Living the lifestyle in Westward Ho!
When former 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.
The 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
incredible location, mesmerising views, beautiful horses together with the hospitality you receive on arrival is “awesome”.
Kathy 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!
Westward Living 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.
Meetings, 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 get spooked!)
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 arrival times.
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 Bins available
Smoking: All our cottages have a no smoking policy
Fire evacuation information available in all cottages:
Torch: A torch is provided under the sink
A selection of board games and reading materials are located in your lounge cupboard