Exmoor Through a Lens
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Hills & moorland
Capture the rich tapestry of Great Britain on camera. Explore and photograph both the iconic and the quirky that make our land and coast unique. From the cottages and castles, fishing harbours and flower-rich meadows, hills and heathland, dry stone walls and designer gardens, unveil the true essence of your location. Our expert leader will give you the expertise you need to get the best out of your camera and that inspirational vista. During the course of each we'll walk up to 3 miles (5km)
- We'll spend most of the day outdoors seeking out the best images
- Your tutor will offer plenty of guidance and tuition
- Evenings offer opportunities for further tuition, or the chance to review the day's photographs
Great Reasons to Join Us
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, plus all transport to photographic sites and tuition
- Expert leader: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure that you get the most out of your holiday
- Accommodation: enjoy high-quality accommodation and excellent food at our Country Houses
- Sociability: spend time with like-minded people in a fun and relaxed environment.
As a historic National Trust property, Holnicote House is full of charm and character. Located on the extensive Holnicote Estate, at the foot of Exmoor, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday.
Holnicote House has 32 newly refurbished bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the thatched cottages, called Butlers and Guns, in the grounds.
Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night.
You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £5 extra per person per night.
If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.
All our Country Houses are tailored to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms.
There are two comfortable lounges, dining room and an attractive bar. The ballroom is a flexible space which can be used for dancing or for a variety of leisure activity holidays. Free WiFi is available in some public rooms. There is also a range of board games and books.
The heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September) is always popular with our guests. There's also a croquet lawn.
The gardens are particularly extensive and form part of the wider Holnicote Estate.
All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.
Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.
Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.
Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).
The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.
All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on local wildlife from a local speaker or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.
Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.
Family holidays: our activity leaders are on hand to organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner. These could include rounders, outdoor games, or crafts. After dinner there are further activities for the whole family.
Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.
Arrival & car parking facilities
- On arrival there is a level driveway with two speed bumps with ample parking on both sides of the drive
- The surface of the driveway is gravel
- It is possible to load and unload cars directly at the front door
- There is 1 dedicated disabled parking bays
- Assistance can be provided with luggage
Main entrance & reception
- The main entrance has 1 step (9cm high) and is 123cm wide. There is a ramp available on request for the side entrance
- The front door is locked during the night, but access is available via the boot room (with a digital door code)
- If accessing from the boot room, there are 2 steps up to the ground floor. The steps are 20cm and 34cm high and both are 133cm wide. Wooden handrail on both sides of the steps
- After entering the house, all the facilities are available without encountering any further steps, with the exception of the boot room (details above) or the ballroom, which is accessed via 3 steps. These steps are each 15cm high, 36cm deep and 125cm wide. Wooden handrail on both sides of the steps
- There are several floor coverings on the ground floor, mainly carpet, but also some nonslip safety flooring and original quarry tiles by the tradesman's entrance (the side entrance). The ballroom has wooden block flooring
Public areas - hall, stairs, landing, corridors etc
- All internal doors are 66cm wide (except where separate measurements have been given)
- The minimum width of the corridor is 126cm
- The floor surface on the stairs and upstairs corridors is short pile carpet. Ground floor corridor is non-slip flooring
Public areas - lounges
- The ground floor has 2 lounges, a dining room, a bar and a ballroom and a boot room
- The larger lounge (4.6m x 12m) is carpeted with plenty of seating (bucket chairs are 45cm high, settees 43cm high and the tables are 68cm in diameter, 72cm high). Door width 92cm
- Smaller lounge (8m x 7.5m). Bucket chairs are 47cm high, settees 37cm high and number of tables 39-48cm high. Door width 1m
- The ballroom (8m x 4.9m) is and has wood block flooring
- All furniture is easily movable
- There are 2 unisex toilets on the ground floor opposite the bar
- Minimum door width 80cm. Toilet heights are 40cm and 42cm
- Approximate room sizes are 1.22m x 1.37m for the first toilet and 1.22m x 2.57m for the second one
Dining room & bar
- The carpeted dining room (6m x 10m including Roman end) is situated on the ground floor with level access. Door width 94cm
- 6 round tables, each seating maximum of 10 guests
- Tables have an under space of 73cm high by 150cm wide. Each table has 4 legs 20cm away from the round edge
- The chairs do not have arms. The seats are 46cm high
- Waitress service
- Special diets catered for, but should be advised pre or on arrival
- The carpeted bar area is 3.6m x 4.9m. Door width 66cm. Built-in benches (47cm high) around the room seat 13 people. Various stools (51cm-75 cm high) and 5 circular tables (72cm high)
There are no dedicated disabled rooms, the room best suited for anyone with restricted mobility is room 22.
