I have a real soft spot for Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Many years ago my best friend Katy, who had moved to the USA in her teens, used to come back every year to visit me and she would always drag me down to Widecombe. She used to go riding there as a child and she always loved the village and the wild moors that surround it. In fact, when she died we scattered her ashes on Bonehill Tor so that she could look down on Widecombe forever.
Now I visit there fairly regularly and it is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Widecombe Fair (on the second Tuesday in September) is the main attraction but can be so busy you need to book a long time in advance or stay some way from the village and drive in (although if the weather is wet be prepared for your car getting stuck in the muddy fields they use as car parks!) The fair is great and has changed very little over the years. You can get anything from home made goods to food to wonderful photographic prints of Dartmoor. If you go when the Fair isn’t on you will find a small village with a church, very few shops and just a couple of B&B’s.
On my latest visit I stayed at Manor Cottage B&B which is right in the village and is a lovely old cottage with a beautiful garden. Rooms are circa 1960’s but clean and comfortable (although I found it odd that the shared bathroom had no shower. Lots of guests queuing for a bath each morning can’t be very economical and is rather time wasting!) Breakfast was lovely with home grown fruit and jams. Some of my friends stayed at The Sheena Tower B&B which is about a mile out of the village. This B&B has a breakfast room which gives a panoramic view of the moors and the proprietor was really friendly and helpful. He even ran my friends down into the village when they needed, to save them walking. There are 2 pubs in Widecombe The Old Inn which is a lovely olde worlde pub in the centre of the village. It has an outside garden where you can have a meal or drink whilst surrounded by the pub’s hens and ducks. The other pub, a short walk from the village, is The Rugglestone Inn. This served excellent food and is nearly always full as it’s reputation for good food has obviously reached locals and tourists alike.
There are lots of walks from Widecombe and horse riding can be arranged as well. So if you are touring Dartmoor this year Widecombe is well worth a visit. We had no car so we got the train to Newton Abbott and it was a taxi ride from there (although there is also a bus that goes there).