Simon Robert and Sheila Howells welcome you to The Old House Cottage, Frog Street, Bampton. We hope you had a good journey and will enjoy your visit here.
We’ve made every effort to try and ensure you have a comfortable and private stay and hope the information in this folder will answer any initial questions you might have. But if you do have more questions, or encounter any problems, then please just ask. Make contact either by ringing the bell on the black & white door opposite the well in the little yard at the top of the garden path or phoning on 01398 331144.
normal departure time is 10 am but this can be extended if no other
guests are due later in the day. So if you would like a little more
time before you leave, please check with us whether it will be
NOTE: Booking Options
The cottage can be booked either through the Hoseasons website - www.hoseasons.co.uk, or direct on a separate tariff, via our own website – www.oldhouse-cottage.co.uk - or email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please take a card from the box for details.
Address: The Old House Cottage
Owners: Simon Robert and Sheila Howells
address and house phone as above
Contact Simon Robert as above or mobile: 07549 159528
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Police 999 in an Emergency
Devon and Cornwall Police call centre – 01392 431593
NHS Health Contact and Advice (was NHS Direct) Call 111
Local GP The Surgery, Barnhay, Bampton - 01398 331304
Local Dentists are in Tiverton, none in Bampton – call Dental Access Centre, Exeter for help. 01392 405700
Local Hospital Tiverton District Hospital, 01884 235400, has a Minor Injuries Unit staffed by nurse practitioners, open 8 am to 10 pm. Call before you turn up to make sure your problem is one they can deal with. The hospital is opposite Morrison’s Supermarket – see Tiverton Town Plan in this ring binder.
Major Emergencies There are major Accident & Emergency units each about 25 miles away at:
Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Exeter
Musgrave Park Hospital, Taunton
Exeter is probably quickest to reach and likely to be the one used by the ambulance service for emergencies from this area
Practical information about the Cottage
Please turn in to the area between the two stone buildings at the bottom of the driveway and park so there is wheelbarrow size access to the garden and vehicle access to the area over the bridge.
There are movement activated lights down the driveway from the road, in the car parking area, along the garden path and by the door to the cottage. However it’s advisable to take the rechargeable torch from the cottage if you expect to be out in the dark.
The stopcock is in the street, any problems you’ll need to contact us.
The fuse box is opposite the door, over the radiator, under a panel attached by magnets. Each circuit is labelled and the switches just need to be toggled back to the ‘on’ position if they trip out, which may happen if a light bulb blows.
Fire Extinguishers and Blankets
There are two powder extinguishers. suitable for both ordinary and electrical fires - one in the towel recess between the cooker and the boiler in the kitchen area, and one on the staircase . There is also a fire blanket for smothering cooking fires hanging on the wall cupboard to the left of the sink in the kitchen area.
There is a smoke alarm in the bedroom and another downstairs on the ceiling near the front door. It has a tendency to go off when you burn toast, and if this happens, please hold down the button on the alarm until it stops. If it starts to beep at other times this may mean the batteries need replacing, in which case please contact us.
Hot Water and Central Heating
A “Combi” boiler provides both central heating and hot water and is under the worktop to the right of the cooker. Access to the control panel is by pulling gently on the bottom right corner of the door. There are two rocker switches and a timing dial (see picture later in this binder). The on-off switch controls the whole operation and should be left as it is, ie “On”. The other rocker switch has 3 settings, top for timed heating, bottom for continuous heating and middle for hot water only. Even when the heating is not on, you may hear the boiler switching itself on and off in order to top up the hot water.
You can see when the heating is programmed to come on by looking at the white “tappets” on the timer dial and can change the time periods by adjusting these or temporarily switching to “continuous” - but remember to switch back to timed heating again afterwards. The radiators are controlled by individual thermostatic valves, which are all set appropriately, and shouldn’t need adjusting. If it becomes too hot overall, just switch to hot water only for a while.
The stove is very easy to light and provides a lot of heat. The air flow control at the bottom shouldn’t need to be more than a ¾ turn open after the fire has got going, the one at the top keeps the flame looking bright and should be given a ¼ tweak. Unless you use the stove a lot you won’t need to empty it as a bed of ash helps, if the ash holder does become full, empty it into a carrier bag (when the ash is cold!) and put this in the dustbin. Always keep the stove door closed as it isn't designed to work with it open and will probably burn badly. If the controls get too hot the poker tool with the L-shaped end can be used to adjust them. If you need help with the fire please ask, we're very happy to help .
There are three switches on the right as you come in through the door. The left hand switch controls the light just inside the door as well as the lights in the bookcase (though these can also be individually controlled by switches on top of the bookcase). The outside light is controlled by the right hand switch. Once switched on it is movement activated. The middle switch is two-way with the one at the top of the stairs for the bedroom. Work surface light switches are under the crockery cupboard and there is a light switch for the inglenook on the inside right of the oak beam – mind your head!
There is no landline phone in the cottage. All mobile networks work to varying degrees (T-mobile is excellent, o2 is good, Orange is dodgy) and reception may be best upstairs near the window facing the village. There are public phones in Newton Square and at the top of Briton St.
Terrestrial reception is hopeless here, so there is a satellite setup for radio and TV which receives all free to air channels and radio stations. There are three remote controls - TV, freesat and DVD, and a detailed description of how to use them in a plastic folder near the TV.
