We recently enjoyed a stay at Pickwell Manor near Braunton in North Devon and I wrote a blog post about it here. When we were initially invited, I was extremely excited about visiting the Manor with its beautiful Jacobean architecture, grand mullion windows and the stunning interior design individual to each apartment. We were staying in Constance, a seaside inspired apartment within the Manor which can sleep up to 4 people and on the first day we were keen to discover the 6 acres of grounds with the children. This was when the Manager gave me a key to one of the Tree Houses and said we could explore them in our own time. The Tree Houses are currently only for two adults but they are building a new Tree House with a king size bed and twin bunks ready for 2020!
The Hideaway at Pickwell Manor
The Tree Houses had to be my favourite part of Pickwell Manor and are the newest addition to the estate. Pickwell is surrounded by beautiful woods with views to the Atlantic Ocean and the owners wanted their guests to feel connected to nature and the landscape as much as possible during their stay. It was whilst they were creating more outdoor activities within the grounds that they decided how wonderful it would be if the guests could live outside too.
Building one of the Tree Houses
The Tree Houses consist of The Hideaway and The Loft and are hidden away in the woods, but fear not, Pickwell has thought of everything! You get your own parking spot and wooden hut with wheelbarrow to help you with your luggage up the wooded path and a lantern if you arrive in the dark.
The Tree Houses have been built using larch and oak from sustainable trees indigenous to this country and are completely sustainable too! All their heat and lighting comes from Pickwell’s 32KW solar panels that sit behind the Manor house and produce about 40% of all the energy needed, the rest of the energy coming from their renewable supplier BULB. Pickwell also has its own boreholes that supply all the water and they replaced the oil fired boiler with a biomass boiler which saves approx. 50 tonnes of Co2 emissions a year. Pickwell is passionate about the environment and is continually working towards a cleaner, sustainable, carbon-free future. For every booking they get at Pickwell, they plant two trees. One in the Amazon rainforest through the coolearth.org project and one through weForest.org which has planted 20 million trees globally! Not only a great place to stay, but doing your bit for the environment too!
The solar panels installed behind the Manor house at Pickwell
I was lucky enough to have a look around The Hideaway which sits in the woods to the right of the road as you drive in. After walking up a flight of stairs to The Hideaway (which have spotlights for the darker nights), you come to a wonderfully natural and rustic decking that has been built around one of the trees in the woods. Stepping inside, the décor is simple but in harmony with the surroundings. There is a cosy open plan living area with wood burner, table and chairs to seat 2 people and a balcony which looks out over the woods and views to the sea. The fully fitted kitchen has a small fridge with top compartment freezer, a two-ring hob and a double oven, perfect to cook up a cosy dinner for two.
The wooden trail leading up to The Hideaway Beautifully situated in the woods The Hideaway Leading up to the decking area and treehouse The little decking area cleverly built around a tree so no trees had to be chopped down! The open plan living area in The Hideaway I didn’t want to leave! A cosy little woodland corner The compact but very well equipped kitchen with views of the woodland I definitely think we would be fighting over who does the washing up with this view From that there balcony you can see the sea!
At the other end of the Tree House is a luxury king size bed with double aspect windows looking out over the trees and can be separated from the living area with a curtain. They’ve even managed to squeeze in a full-length wardrobe and mirror. There is a spacious en-suite shower room and toilet which again has been beautifully decorated with a floor to ceiling forest mural around the shower and a warm and cosy log cabin (or sauna) vibe.
H is for Hideaway. Or Hygge? Probably both The extremely cosy king size bed with double aspect windows The en-suite shower room with a sauna like feel The shower with forest mural, brass fittings and sink carved out of stone A perfect log cabin loo! All the details have been meticulously planned
I loved how the height of the tree house made sure that from every window and door, the only view was of the trees and the surrounding countryside, so it really did give you that perfect hideaway feel. I never wanted to leave the simply beautiful Scandi inspired décor of the Hideaway, it was raining heavily outside and I just wanted to put the wood burner on with a good book (and a glass of fizz from the welcome champagne!). Unfortunately my husband came along with a crowbar to prize me out of the seat!
A wood burner, raining outside and a good book. What more could you ask for?
After a look around the grounds and Manor (see my previous blog of the Manor here), we decided to explore the surrounding areas with the children. We headed straight for Ilfracombe as I had visited this sea side town a few times when I was growing up and wanted to see it through my adult eyes! There is plenty to do in and around Pickwell Manor including the beaches of Putsborough Sands, Croyde Bay and Woolacombe and Exmoor is right on the doorstep with amazing country and cliff top walks.
Where Exmoor meets the sea. The spectacular rugged coastline at Ilfracombe
We headed straight to the sea front at Ilfracombe and found parking extremely easy. We had fish and chips along the Promenade and then walked down towards the Harbour to see the infamous Damien Hirst statue – Verity, followed by a climb up a steep cliff to St Nicholas’ Chapel with breath taking views. If we were to stay longer, there is plenty to do with small kids including The Playhut in Ilfracombe, Tunnels Beaches, The Wildlife and Dinosaur Park at Combe Martin and Watermouth family theme park and castle.
The pretty harbour of Ilfracombe Verity by Damien Hirst The people of Ilfracombe have a love/hate relationship with her. Personally, I like 🙂 I love this photo, it has a Land of the Giants feel to it! Climbing up the steep cliff with a view of the harbour entrance Stunning views from the Chapel
The Chapel on the Hill (there’s an Ed Sheeran song there somewhere!) Walking back towards Ilfracombe High Street
After all that fresh sea air, we headed back to Pickwell Manor where we returned to our apartment, Constance, and enjoyed a chilled out afternoon with movies and board games. A perfect end to our stay at Pickwell Manor and we can’t wait to go back and visit again. If you would like to see the tour of the rest of the Manor and apartments, click here
For more information –