor Information Centre in Dulverton.
Minehead is the nearest beach, but not the nicest. Lynton and Lynmouth on the North Coast for traditional seaside towns, Dawlish and Teignmouth on the South. There are many great lonely bays and surfing beaches on the coast between Lynton and Barnstaple, notably Woolacombe and Saunton. The South coast down past Exeter is quicker to reach and much more developed, Torquay being most upmarket, while the North Coast is rugged and dramatic.
Tiverton has an excellent modern Sports Centre, on the road in on the left before the hill up into town. It also has tennis courts and skateboarding.
Cinema and Theatre
The Tivoli in Tiverton is an independent cinema mostly showing second run films and deserves support. Taunton has an Odeon multiplex close to the motorway junction. Exeter has an Odeon multiplex and the 3 screen Picture House for less commercial films. Films, theatre and music are on offer at the Phoenix Arts Centre in Gandy Street. The Northcott Theatre, a theatre in the round, has a national reputation.
In the information box are maps and booklets of various walks in and around Bampton and further afield. Other villages are covered by booklets that can be bought from the Tourist Offices in Tiverton and Dulverton. A good website for Exmoor walks is www.geoffbannister.com.
Wimbleball reservoir , just up the road, has sailing facilities including tuition.
Fishing is on offer at Wimbleball and Clatworthy reservoirs and there are local places which also offer fishing, such as trout at Exe Valley Fishery, Exbridge, Dulverton. Telephone: 01398 323328. See leaflets in the folder. Fly fishing tuition is available by businesses like Nick Hart Fly Fishing, The Cottage, Benshayes Farm, Bampton, 01398 331660/07971 198559.
Tiverton has a golf course, Tiverton Golf Club, Post Hill, Tiverton, EX16 4NE – 01884 252114 / 254836 and a Driving Range out by Parkway Station near the M5 junction 27.
Devon Badger Watch is highly recommended, run from a farm about 6 miles away. The owners lead you down through a wood into a comfortable hide. You then see the local badgers come out, eat, play, fight and run around. A great experience (but not available in the winter). Phone 01398 351506 to make an appointment.
Places to Visit
Houses and Gardens
There are many lovely houses and gardens within easy reach of Bampton and you will find a selection of leaflets in the box. The nearest locally is Knightshayes Court just down the road at Bolham, which is run by the National Trust and is well worth a visit. There is more National Trust information in the boxes including the current guide book and you can consult their website if you want more detail or to check opening times.
There are also many gardens within easy reach and again there is a selection of leaflets in the box. The Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor garden is about an hour’s drive away near Great Torrington and if you are here for a few days you might like to make a short expedition to the well known gardens in Cornwall, like Trebah and Heligan, or the Eden project. Depending on the time of the year it may be advisable to book in advance for the latter.
There are many other places of interest within easy reach – too many to list, ranging from the quirky – eg Gnome Reserve and Bakelite Museum – to more conventional attractions. See the leaflets in the box and check the links on the Bampton website.
Tiverton Museum off the street between the bus station and the Town Hall, is much more interesting and well laid out than you might expect for a small town museum. It provides a good social history of the area’s agricultural and industrial past and is well worth a visit.
Bampton Fair is on the last Thursday in October. Once it was famous for sheep, Exmoor ponies and cattle.
These days it features a fun fair and a street market. All the pubs and cafes are open all day and various events will be laid on with programmes available in the Spar and other shops.