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The Riddle | Luxury Self-Catering Cottage | North Bovey, Dartmoor

The Riddle

North Bovey, Dartmoor, Devon, UK

Sitting within the former tin-mining village of North Bovey, flanked by a cluster of thatched cottages and overlooking a village green, The Riddle is an immaculate country cottage containing features that hark back to Medieval times. In Dartmoor National Park, and complete with a hot tub and westerly herb garden that makes for a sun-spilled sundowner spot, The Riddle is full of period features; inglenooks, bare brickwork, and a pillar box red AGA.



The Riddle sits just off the village green in Dartmoor's beautiful North Bovey amongst an assembly of immaculate thatched cottages and a sweet 14th century church. Once home to wool farmers and later a post office as part of WH Smith’s family estate, you cannot help but fall in love with the owners' quirky touches in their stylish yet sympathetic renovation. Local antiques, vintage trunks and even a secret floorboard compartment (accessed only by those clever enough to solve the riddle on the original Dartmoor prison lock) make this luxury holiday cottage all very Sherlock!


Wake up to dulcet countryside melodies and sip coffee in the comforting cradle of the sofa. After long walks in the fresh air with your dogs in tow, and an Aga-cooked supper, those who want to watch a film can retreat to the snug, while the sitting room, featuring a deep fur rug and squishy sofas, is a sanctuary for old-fashioned socialisation over coffee or cocktails. Providing sheer bliss at the end of the day, three divinely designed bedrooms boast king-size beds and pure French linens. As well as a family shower room, two bedrooms enjoy Jack-and-Jill access to a bathroom with roll top bathtub.


North Bovey grips the south-east side of Dartmoor within a compelling landscape of wooded glades, butterscotch-coloured moorland and rolling green pastures peppered with fluffy white sheep. Look forward to horse riding to rocky tors, rustic pub lunches and afternoons spent lazing in the glorious English country garden to the back of the cottage, where there is a patio area and enclosed lawn. With herbs in the garden and local, home-grown produce available on hedge stalls throughout the village, country living never came so easy. For extra indulgence, spend a day in the spa at Bovey Castle.

The Facts

  • SleepsUp to 6 guests
    From £1,995 per week, £1,495 per short break
    Day hire options are available
  • Alternative group optionsUp to 2 or up to 4 guests
  • Bedrooms and bathroomsOn the first floor you will find three double bedrooms with king-size beds. There is a ground floor WC, first floor family shower room with WC, and first floor Jack-and-Jill bathroom with WC and roll-top bath with handheld shower attachment.
    View bedrooms
  • FeaturesHot tub
  • PetsTwo well-behaved dogs are welcome, or three on prior request.
    Each pet is charged at £60 per week or part thereof
  • Arrivals and departuresArrival Time: 4pmDeparture Time: 10am
  • FamilyYes, children are very welcome; one travel cot and one highchair are available. Please note that families should take care around the steep drop in the garden.
  • PracticalitiesThere is driveway parking for one car with overspill for additional cars around the green. The country kitchen has an Aga (available during the winter months), Nespresso CitiZ coffee machine, fridge-freezer, dishwasher and washing machine. The dryer is in the outbuilding and there is an outside tap for muddy dogs. As well as the electric fire there is underfloor heating in the bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Homestay includesA challenging Sherlock Holmes inspired riddle to play, luxury welcome hamper, dog-friendly goodies, 50" Smart TV, Blu-ray DVD player, Sonos sound system, Netflix, iPad, WiFi internet, gas barbecue, luxury linen and towels, bath salts...House book - your property and destination guideDiscover more
  • Private cateringSeeking a celebratory dinner or fully catered escape? Our recommended caterers will work with you to create personalised menus for your stay. Details are shared through our house book on confirming your booking.
  • RetreatsFrom foraging weekenders to crash courses in cold-water therapy, our bespoke retreats bridge the gap between luxury and back-to-nature philosophies. Create a hand-crafted stay that puts connectivity at the fore.
  • Other informationProperty terms and conditionsFrequently asked questions

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Cook up a storm in the Aga
This charming country cottage oozes character in one of Devon´s idyllic villages
The dreamy bedroom with king-size bed and easy access to the family bathroom

Prices & Availability

North Bovey

Tucked deep into Dartmoor National Park, North Bovey is a walker´s haven, with rolling green pastures, wooded glades and miles of heathery moorland to orienteer through, plus dozens of chocolate-box towns to explore.

