Thursday, April 15, 2010
Newton Poppleford is a perfect place to relax and take some time exploring. There are many interesting buildings, including the church, village hall and toll house, and there are friendly shops plus many eating places.
The name of the village itself reflects its long history Newton Poppleford literally means new town built on a pebbly ford. Popple is the local name for pebbles, and there are many popplestone walls in the area. First settled in Saxon times, it has long been established as an ideal stopping-off point for travellers, situated amongst beautiful countryside on the main Exeter to Sidmouth Road, and only a short drive from Sidmouth on the coast.
One of Newton Popplefords claims to fame is its wonderful spring-time displays of daffodils. They are the renowned King Alfred variety, with large colourful trumpets. These were created through cross-pollination by former London solicitor John Kendall at the local market garden, The Gardens. The daffodils are so well known that there is even a local street named after them, King Alfred Way and, in 1999, the King Alfred variety celebrated its 100th anniversary by winning an award from the Royal Horticultural Society.
A good starting point for exploring the village is the hump-back bridge across the beautiful River Otter. Follow the course of the attractive, gently sloping main street, lined with a variety of architectural styles, and admire the charming village hall peeping from behind the terraced cottages on the right hand side, and visit the church (pictured), built on the site of the original 14th century church. Also of note is the tiny toll house dating from 1758.
There is plenty to explore in the surrounding area too and, if you are a keen walker, you are in for a real treat. At the Sidmouth end you can follow a peaceful walk along the River Otter to Tipton St John, then on through the village and turn right to follow the woody tracks to the picturesque hamlet of Harpford, with its ancient church. The area is networked with lovely footpaths a pleasure to explore and a wonderful area for picnics.
Whether walking, cycling or driving, it is well worth obtaining a good map of the area in order to obtain the full benefits.
Newton Poppleford has an ancient pedigree. It was originally settled by the Saxons and founded as a new town in the 13th century by the Lord of the Manor of Aylesbeare, who was granted the right to hold a market, which was originally sited at the centre of the town. Over the years the surrounding fertile pastureland developed into a thriving agricultural community, and in modern times residential housing has expanded making Newton Poppleford a highly popular place in which to settle down.
In 2005 it is a thriving friendly community, and the perfect place to visit and relax awhile.