A rural parish in North Devon, England including Brayford village, High Bray and Charles, and a part of Exmoor National Park


Home Diary Geography History Clubs & Societies Who's Who Gallery About this site Links Archive

A View of Brayford

The Parish of Brayford is situated on the south-western boundary of Exmoor and includes a part of the National Park.
Brayford is in a highly picturesque location, bounded by green fields and woodlands, and situated in a steep sided valley, with the River Bray running through the middle of the village and acting as a focal point for young and old alike.  The Bray rises on Exmoor, near Challacombe, and tumbles down to 470 feet above sea level where it flows through the village, then joins the River Mole south-west of South Molton, and finally the River Taw which eventually sweeps through Barnstaple to the sea.  The hills are populated with livestock as this is well known sheep and cattle country. The famous red deer of Exmoor are commonly seen, and the proverbial fox is a familiar sight. The streams are healthy and brown trout and, in season, salmon are to be found.

The population of the Parish was 419 in 2000, and there are, at present, 300 on the Electoral Roll. There is a small but highly regarded primary school in the village under the direction of the Headteacher and the dedicated staff.  The nearest pub is the Poltimore Arms, a short drive east from the village and renowned for its hospitality and excellent cuisine. If you need to walk home itís all down hill (almost).  The Parish retains a strong community spirit and it seems almost pointless to run a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, as everybody naturally keeps a wide eye open all the time. The true spirit is never more evident than when real help is needed.

Transport Links
Barnstaple, North Devonís commercial and administrative centre can be reached in 20 minutes.
Within about half an hour, the coastal resorts such as Lynton, Ilfracombe, Saunton and Westward Ho! are accessible by car.

Brayford village is about 5 miles from the A361 North Devon Link Road, and Tiverton Parkway Railway Station, by Junction 27 of the M5, can be reached in 35-40 minutes. From there, trains to London Paddington take around 2 hours 20 minutes, and there are also services to Bristol, Birmingham, the North and Scotland. Alternatively, for a more leisurely trip, go to Barnstaple and take the scenic Tarka Line to Exeter.

There is a bus service (DevonBus 657) on Fridays only, from South Molton to Barnstaple that runs via North Molton, High Bray (1005) and Brayford (1015). The return journey leaves Barnstaple at 1405.
On Thursdays only, there is a service (DevonBus 873) from Brayford (Barnstaple Cross) at 0850 running via West and East Buckland to South Molton. The return journey leaves South Molton at 1150.
There is also a School service leaving Brayford at 0817 to South Molton and returning at 1535, during College terms only.   
Full Timetable  

Brayford Parish Boundary
The boundary of the Parish of Brayford extends southwards from Mockham Down Gate on the A399, passing west of Mockham Down to Thornpark Cottages, along a tributary of the River Bray past Parsonage Wood to Charles Bottom and then to the River Bray itself. It then follows the River Bray northwards to Newtown Bridge and then another tributary (Little Owl River) through Barton Wood towards Holewater Cross, continuing through woods to Sherracombe Ford and reaching the border with Somerset north of Five Barrows Hill. The county boundary extends north-west from there to just north of Sloley Stone, reaching one of the highest points in the Parish (474 metres; 1556 feet). The Parish boundary then runs west-south-west across Castle Common, again reaching about 474 metres, through Shoulsbury Castle and down to Red Gate and Leworthy Bridge. It then follows the Bray valley before turning west of Stock Down and reaching the A399 just east of Mockham Down Gate.

Neighbouring Parishes (anticlockwise from Mockham Down Gate) are Stoke Rivers, East and West Buckland, North Molton, Exmoor (Somerset), Challacombe and Bratton Fleming.

Historically, the boundaries of the separate Parishes of Charles and High Bray followed that of the present Brayford Parish, with the division being almost exactly aligned with the River Bray. Thus Brayford village was split between the two Parishes. At one time High Bray Parish also included a small geographically separate area, covering Yard Down and West Yard (now Yarde).
Parish Boundary Map   Brayford Location Map

The Tarka Trail
The Tarka Trail is a 180 mile long-distance path forming a figure of eight route centred on Barnstaple, crossing a part of Exmoor, traversing the North Devon coast, following the Taw and Torridge valleys, and reaching the northern fringe of Dartmoor. It has been described as one of the best walking and cycling trails in Devon, if not England.

A section of the path is in Brayford Parish and approximately follows the parish boundary from Charles Bottom, over Newtown Bridge and through Barton Wood to Lower Hall Farm. From there it climbs Whitefield Down to join the road to Sloley Stone and continues north out of the parish.

Exmoor National Park
Exmoor National Park was established in 1954 and consists of a central moorland plateau surrounded by rounded hills and a coastline of high cliffs, rocky headlands and wooded ravines. It covers an area of 267 square miles of which 29% is in Devon. Approximately 38% of Brayford Parish lies within the National Park, and the boundary is shown in yellow on the
Parish Boundary Map

The early hunter gatherers with their mobile way of life made little impression on Exmoor but about 6000 years ago people began to settle and farm, and the woodland clearance began, eventually leading to the moorland landscape we know today. The Royal Forest of Exmoor was established in the middle ages and large estates developed. Attempts to improve the moorland soil and introduce more intensive farming continued until quite recently but Exmoor prevailed. Today, as well as a major tourist attraction, Exmoor is still a working landscape supporting the activities of its people, but is protected against destructive exploitation.

Home Diary Geography History Clubs & Societies Who's Who Gallery About this site Links Archive

Supported by Brayford Parish Council