Hartland is in the far northwesterly corner of Devon. Although it has a population of just 1,676 people, it is the largest parish in Devon and is made up of the village of Hartland, the nearby Hartland Quay and Hartland Abbey. Although just a mile or so from the A39, it tends to be rather overlooked as visitors rush by to better known places such as nearby Clovelly. However, this leaves Hartland as a hidden gem waiting to be savoured by those who appreciate its charm.
Hartland’s Parish Hall is the centre of local activities. If you are visiting in early August, go along to the Carnival which lasts all week with quiz nights, concerts, a grand procession and a Carnival Dance as a grand finale. This delightful village was voted “Most Welcoming Community in North Devon 2005” and so it remains.
Hartland grew up around Hartland Abbey which was built in 1157. Due to its remote position the abbey had the dubious honour of being the last monastery to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. It was then given by the king to his wine steward, William Abbot, who converted the former Abbot’s house into a comfortable estate home. It is now the ancestral home of the Stucley family and both the house and the lovely gardens (designed by Gertrude Jekyll) are open to the public on certain days. The abbey kitchens also serve delicious cream teas in aid of St Nectan’s Church at nearby Stoke.
Hartland’s harbour is at Hartland Quay and is really a separate community with some cottages along with the Shipwreck Museum. The quay was commissioned in 1586 and became a busy port exporting local farm produce, coal and granite. As business began to decline and other ports took precedence, a wild storm washed away the quay in 1887 and it was never replaced. There is still a boatslip there, but beware the jagged cliffs and rock formations all around the coastline!
Some visitors choose to visit Hartland on foot from the South West Coastal Path. It enjoys some of the most dramatic coastal scenery around Hartland Point, a rocky promontory 350 feet above sea level. There is a lighthouse built in 1874 and breathtaking views across the Bristol Channel to distant Lundy Island. Helicopter trips can be taken from Hartland to the island which is known for its puffin colony and unspoilt natural beauty.
We hope the information on this website helps you plan your visit. This website was starting in Feb 2011 and we are adding to it everyday. If you have information you would like us to include or have any questions or comments please use the Contact Us form to get in touch.