The Old House is a rare survival of a 15th century medieval farmhouse with a two-bay hall, beams dating from 1435 and a painted room, likely once used as a chapel, with unique wall paintings. The house has kept its original layout more fully than most surviving small domestic buildings of that period with a roof that retains its original crucks and windbraces and with carpentry of an unusually high standard for a modest domestic building, suggesting it had some special purpose.
Our tour of Westcombe Dairy, a small artisan dairy making traditional Cheddar and other West Country cheeses, will include the production process, the cheese cave in the hillside where the cheddar matures, a brief history of Westcombe cheese and a tasting of the cheeses in the shop. John Boyd Horsehair Factory is one of the last surviving horsehair weavers in the world in a textile town famous for weaving linen fabric and rope manufacturing. Although John Boyd died in 1890, his fabrics and the tradition of horsehair weaving continues using the original looms and techniques. Our tour will include the history of the business and show how fabric is made from the basic raw materials through to the finished cloth.
Our second day will be spent at The Newt with exclusive tours of the main rooms at Hadspen House, the award-winning, redesigned gardens, a Cider tour with complimentary tasting, the Story of Gardening Experience and time to explore the woodland walks and retail outlets on site.