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Life in Appledore

Appledore Harbour

Appledore Harbour

Appledore is a small fishing village on the north coast of Devon. Considered a hidden gem, this friendly town of just over 2,000 inhabitants sits on the Torridge Estuary looking across the river to Instow. The River Torridge runs down from Bideford and joins the broader River Taw which originates on Dartmoor and passes through Barnstaple before the two rivers merge at Appledore.

Local novelist, Charles Kingsley, described Appledore as a “little white fishing village” and so it remains even today. Quaint fishermen’s cottages of all sizes line the quay and are popular with artists and holiday makers as well as local families who have lived here for generations.

Those wanting to be part of village life, albeit temporarily, will find plenty of Appledore cottages to rent, offering a true experience of life in Devon. Holiday cottages with names like Tranquility Cottage and Cockle Cottage can be found tucked down traffic-free streets and are available through holiday letting agents.

Appledore Festivals

The Appledore residents put on a remarkable calendar of Appledore Festivals each year which are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and give the village a special energy. There is also an extensive list of local events around Appledore which will keep you busy and entertained whenever you visit.

Appledore Quay and Ferries

The quay remains well used by local pleasure craft and a handful of small fishing boats. Just across the estuary is Braunton Burrows, now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The first ferry ran between Appledore and Braunton in 1639. Time and tides did not stop the postal service and from about 1849 to 1939, in all weathers, letters from Appledore were ferried across to Instow just across the River Torridge until the town got its own Post Office. In 2011 the Ferry between Appledore and Instow started up again and it is great to see the Ferry tradition back in Appledore. Don’t miss the Hockings Ice Cream Van on the Quay – definitely one of your holiday treats.

Appledore Crafts and Food

Leading away from the waterfront there are several narrow streets lined small local shops and Georgian cottages with pretty bow windows. Coffee shops, restaurants, old pubs and inns bedecked with summer flowers all provide a good choice of food. Two of the oldest inns, the Royal George and the Beaver, can be found on Irsha Street and have traditional beamed ceilings and flagstone floors in the cosy bars. They serve local cider and ales with strange names such as Hobgoblin, Otter Amber and Betty Stogs!

Local crafts are sold at the at the many galleries in Appledore. Heirloom dolls’ houses, jewellery, artworks and hand-blown glass all make lovely souvenirs of a stay in this charming port town.

Local Devon foods are part of Appledore life with farm-fresh clotted cream and ice cream on sale in most stores. Tasty Devon lamb, freshly caught fish and crab feature on the menu in local restaurants and Sylvester’s serves the best fish and chips.

Family friendly Appledore

Appledore is ideal for families as there are a host of things to do with Children in Appledore, safe sandy beaches to play on and new experiences to see. From buying fresh fish off the fishing boats to feeding baby animals at the Big Sheep farm nearby, Appledore provides a wealth of educational activities.

Older visitors will enjoy learning about Appledore’s history at the Maritime Museum on Odun Street or taking a day trip to see the puffins on remote Lundy Island or one of the many other interesting places to visit in the Appledore area.

Brief History

Narrow Street of Appledore

Narrow Street of Appledore

A stroll around Appledore will reveal its labyrinth of narrow lanes such as Irsha Street. Just ten feet wide from doorstep to doorstep it has a gully running down the middle. Some of the cottages date back to Elizabethan times, although most are from the Georgian era. The oldest building in Appledore is Docton House on Marine Parade and it now houses the Docton Court Gallery

St Mary’s Church was built in 1837 on the site of a much older place of worship. There is a large graveyard full of local family names. The church has some fine stained glass windows and wood from the Marco Polo was used to create the wooden screen.

Shipbuilding was the main source of local employment and although it is now a shadow of its former size, the shipbuilding business continues in Appledore at Babcock Marine Shipyard. The hub of the village is the waterfront quay with attractive walks continuing along the river towards Bideford and Westward Ho!