Tucked away in the beautiful Exe Valley, this delightful guest-house is about 200 years old and was originally used to store bark for tanning. It’s everyone’s idea of a Devon cottage, particularly in spring when the facade is smothered by a magnificent old wistaria. By day, you can explore the woodland paths and gardens behind the house and, opposite the building, a sitting area provides a sunny spot for afternoon tea. By night, the tiny hamlet of Oakford Bridge sparkles in the velvet-black valley while the only sounds are the trickling of a small cascade in the garden and the burbling River Exe. Just before we went to press Alistair Kameen handed over Bark House to new owners, who are continuing to run it as a guest-house along much the same lines.
Inside, the cosy and intimate sitting room, with an open fire, is the perfect place to relax and anticipate dinner. The new owners describe the food as more traditional than Alistair’s cooking, and dinner might be a starter of potted salmon, roast shoulder of lamb, and a choice of home-made pavlovas and puddings.
The bedrooms reflect the essential simplicity of Bark House. Mr French plans to add a further two rooms by 2008, ‘without spoiling the unique exterior’.