Golf

For the golfers there is the championship course at Saunton. There are two courses to choose from, both are kept in fantastic condition. They are simply exquisite.  The layout of the courses sit seamlessly within the burrows behind the Beach of Saunton Sands. The 18th green before clubhouse belongs to the East which is reputed to be the tougher course, although I find both an equal challenge; if I can see my ball I know its not lost in the wiry rough, which lurks menacingly close to the greens. There are some terrificly narrow par fours to test your nerves and picturesque short holes to fall in love with.

If you play golf and visit North Devon this club should be top of your list. Its not cheap mind, but having two courses halves the wear (most golfers choose to play the East) and there are twighlight deals and winter deals available – just ask. I have always found them very accomodating and welcome visitors. I get the impression that they really want to share this course with non members.

Other gems are Royal North Devon – the museum in the clubhouse top trumps anything I have ever been to. It has a super kitchen too, I had a knockout omlette here, and good beer. It is a very exposed course on public land; hazards include dog walkers, horses and drifting tees shots.

I have to mention Ilfracombe GC . Dont play it in the rain – its grim. A short clifftop course with extraordinary views make it a satisfyingly windy pleasure. A few oddidies to keep you entertained include a run of three par threes on the front nine (one is an 80yrd flick with a intimidating gorge between you and the flag). A tee to accomodate the 8th and 14th which cross over each other and the 16th / 17th tee where you tee off twice then putt out on 16 (par 3) and track left onto the 17th fairway to play your second to the green before the dissapointing 18th – another par three. Its also super hilly and chilly. Take a beanie, as Ilfracombe seems to be five degrees colder than everywhere else.