Kingscott near Great Torrington is a lovely countryside hamlet with some houses dating back more than three centuries. The beautiful thatched Kingscott House where The Garden Cottage is located is at least 250 years old and was extended in the 19th century. Despite the house's proximity, The Garden Cottage still enjoys almost complete privacy and rarely feels overlooked, except by the local birds!
Kingscott's central location makes it the ideal base for exploring not only Devon but also for stepping over the border into Somerset and Cornwall. Exmoor and Dartmoor are less than an hour away and provide lovely days out for walking the rugged landscape and witnessing some of the incredible views that stretch for miles. Alternatively, travel to the North Devon coastline, where the South West Coastal Footpath winds through pretty villages, along steep valleys and up some of the highest cliffs in the country. For a day on the beach travel 30 minutes north to Westward Ho! Many of the other famous golden beaches in North Devon can also be easily accessed when staying at The Garden Cottage.
There are several excellent places to eat in the area, including the Lymington Arms in Wembworthy, which is considered as one of the nicest local pubs with food served in its bar and restaurant, and in the quaint village of Iddesleigh, 20 minutes' drive from the cottage is The Duke of York, right in the heart of ‘War Horse’ country. If you plan to visit Exmoor then stop off in Withypool for a snack at The Royal Oak, or, if heading south to Dartmoor, book a table at The Dartmoor Inn in Lydford. For special occasions head to Knowstone near South Molton to The Masons Arms, a Michelin starred restaurant. It may be a 40 minute drive but it is well worth the journey with a great a la carte menu in the evenings and a set lunch menu during the day.
Kingscott was first mentioned in the Assize Rolls of 1281 as Kynscot, which derives from Cynes Cote; Cyne was a popular name used during the Anglo Saxon era and Cotes was a dwelling house or place for animals. It is however, more well known for its connections to the Civil War. Just down the road from The Garden Cottage is a set of thatched cottages known locally as 'The Barracks'; these are thought to have been used as billets for Royalist troops during the war. In 1645, the Royalist Army led by Lord Goring were housed in Torrington and some of the local villages, including Kingscott. The Royalists returned to Torrington in 1646 with Sir Ralph Hopton at the helm. The troops were stationed here in preparation for an attack by the Parliament's New Model Army, which was led by Generals Fairfax and Cromwell. As the New Model Army passed through the local villages, including Kingscott, they fought with the Royalists. The Royalists attempted to hold off the oncoming army at Higher Cross but were defeated and the New Model Army advanced via Allen's Week towards Hatchmoor. In February 1646 the Battle of Torrington began, the Loyalists were defeated and Lord Hopton was forced to withdraw. You can relive the Civil War today in Great Torrington, and take part in one of the guided tours which set off from Castle Hill.
Kingscott is part of the parish of St Giles in the Wood, which is home to several historic residences, including Stevenstone House, once the seat of the Rolle Family who were the largest landowners in Devon with 55,000 acres in 1873. Mark Rolle built most of the estate, including the Victorian terraced cottages, which can still be seen in the village today.