- The rest of the rooms are a mixture of single, twin and double rooms, located either in the main house, Guns Cottage, Butlers Cottage or Chalets. In the main house the bedrooms are on the first and second floor only
- The staircase is 106cm wide. There are 15 steps to the first floor landing (bedrooms 6 to 21), with another 3 steps to bedrooms 1 to 5. Each step is 17cm high, 29cm deep and 106cm wide
- Most of the bedrooms are en-suite with shower. Some rooms only have a wash basin, there are public bathrooms available
- Large extensive gardens, which include orchard, herb garden, flower borders and trellis enclosed pool area
- A bench, garden chairs and loungers are available
- Garden is fairly level, with tarmac pathways. Easy access
- The outdoor swimming pool is available from May to September. The pool size is 12m x 6m plus the Roman end which has 5cm x 5cm deep steps
- The pool does not have an attendant and is currently not equipped with aids to assist entry
- Within the pool area there is an alarm, first aid post, rescue hook and a life buoy
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Arrival day: Monday
You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 5pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Tuesday: Coastal Vistas and a Working Harbour
Our day begins with tuition focusing on apertures, depth of field, focus and the importance of the dioptre. We'll then take the short walk to Selworthy village with its thatched cottages, pretty gardens around a village green, a whitewashed church and views of the valley and hills. After lunch we'll continue to Porlock, a traditional Exmoor Village with views over the Bristol Channel and the rolling hills of the Exmoor National Park, then on to Porlock Weir, one of the most beautiful spots on the West Somerset Coast, an idyllic working harbour with stunning coastal vistas. Our final visit is to the picturesque village of Allerford to relax over afternoon tea and explore beautiful surroundings including a picturesque fifteenth-century packhorse bridge and a working smithy.
Wednesday: Steam trains, a castle and an old port
The day begins with tuition focusing on exposure compensation and metering. Our first location of the day is Minehead, a vibrant Somerset coastal destination with stunning scenery and the longest heritage steam railway in the country. From there we continue to Watchett, a charming little coastal town with an active marina and an old port with quaint houses. Our final visit is the medieval village of Dunster with a castle dramatically sited on a wooded hill. The castle has existed here since at least Norman times, with an impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower giving a reminder of its turbulent history.
Thursday: Ancient woodlands and high cliffs
Our day begins with tuition focusing on composition, the Mode dial and shutter speeds. Our first visit of the day are two villages on the coast, Lynton and Lynmouth, known by the Victorians as Little Switzerland. The two villages are linked by a famous cliff railway, well worth a ride, giving views over Lynmouth bay and towards the South Wales coast. We continue along the coastal path to the Valley of Rocks with wonderful scenery and flocks of wild goats, then to Watersmeet one of the largest remaining ancient woodlands in the south west. Here the East Lyn River cascades through the woodland, meeting Farley Water and giving the site its name. The site has a diverse breeding bird community, including ravens, redstarts, pied flycatchers and all three woodpeckers.
Friday: depart after a leisurely breakfast
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
- Your camera and other essential accessories
- memory card or memory stick
- battery and charger
- Your camera’s instruction manual (especially if you are a beginner, and because even your leader hasn’t memorised every digital camera menu settings!)
