We’ve spent a lot of time in north Devon over the years, thanks to the annual reader rally that we used to hold at Stowford Farm Meadows.

Peter and I recently revisited the area with our long-term Bailey Phoenix 440 in tow for a cover shoot. What I discovered was that, despite my frequent visits, I had actually barely seen the surrounding area at all. 

We stayed at Stowford Farm meadows, but we ventured further afield than I had previously, and found some spectacular scenery – as well as some rather alarmingly steep roads! 

One great example is Countisbury Hill, leading out of the small town of Lynmouth. It begins with a challenging 25% grade before evening out to around 20% for the following two miles or so. Having left the caravan on our pitch at Stowford, even with nothing to tow, the Mitsubishi PHEV that we have on test didn’t exactly power up the hill. It is capable, certainly, but you certainly wouldn’t want to be towing anything substantial.

That aside, the views from this stretch of road really are a delight – for passengers, at least – and there’s a great view back to Lynmouth along the coast from the National Trust car park just past Countisbury. The pub in this tiny hamlet also looks like it has great views from the pub garden, incidentally.

Heading back west, just the other side of Lynton, an unassuming road out of the village unexpectedly opens out to reveal the vast and dramatic Valley of the Rocks. Surrounded by ancient granite tors and with bronze ferns growing up the valley sides, it was a photographer’s dream. 

We soon picked the caravan back up to bring it to the Valley of the Rocks to get our beautiful cover shot that you can see in the next issue. (It’ll be on sale just after Christmas – keep an eye out!)

For all the lovely scenery we saw on the trip, it was almost always capped with dull grey skies. But, just as we were winding down for the day, the setting sun poked through underneath the cloudline to give us a glorious golden send-off as we packed up ready for the 5-hour tow back to London. 

Read all about our trip in the next issue, out 27 December. To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe today. You can even take advantage of our special Christmas offer to save money!