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Review of Milbrook Cottages, Devon, England

Posted by at 01:23 on Monday 01 November 2010

>> For contact details and availability, see greentraveller's full listing of: Millbrook Cottages 

Arriving at Millbrook. Photo:Lucy BruzzoneArriving at Millbrook. Photo:Lucy BruzzoneThe Place
The estate covers 32 acres in the beautiful rolling hills of North Devon. It is lovingly looked after by Kate and Bob who moved in in 2005. Since then they have gradually converted the old mill and its outhouses into 4 luxury self-catering cottages and one B&B suite.

The Rooms
We stayed in Lake View apartment. Lakeview is a modern fully equipped luxury residence which lives up to its name with a fabulous view out over one of three lakes. The cottage was awarded Five Stars and a Gold award from Visit England in 2010 and it’s not hard to see why. It has low energy mood lighting, a fully equipped modern kitchen and suite of entertainment equipment, as well as numerous personal touches, such as fresh flowers from the estate, a bird book and binoculars and a welcome hamper including local cakes, eggs from the hens wandering the grounds, and a bottle of wine. The other cottages are equally well equipped and luxurious but are decorated more in keeping with the traditional theme of the old mill. There is also a hot tub hidden in the woods and lit by solar powered fairy lights.

The Food
Four out of five of the cottages are self-catering. Each self-catering cottage contains a fully equipped kitchen with modern facilities including microwaves and electric hobs and ovens. You can pre-order food to be delivered from local suppliers which will be unpacked in time for your arrival. There is a gas BBQ and charcoal BBQ for use by all the cottages as well as a private one for Lake View. Cold and rain are not factors stopping BBQ’s at Millbrook as they also have a BBQ house hidden within the forest, which can seat up to 15. There are lots of local pubs and restaurants, including the Old George Inn in the village – an easy 10 minute walk away - and serves some great food including delicious homemade pies.

There are 8 Alpacas at Millbrook that protect the hens and ducks from foxes. Photo: Lucy BruzzoneThere are 8 Alpacas at Millbrook that protect the hens and ducks from foxes. Photo: Lucy Bruzzone 

The Activities
Millbrook is a place to relax and unwind. There are 32 acres to wander through as well as two fishing lakes, one for fly-fishing and another for coarse fishing. If you’re not a natural you can book yourself a lesson to get up to speed. Millbrook is also very well situated for Exmoor, 12 miles, the coast, 10 miles and the Tarka Trail, 7 miles so whether you are interested in walking, surfing or cycling there is plenty around to keep you busy. The bike hire shop in Torrington, where the Tarka trail begins, will even give you 20% off if you mention Millbrook.

Lake View cottage, the water is heated using these PV Panels. Photo: Lucy BruzzoneLake View cottage, the water is heated using these PV Panels. Photo: Lucy BruzzoneWhat makes it Green?
Bob has a great passion for renewable energy and has developed Millbrook’s power supplies to include a 5kw wind turbine, 750w water turbine, 2kw of solar panels and a biomass heating system in their office which uses locally supplied wood. They have recently installed air to air heating for the Summer House and Lake View, as well as pipes that will shortly be used to harvest rainwater. Kate showed us a variety of other environmental initiatives, include the planting over 9000 trees in the grounds, fully insulating all buildings, allowing children from the local school to use the grounds for their ecology lessons, and recycling everything possible. Millbrook was this year rewarded with Gold by the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

Top Tips
If you’re looking for a romantic location to get married Millbrook has recently been registered for civil weddings, accommodating up to 40 guests in an intimate setting. Kate and Bob were the first to make use of this new opportunity in early September.

Getting There
Umberleigh (on the train line from Exeter) is the nearest train station. There’s a 15% discount if you arrive by train (Kate and Bob can also collect you from there, by arrangement). Trains run regularly between Umberleigh and Exeter with around 8 services each way per day. If you are feeling fit and healthy you could also cycle to Millbrook. Despite the hills Devon is a great place to cycle and there is nothing more satisfying than ending a hard days cycle in a luxurious cottage with a hot tub to relax your tired limbs.

The Summer House made from an old conservatory's windows and left overs from renovating the cottages. Photo: Lucy BruzzoneThe Summer House made from an old conservatory's windows and left overs from renovating the cottages. Photo: Lucy Bruzzone
Verdict
Millbrook is a luxurious haven without compromising the environment. Kate and Bob have created an inspirational home from home. Go for total relaxation!

For contact details and availability, see greentraveller's full listing of: Millbrook Cottages

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Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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