- waterproof clothing and outdoor footwear, ideally walking boots
- bag or bags for your camera equipment, spare clothing, lunch, water, etc
- Notebook and pencil (pencils work better in the rain!)
- Optional items (remember you will have to carry some of these):
• Spare memory cards
• Spare camera battery
• Spare camera (you never know)
• Small selection of lenses: wide angle, telephoto, macro, for example
• Filters: neutral density and graduated, polarising
• Laptop plus accessories for viewing, editing and sharing images (whilst not absolutely essential, bringing your own laptop will mean you get more from your photography holiday)
• Memory stick or CD for storing images
• Tripod or monopod if you feel more comfortable with one
• Camera rain-protector—a shower cap or plastic bag, or something more expensive if you prefer
During your stay at Holnicote House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Selworthy:
Less than a mile from Holnicote House is Selworthy village. At first glance the thatched cottages seem typical of many ancient settlements in this area. However, Selworthy is not as old as it looks, having been rebuilt in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. Sir Thomas was a philanthropist and designed the 'model' village himself to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. He used traditional designs and materials to create a deliberately old-fashioned village.
West Somerset Railway
Travel on Britain’s longest steam railway from Minehead to Bishops Lydyard. Now lovingly restored by volunteers, the line recreates a classic Great Western Railway branch line with steam trains operating daily from April to October. Minehead station is 10 minutes' drive from Selworthy, or can be reached on the number 300 bus. www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk
Lynton & Lynmouth
The quaint Victorian town of Lynton sits high on a hill, overlooking the coast and Lynmouth harbour. The two settlements are connected by the historic cliff railway. The short walk from Lynton to the Valley of Rocks is highly recommended.
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and his wife Sara lived in the village of Nether Stowey, about 45 minutes' drive from Selworthy, from 1796 to 1799. In 1909 it was acquired by the National Trust, and later restored and opened to the public. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage
Arlington Court, about an hour's drive away near Barnstaple is a fine Regency house set in an extensive estate. The grounds include a formal Victorian garden whilst the stables house the National Trust’s carriage collection of over fifty horse-drawn vehicles. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court
Hestercombe Gardens, around an hour's drive away near Taunton, were constructed in three periods - a landscape garden from the 1750s, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery from the 1870s, and Edwardian gardens of 1904-1908 designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. www.hestercombe.com
Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ
By train: The nearest railway station is at Taunton. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
By taxi: The 29 mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 50 minutes (please allow up to an extra 30 minutes for a weekday transfer). Taxis cost approx £56 per taxi. Every year we negotiate a pre-booked rate for these journeys. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. We recommend pre-booking your taxi and the taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.
By bus: There are buses which will take you from Taunton to Minehead, and then change to continue onto Selworthy Turn which is the bus stop at the bottom of the drive of Holnicote House. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 4½ mile journey will cost you approx £10 from our recommended taxi provider.
By car: From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.
To help you plan your journey, use www.traveline.info
Alan has been a working photographer for 25 years. His own area of interest in photography is social documentary, enabling him to record parts of society which otherwise might pass us by unnoticed. Alan is a qualified teacher who teaches media to a range of people from university students looking to start a career in photography to the older generation who are interested in photography as a hobby. His main focus in teaching is to enable people to gain control of their cameras while establishing and recording their own vision.
|Date & Rating||Customer Review||HF Holidays says|
6 Oct 2015, 3:27 p.m.
Company normally very good but Reservations service seems to have become less efficient this year, no information about the holiday (itinerary, registration form etc. was sent to us in advance of the holiday, had to phone up to be sent an email with the info.
Holiday was excellent, the leader, Derek Forss gave us an excellent photographic holiday; our driver was excellent, the hotel was lovely, the food was very good & the staff pleasant & helpful. The weather was also superb!
5 Oct 2015, 9:54 a.m.
5 Oct 2015, 7:22 a.m.
No review provided
Very efficient & friendly
Dates & Prices
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|2 Oct 2017||SLEPT - Exmoor Through a Lens - Selworthy||4||£515.00||£475.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
- Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
- Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person