Combe Martin, five miles to the east of Ilfracombe is set in a scenic valley on the edge of Exmoor overlooked by the headland of The Great Hangman. There is a beautiful sheltered bay popular with swimmers and kayakers and the safe sheltered beach with a mixture of sand and pebbles is particularly good for rockpooling.
Combe Martin has some fantastic shops, numerous restaurants, cafes and pubs including the intriguing Pack O’ Cards built in 1690 as a folly by a gambling squire – it has 52 windows, 13 rooms and 4 floors! There is a well-stocked museum and TIC which was set up by members of the Combe Martin Historical Society. Combe Martin’s rich past is based on the industries of lead and silver mining, smelting, lime quarrying and burning. Some of the old mines were cut right into the sea cliffs and can be seen on a boat trip from Ilfracombe Harbour.
Combe Martin, like Ilfracombe, is right on the South West Coast Path and the walk between the two with an ice cream or pub lunch at the end is a sometimes steep but always stunning day out.
Village events include the week long carnival (usually second week in August) and the unique ‘The Hunting of The Earl of Rone’ over the four days of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
The neighbouring village of Berrynarbor with its quaint houses and floral displays grouped around the church nestles on the slopes of a diverse valley, rich in meadow, pasture land and wooded cleaves. Agriculture is still an important way of life with most of the farms lying above the steeper slopes of the valley.