Widecombe in the Moor Farmhouse Rental Photos and Description
17th century granite longhouse in heart of Dartmoor National Park.
Lower Blackaton, a south-facing 17th century Devon longhouse in the spectacular setting of the Dartmoor National Park, is ideal for gatherings of family and friends or as a base for walkers, riders or kayakers. Completely refurbished with all modern conveniences since it was a working farm, it has retained its traditional Dartmoor character and is surrounded by wild open country with superb views. There are beds for 12 in 5 bedrooms. The smaller of two sitting rooms and a landing can also be used as bedrooms, each with a double futon bed. As well as an Aga in a traditional farmhouse kitchen, 2 wood burning stoves and oil-fired central heating, it has a comprehensive library of books, CDs and games for all ages and a piano. In the informal grounds (approx 1 acre) there are picnic tables, BBQ and childrens' play equipment, and a walled flower and herb garden in a listed ruin. A 45ft barn, originally an older longhouse, can be rented with the house to provide additional accommodation or as a venue for parties, special meals, workshops, conferences or just as a lovely open space. The picturesque village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor and a bronze age settlement are within walking distance. Low, mid and high season rates for small (max 6), standard (7-10) or high occupancy (max 16). Short breaks in mid and low season.
- children welcome
- non smoking only
- pets considered
- suitable for elderly or infirm
- wheelchair inaccessible
About Judy Lomax
David and Judy Lomax have owned Lower Blackaton since 2003 and already knew Dartmoor well. They met and at university in Oxford, and in the 1960s, when she was teaching and he was the BBC’s reporter for the south west, lived in a cottage at Clearbrook on the southern edge of the moor. Later while David’s TV reporting work took him all over the world for BBCTV's Panorama and Newsnight programmes, they lived for 36 years in Berkshire but spent many family summer holidays in the West Country.
Apart from their interest in journalism, writing and photography, David and Judy are both keen sailors and members of the Royal Cruising Club. They have cruised extensively in their 35ft yacht Cloud Walker exploring the Atlantic, Baltic, and Caribbean, and visiting, among other places, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland and the Azores. In 1991 they were members of the crew of Gaia, a replica Viking ship, on a voyage from Norway to Washington DC via L'Anse au Meadows, the Vinland where according to the Sagas the first Vikings landed in North America 500 years before Columbus. This six-month expedition was the subject of one of Judy’s five books and of a TV documentary by David. They have also sailed the Norwegian coast from Oslo to Kirkenes and then to Murmansk. Judy’s subsequent pilot book Norway, published for the Royal Cruising Club's Pilotage Foundation by Imray, is now in its second edition.
David and Judy, whose numerous grandchildren stay at Lower Blackaton whenever possible, celebrated their golden wedding in 2012 with a party on midsummer's day. More than 100 friends and family kept dry in the top barn, the newly rebuilt open-fronted barn, a marquee and under tarpaulins rigged up by their Norwegian son-in-law. Food and the marquee were provided by Ullacombe Farm catering, music by Art Deco, a superb jazz band complete with sousaphone, and grandchildren made full use of a bouncy castle in torrential rain.
Judy Lomax purchased this farmhouse in 2003
Why Judy Lomax chose Widecombe in the Moor
Way back in the 1960s when David was the local regional reporter for the BBC, we lived for a while on Dartmoor, and always wanted to come back. After 36 years in Berkshire it was time to make this dream come true, and we feel fortunate and privileged to have found Lower Blackaton. For the first few years, we lived in a building site, doing up first the house, then the lower barn (in which we now live while holiday makers are in the house), and finally the beautiful upper barn which is now available with the house for special events, workshops etc. Last of all, we rebuilt the curved partially open fronted corrugated barn. Lower Blackaton is now repaying us for all the time, effort and money we have lavished on it, and we enjoy sharing our beautiful home and its wonderful Dartmoor setting with others.
What makes this farmhouse unique
When we decided to move back to the west country from Berkshire, we were looking for somewhere with a wow factor, if possible on or near the high moor. We wanted to be able to walk from the front door without using a car, to have room to gather our large family together, and longed for the sense of freedom of Dartmoor's wide open spaces. From the moment we leant over the gate we knew Lower Blackaton was that place, although at the time much of the house and the listed ruin which is now our flower and herb garden were almost hidden under creeper, the massive fireplaces had only tiny openings, and the barns were in a sorry state. With the help and expertise of a skilled local builder, our dreams for the house and barns have come true. It has been the setting for our own family gatherings (including our golden wedding party in 2012), and for many other gatherings of family and friends who seem to enjoy the house and the moor as much as we do.