Broadhembury – chocolate box village

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:04 13 August 2018

Broadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3356. Picture: Terry Ife

Broadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3356. Picture: Terry Ife


East Devon has some delightful villages to explore, right across the area.

Broadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3352. Picture: Terry IfeBroadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3352. Picture: Terry Ife

Broadhembury has been described as a chocolate box village with its rural setting and traditional style of English architecture.

It is described in Devon, by W G Hoskins, as ‘one of the most attractive cob-and-thatch villages in Devon: it is rural East Devon at its best.”

The village can be found on the edge of the Blackdown Hills and it takes its name from Hembury Fort, which is an Iron Age fortress which was developed on a Neolithic site, the name of which means ‘the high burr’.

The church of St Andrew dates back to the late 14th and early 15th century and over the years it has had a number of notable features, not all of which have survived restoration efforts over the years.

Broadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3350. Picture: Terry IfeBroadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3350. Picture: Terry Ife

One of these is described in W G Hoskins’ Devon. It said: “The medieval rood-screen was removed to an outhouse in about 1851, and there burnt: the determined restorers stuck at nothing. The Victorian interior of the church is pleasant, but it might have been beautiful had they been content to leave things alone.”

The wider parish extends to around 4,700 acres with about a third of it being in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

According to the parish council website: “It is an interesting parish; its shape is much like that of the Indian sub-continent and is formed of two south-facing valleys which drop from North Hill on the Blackdown Hills to the level peninsula of Luton.”

Two rivers run through the parish; the River Weaver flows through the nearby village of Kerswell, on its route to the Rivers Culm, then Exe, joining the sea at Exmouth.

Broadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3348. Picture: Terry IfeBroadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3348. Picture: Terry Ife

But through Broadhembury itself, the River Tale runs, before going on to join the River Otter and its ultimate destination of Budleigh Salterton, where it flows into the English Channel.

One of the centres for community life is the Memorial Hall, which was built in 2015, with aid from a Big Lottery Fund grant.

The hall was officially opened in September of that year by television personality Kirstie Allsopp.

With such a good facility in the village, Trustees of the building aim to ensure that it is used as much as possible for the benefit of the inhabitants.

Broadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3347. Picture: Terry IfeBroadhembury. Ref exr 20 18TI 3347. Picture: Terry Ife

Another centre of village life is The Drewe Arms.

It offers a warm welcome, no matter what the season, whether you wish to sit by the woodburning stove on the colder days of winter or take the chance to enjoy the garden, where you can find a patio and grassed areas to relax under the warm summer sun.

No matter how you choose to relax, Broadhembury offers some delightful views and walks, where you can enjoy one of the highlights of East Devon.

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