Sustainable Escapes: The best places to eat, stay and play in Devon
June 15 2022
Author : GRIDSERVE
Devon is one of the UK’s most popular staycations for scone fanatics, coast walkers and cottage lovers, not to mention the heritage trams, quiet beaches and long relaxing days.
From the sprawling moorlands and valleys of Dartmoor National Park to the coastal hotspots of Plymouth and Torquay and the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, the region really does have something for everyone.
And thanks to a growing EV charging network, it’s also an area that you can easily visit and explore with an electric car. Here are some of the best and most sustainable places to eat, stay and play when you’re visiting.
Where to charge your electric car in the Lake District?
As you head down into Devon on the M5, you’ll have several options of where to recharge on the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway, before striking off onto A-roads. All of our units accept contactless payment, provide charging for both CCS and CHAdeMO connectors and are powered exclusively by net zero carbon energy.
The Electric Super Hub at Moto Exeter at junction 30 of the M5 has 12 High Power chargers capable of a maximum 350kW charging – that’s powerful enough for the latest electric vehicles to add 100-miles of range in less than 10 minutes. There are also two dedicated accessible bays for those drivers who need a bit more room.
There are a further pair of 60kW-capable chargers at Moto Tiverton services at junction 27, as well as two more 60kW-capable chargers at Extra Cullompton Services at junction 28. At both of these sites you’ll also find a Type 2 22kW-capable AC charger.
Sustainable places to eat in Devon
Trust us, it wasn’t an easy job choosing the top places to eat but after a lot of tea (and some very heated scone discussions… cream or jam first?) we’ve picked the following spots that combine delicious food with eco-credentials.
Greendale Farm Shop & Cafe is perhaps the sustainable opposite of your local supermarket! It’s the best stop-off location to pick up sustainable food from the farm shop to stock up for your holiday, or you can drop into the kitchen or café from 8am to 4pm for some incredible organic and tasty treats. There are delicious options for every type of diner, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivorous. All menu options feature fresh locally grown ingredients from their farm and sustainable fishing boats and they source from carefully chosen suppliers throughout the region.
The Edgy Veggie Kitchen restaurant is a famous for its environmental regeneration. They source ingredients from local and nature-friendly producers or horticulturists that follow farming methods which reduce environmental impacts and supply seasonal ingredients free of chemicals to also reduce the food supply chain.
This ethos of innovation includes a focus on nourishing local habitats, and they also have fully compostable bio-plastic packaging solutions if you’re looking to take away. You can either visit the location or order online and have your stunning sustainable food delivered right to your holiday home door.
Based in Riverford Farm, The Riverford Field Kitchen serves organic veggies grown and picked in a literal ‘farm-to-plate’ experience. Booking is essential as everything is cooked to quantity to reduce waste and the menu is dreamy with seasonal, organic and ‘vegcentric’ dishes. You can eat inside or outside in the garden terrace next to the herb garden. A recent reviewer called it ‘the lunch of his life’ and on top of yummy food, they also run workshops and events on sustainable food consumption, food activism and the environment.
Sustainable places to stay in Devon
The Loveland Farm
A green development, this campsite with a variety of dwellings offers an environmentally mindful getaway combined with unique and instaworthy accommodations. The Loveland Farm campsite includes a 110kW biomass system and 5kW of solar, and waste reduction is their primary goal. Composting toilets require no water and because they use no chemicals the drainage is pollution free. They also grow most of their food on site and cooperate with local farmers to source ingredients. Everything from seed swaps to farm raised produce can be found at Loveland which is the home to a creative collective and has several different accommodation options, with our favourite, the stargazer pod pictured below.
Higher Wiscombe has more than proved that five-star luxury awards can be won at the same time as making environmental sustainability a priority! They converted old stone barns into cottages, and they’ve won eight sustainability awards for their efforts with a non-chemical bio plant fed from its own streams, a chemical free site and a biomass boiler for all the heating. They used recycled and local materials to create a wonderful property that can accommodate parties from 6-32 with so many amenities you’d be mad not to consider it.
Subtly folded into the Wheatland Farm Nature Reserve you’ll find five wind-powered eco lodges, meadows, boats, bikes and abundant wildlife. The 21 acres are farmed for wildlife and include over 200 species of flowering plants, barn owls, dragon flies and even orchids. This is the perfect location for wildlife photographers and those ready to take a holiday with heart as your booking fees will be contributed to ongoing conservation efforts.
Once a 16th century farmhouse, Higher Beeson is now a chic summer lake house with exotic plants, natural slate floors and of course, a pond where Mallards and Moorhens can be found dabbling amongst the lily pads. If you’re a gardener, this is the place to stay with 4 acres of incredible wildlife and well-placed benches so you can sit back and enjoy life in the wild. Did we mention they also have EV chargers installed and remain a coveted birdwatching location!
Things to do in Devon
Quince Honey Farm
If you’re a bee lover, Quince Honey Farm is the perfect day out. You can safely view thriving hives behind glass, make beeswax candles, watch beekeepers extract honey and see these magnificent creatures in action. If you’re feeling daring, you can take a lesson in beekeeping with all the safety kit included. There’s a kids park (aptly named the play hive) and the nectar gardens are where you can learn how bees propagate to keep the cycle of life turning.
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens is a great one for a mixed family trip, adults can meander through the gardens and explore the palm house with its tropical plants, while the kids make use of the miniature village, the football pitch and the climbing camp. It’s also a great spot for romance, so if you’re a couple, we recommend heading down to discover the little house of shells or the heritage secret garden with bubbling streams and birds singing. The whole operation is run by the Bicton Park Botanical Gardens Trust, established in 1735, it ensures the conservation and protection of the many rare and endangered species to be found in the area – including the Pinetum walk, which allows disabled access through 16 acres of threatened conifer trees, a very peaceful afternoon.
Seaton Heritage Tramway
Seaton Heritage Tramway is an electric tram with stunning views of the Axe Valley. It has an upper deck for those windblown photo opportunities, and it’s a great way to see the world-famous Jurassic Coast. There’s an enclosed saloon in case the weather turns and lots of wildlife to spot along the way at the Blackhole Marsh and the Seaton Wetlands Halt.
Growing since 1903, Becky Falls and nearby nature experiences are a must for anyone visiting Dartmouth. The walking trails are marked up like ski slopes: the blue trail will let you gently amble through some ancient woodland, while the boulder scrambling red route features an Instagram-friendly 70ft waterfall.
Bulworthy Project Charcoal Making
The Bulworthy Project is a nature reserve and a sustainable woodland enterprise based on 12.5 acres of woodland in Rackenford, Devon. The team run charcoal-making courses and are supported by the Devon Wildlife Trust. They even rent out a luxurious wood cabin, but they specialise in carbon sequestration by turning vegetation into peat, a fascinating process for all those environmentalists among us.
Thinking of travelling further afield? Check out our other sustainable escapes in Norfolk and the Lake District.