WEST MILL is a unique getaway. It sits alone just 400 yards from the sea in the Marsland valley traversed by the stream that divides North Devon and Cornwall. There’s not another house in sight. The valley is a nature reserve with an extraordinary diversity of habitat from the rocky coast, the cliffs rich in wild flowers, the hills and woods noted for birds and insects.

On the cliff edge the coast path is part of the finest stretch of the South West Way, which gives 600 miles of walking. Marsland beach is good for swimming at high tide when the sea is calm. There is sand at low tide, but Welcombe beach, reached over the rocks, has more sand and is best for surfing.