The laptop in the bedroom provides free internet access via our own broadband network. If you want to connect your own laptop the instructions with the laptop should help, but if they don't mean much to you come and ask and we should be able to sort things out.
The bed is “zip and link” and can be made up as a double or two singles. The sofa converts to a bed which may be used for an occasional overnight guest. There is a travelling cot in the wardrobe cupboard upstairs and a folding bed for a larger child.
4 seats for the breakfast bar are stored in the pedestal under the breakfast bar. To open the door, give a sharp tug in the middle on the left hand side.
The washing machine is under the worktop to the left of the sink with a wheeled storage cupboard parked in front. The cupboard contains an initial supply of washing powder/gel and conditioner, washing basket and pegs. There is a drying rack, full size ironing board and iron in the bedroom cupboard; also a small ironing board for use on a worktop. In the lawned area opposite the kitchen window there is a rotary clothes dryer for use if the weather is right.
There is a soft sweeping brush and a vacuum cleaner in the cupboard under the stairs and other cleaning equipment and materials under the sink.
Use the front bucket lined with a carrier bag in the sliding fitting under the sink for day to day waste (the back bucket is intended for use as a normal general purpose bucket). There are spare plastic carrier bags in the container alongside. When a bag is full, please tie it up and put it in the dustbin in the corner of the terrace outside. For recycling purposes, please put clean paper and cardboard, clean tins and glass/bottles in the black box beside the dustbin.
The cottage has its own small patio and lawned area but you are also welcome to use other parts of the garden. Garden furniture and deck chairs are available but may be stored elsewhere in the winter. Should there be an unexpected period of good weather and you would like them brought out, just ask. Cushions for the patio chairs are in the whatnot just inside the cottage to keep them out of the rain. There is a BBQ set up beside the fish pond in the corner of the garden which you are welcome to use. Cleaning it up after use is appreciated!
The cottage has quite a lot more than the minimum inventory requirements of holiday cottage companies, but please ask if there’s something more that you need.
Smoking is fine on the patio and in the garden. Please do not smoke inside the cottage.
One well behaved dog with responsible owners is welcome. Please do not let the dog go on the bed or furniture in the cottage and keep it on a lead when outside to avoid mess and damage to the garden and grounds. However, provided it is supervised, you may let the dog off the lead in the wooded area of the garden between the wooden bridge and the pond on the other side of the stream. And please, though we know you'll clean up any poo afterwards, don't let your dog relieve itself on lawns as it makes scorch marks and kills the grass. Local people generally walk their dogs higher up Frog Street and there is a special dog poo collection bin on the pole near the telephone exchange
You may also like to know there is a little dog next door and a resident cat (small, black & white) here though she will run a mile if she sees you or your dog. Any other cat is an intruder and can be chased with impunity!
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. Below is a general description and opening times are on a separate spreadsheet in this binder.
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,
There is a butcher in Brook Street who 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 stall on Saturday mornings opposite Costcutter.
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 now inside the Spar shop in Newton Square Post can be handed in there but is also still collected from the box outside the old Post Office in Brook Street at 4.45 pm Monday-Friday, 12.15 on Saturday and 10.00 am Sunday.
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 Bampton & Tiverton Cabs on 07887 893567 and there are others in Tiverton, via yellow pages.
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 (see street map).
There are two major supermarkets in Tiverton, Morrison's and Tesco (24 hours). To reach Morrison's go straight across at the roundabout on the link road (dual carriageway) then right at the second roundabout (opposite the leisure centre, before the hill on the way into town).
The most straightforward way to reach Tesco is to turn left at the link road roundabout, take the first exit, go right over the link road and straight on at the first roundabout (passing McDonalds on the left). Go straight down to the next roundabout, turn right and then almost immediately right again into Blundells Road, following it to the left until you reach the small roundabout at the entrance to the Tesco car park.
There is a small Somerfield 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 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. The Quarryman’s has recently changed hands and has been getting good reviews from visitors, as has The Swan. You cannot book at The Swan, just turn up. The Blackberries Restaurant does a wide range of meals, including themed nights.
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 and ice-cream 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 is run from a van on the industrial estate off the South Molton Road (leaflet in the binder). There are various Indian and Chinese restaurants in Tiverton. You can order by phone and then drive in to collect (no home deliveries here!). There are some leaflets in the binder.
Nearby Restaurants. There are lots of eating places in the countryside roundabout, but the following are not far away and can be recommended. There is more information and sample menus in the folder.
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
A brief guide is below and there is a 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. The cottage laptop has links to various useful local sites on the menu bar along the top.
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
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. The local Tourist Information Centre is inside the Tiverton Museum and there is another at Dulverton.
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 Charter Fair is held on the last Thursday in October. Once upon a time it was famous for sheep, Exmoor ponies and cattle. These days it features a fun fair and a street market. Still worth a look though, 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. The main street is usually closed from the middle of the afternoon on the Wednesday and all day Thursday. Signposted diversions will bring you out on the South Molton road to the north of the village.
“After the Fair” is a free programme of folk music and song around the village and in the local pubs with local and visiting folk groups, from Friday and running into the weekend. Flyers are available in local shops. See also “Special Events” on the Bampton website for other events.