the lifestyle in Westward Ho!
expatriate Kathy Murdoch and her husband Chris decided to
return to North Devon after spending most of their married
lives working in London and the Far East, they chose Kathy’s
family home Duckhaven Stud in Westward Ho! and created Westward
Living. Westward Living brings together all the best ideas
that they have experienced from their travels and brings
the best out of Westward Ho! The Westward Living concept
has been derived from their own experiences travelling and
staying in luxury resorts across the world.
mesmerising views, beautiful horses together with the hospitality
you receive on arrival is “awesome”.
name Westward Ho! sounds like it has come out of
a novel and this is true. This Victorian seaside
resort was founded in 1863 and was made famous on
the strength of Charles Kingsley’s novel about
the seafaring Elizabethans. In fact it can proudly
boast to be the only place in the British Isles
to be named after a book and have an exclamation
mark after its name!
There is more to Westward living than its owners
though, driving up to spend a week or two in luxury
surroundings on a Stud itself is exciting and to
top that with the
says “our guests come back to Duckhaven because
of the incredible location and hospitality they experience
here I believe our location and us make Duckhaven really
unique, South East Asia was a wonderful opportunity to learn
from the masters of hospitality, we aim to deliver that
service to all of our guests”.
Up until recently Duckhaven Stud was a thoroughbred racing
yard, although the resident stallion Silca Blanka is still
standing at Duckhaven, the core business is now holiday
cottages, which is great for guests who have an interest
in race horses and breeding.
Established in 2009 with original 2 stable cottages Silca
Blanka and Surcoat, six unique cottages now stand in the
scenic grounds of a working Devonshire thoroughbred stud
farm, Duckhaven Stud which is in the Areas of Natural Beauty
and Unesco Biosphere Reserve; this means that guests arrive
at a truly unique setting with an opportunity to experience
living in one of the worlds most beautiful locations. The
stud farm and racing yard for thoroughbreds horses boast
some of Duckhaven’s winners including the resident
stallion Silca Blanka, Star Player (winner of the Chester
cup 1992) Surcoat, Warm Winter & Fanatical.
Each cottage is named after a winning horse, footage
of winning races and photos are available for guests
to view, they may also have a personal introduction
or grooming session with the horses, this is a complimentary
option which the owners enjoy sharing with guests.
Mares are covered at the stud each spring and the
foal are born in the Spring. Guests are welcome to
watch the foaling and each new foal’s stable
name is named after a lucky guest!
welcomes visitors who enjoy self-catering holidays in a
traditional and rural setting. Guests enjoy a relaxing and
tranquil atmosphere, surrounded by wonderful landscapes
and a short distance from sandy beaches. Guests also enjoy
private access from their cottage directly onto the coastal
footpath. On a clear day guests can enjoy the breathtaking
panoramic views of Clovelly, Lundy Island, Westward Ho!,
Saunton Sands and the Torridge Estuary – this truly
is a sight not to be missed.
Nature lovers will also appreciate the chance to see some
of England's favourite wildlife, while there is a great
deal to do locally, including water sports, walking and
cycling, and horse riding.
There are plans for four more cottages this autumn.
Events and Retreat Activities
A purpose built
office with conference and board room facilities is available
at Duckhaven for corporate events and courses.
Photography courses are available at Duckhaven Stud from
Sept – April in association with , internationally
renowned local artist and photographer Stephen Ring. http://www.stephenring.co.uk/workshops.php.
The geography of Duckhaven being in the Unesco biosphere
and AONB makes it the perfect location for natural photography.
Combining visual harmony with attraction Stephen re-creates
the dramatic, changing coastline of North Devon and North
Cornwall. Courses range from half day to 5 days workshops
, guests will enjoy the thrill of capturing images under
Steven’s guidance in some of the most secret spots
in North Devon! It is a journey that takes guests to the
most amazing beaches, unspoilt and studded with their own
distinct character and breathtaking views.
Westward Ho! has its own character. Until 1863 Westward
Ho! was just pastureland with a few farmhouses and ploughed
fields. Admiring the beach from Duckhaven, an ancient forest
and stone-age remains are evident at low tide on the 2-mile
long clean and sandy beach.
The beach is
protected by the pebble ridge and was traditionally rebuilt
every year after the winter storms, by the local community
to protect their grazing rights. This was followed by a
celebration and the creation of the PotWalloping festival,
which still runs in the village in May and celebrates the
tradition that was once part of village life. The 2-mile
long sandy beach has been awarded the Blue Flag safety award.
As well as being located on top of Westward Ho! Tors which
boasts the most amazing panoramic views of the Atlantic
Ocean and beautiful sandy blue flag beach of Westward Ho!
Duckhaven Stud is also less than 2 miles from the Royal
North Devon Golf Club, Britain’s oldest links course,
perfect for golf lovers! Saunton Sands and Torrington Golf
clubs are also within easy reach of Westward Ho!
The picturesque and romantic fishing villages of Clovelly,
Bucks Mills and Hartland can be reached by foot along the
coastal footpath or by car. Duckhaven is also only a couple
miles away from Appledore and Instow both host to many well
hidden fish restaurants and local pubs.
Fishing trips can be arranged in Clovelly & Appledore
and both helicopter and boat trips are available to Lundy
Island. Westward Ho! is perfect for surfers, the world class
surf at Westward Ho! beach and array of surfing schools
offer coaching to everyone from beginners to professionals!
Contact details: Kathy Murdoch
Tel: 01237 238967
Mobile: 07866 423704
Every cottage has a welcome pack with everything you
need to know to make your stay welcome and here are
some simple facts:
Car Parking is available in the main car park. Cars
are permitted in front of your cottage for loading
and unloading purposes only; this is to avoid any
possible conflict between horse and car (horses can
Check in / check out
Check in time is 2pm and check out time is 10.30am.
A later check out can be arranged subject to new guests
A map of the land is available and guests are free
to wonder as they wish. Jeep trips to the glorious
coastal views can be arranged – perfect setting
for a romantic picnic or just a lovely place to relax
with a good book or painting easel. If you are lucky
you will catch a glimpse of foxes, badgers, roe deer.
Towels and linen
Towels are available to hire for a small fee of GBP
3 per person per week.
Ironing Board and Iron: Located in
the cupboard in the lounge.
Hair dryer: available on request
Rubbish: Recylcing and Non-recycling
Smoking: All our cottages have a
no smoking policy
Fire evacuation information available
in all cottages:
Torch: A torch is provided under
A selection of board games and reading materials are
located in your lounge cupboard