Ashley House is located on the aptly named Paradise Lawn, South Molton. As a small market town South Molton is a little short of parking space, so to have secure, gated parking as part of the package is a real bonus! By car you access Ashley House from the rear entrance on North Street through an electronic gate that leads to parking and a walled vegetable and fruit garden, then it’s through a gate into a second walled garden which houses a chicken coop where a group of lovely hens provide the delicious eggs served at breakfast, finally though a third gate leading to a walled flower garden and lawn which slopes down to the house itself.
The house is amazing, a standard B&B it is not. This is high-end boutique B&B aimed squarely at couples that want to spoil themselves a little and Nicky and Jamie are welcoming and attentive hosts – nothing is too much trouble and their dog Cassie is the soppiest, friendliest Golden Retriever you’ll ever come across. From the minute you walk through the door it is obvious that Nicky and Jamie have spent a great deal of time and effort to make your stay perfect. The standard of décor and attention to detail is stunning with high Victorian ceilings and period features sympathetically and tastefully decorated to give a contemporary but cosy feel. Unashamed champions of local producers and their produce you’ll find hand-made local chocolate truffles on your dresser, locally produced toiletries in the bathroom (I loved the Devon violets hand wash) and locally blended teas and fresh milk for your early morning cuppa. There are even complementary bottles of Devon spring water for your walks across Exmoor. Nicky and Jamie have compiled a helpful guide to local pubs and restaurants with menus and price guides to help you make the most of your stay, they’ve even negotiated preferential rates with a local taxi firm if you want to sample a few beers with your meal!
With front and back door keys, access code to the secure parking and the guest wing separate from Nicky and Jamie’s living space you are free to come and go as you wish. This really is a relaxed and relaxing place to stay.
After a night in a comfy bed you’ll be ready for breakfast and the smell of freshly brewed coffee will lure you down to the beautifully appointed breakfast room with its perfectly laid tables, comfy sofa and attractive fireplace. Breakfasts at Ashley House are freshly cooked and delicious, economy sausage and value beans they are not. Apart from the freshly laid eggs courtesy of their own hens, the bacon and sausage are from a local butcher, bread is ‘proper’ bread from a local bakery and the preserves are homemade by Nicky’s mum – the blackcurrant jam is highly recommended.
South Molton itself is a nice little market town that still holds markets on Thursday and Saturday. Don’t be surprised to see a sheep wandering down the high street or a white duck in a bow tie. The sheep has probably escaped from the livestock market and the duck is Star – he and his owner collect for local charities on market day.
Will I visit Ashley House again? Can’t wait. Would I recommend others to go? Absolutely, but shhh, don’t tell everyone or there won’t be room for me.