View on maps

North Bovey
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Getting there

  • On the Map The Riddle is located in the pretty Devon village of North Bovey, Dartmoor, Devon.
  • By Car From London, take the M4 toward Bath, take M5 South and follow the directions provided to the property.
  • By Train Newton Abbot train station is 30 minutes away and Exeter St David's Station around 40 minutes away, both with regular services to London Paddington.
  • By Air The property is around a 30 minute drive from Exeter Airport.

From the owner

“We will never forget the first time we arrived in North Bovey, walking up from the banks of the river to find this wonderfully picturesque 13th century village — it was love at first sight!”

From the owner

Our cottage is part of an original Dartmoor longhouse, and some parts date back to medieval times. It holds a centuries-long lineage of stories and mysteries. Originally, probably built and used by wool farmers, the animals would have walked through a passage which is now the kitchen galley into stables at the rear of the garden.

Naturally, the cottage has had a long succession of owners: more recently, it was part of the Earl of Devon estates, and earlier belonging to the WH Smith family estate. In more recent years it has served as a local shop and also a post office.

The cottage has become one of the most photographed houses in Dartmoor, and we have found many images and postcards featuring The Riddle from the beginnings of the photographic era. On the landing, you will find some examples of these, and an original photographers' negative showing how the house looked at the beginning of the 20th century.

We are delighted to have you stay in our home, and we hope you enjoy this special corner of England.

The Jeffery's

Owner recommendations

Live like a local, discovering the best hidden gem restaurants, walks and attractions during your holiday in North Bovey with an insider’s perspective.

Ancient Towns and Villages

To Do

Ancient Towns and Villages

Nearby Moretonhampstead´s history goes back to Saxon times, while the ancient stannary and former mining town of Chagford oozes olde-worlde charm. For foodies and shopaholics, the cathedral city of Exeter is the place to be.

Gidleigh Park, Chagford

To Eat

Gidleigh Park, Chagford

Dining at Gidleigh Park offers a memorable culinary experience with a focus on creating unique dishes full of flavour, underpinned by a contemporary, less formal approach to fine cuisine. Their established wine cellar offers one of the most impressive wine lists in the British Isles.


To See


Dartmoor National Park has towns and villages a-plenty to explore; from brooding Princetown and picturesque Widecombe-in-the-Moor to tiny Postbridge and genteel Chagford. In between lies a natural playground full of possibilities.

Bovey Castle Golf Course

To Do

Bovey Castle Golf Course

The golf course at Bovey Castle is a challenging 18-hole championship course, designed in 1926 by J F Abercromby, one of the finest British golf course designers of the last century. Polish your swing and enjoy the views!

Guest Testimonials

A lovely week here at The Riddle. We came with intentions of exploring all of Devon and found that we had no reason to leave Dartmoor! The walk up to Bellever was lovely and the one to Haytor was even better. The coffees, snacks and meals at Bovey Castle, The Chagford Inn and a few others were really enjoyable. It´s a lovely part of the world!

Thank you very much for letting us stay at your beautiful home. We´ve had a lovely time here and didn´t quite appreciate how picturesque North Bovey really is. Our two dogs loved the walk by the river and spent a good few hours swimming too. Looking forward to coming back soon.

A perfect week! We do not think we have ever had such a relaxing holiday as this one. There are many beautiful walks to explore and the local town provided us with everything we needed. The local pub has been frequently visited during our time here! The cottage has been perfect and blissful. Thank you for everything!

A wonderful cottage in a fabulous location. The facilities in the cottage are amazing with lovely, friendly neighbours, village residents and pub. The garden is beautiful and ideal for dogs! Well-equipped kitchen and diner for cooking, but the pub food was so good. Some lovely touches in the cottage, and Betty loved the dog treats too, thank you for this. The snug is so cosy in the evenings, we spent most nights watching Netflix. Thank you, we will be back!

After threading our way through the narrow lanes in the dark of December, what a welcome it was to see the soft lights glowing from the cottage windows and to come in to the cosy warmth of this beautiful home. It has been a fantastic week of tramping the moors, climbing the tors, exploring Teign Gorge, and trying to find Bovey Castle in the fog. We enjoyed solving The Riddle, cooking on an Aga, and evenings lounging by the fire. A very peaceful and relaxing week in perfect surroundings. Thank you, we had everything we could possibly need and more!

Thank you for having us to stay in your beautiful home. We love the cosy white on white interior, and such fun to find out about the cottage´s history. We simply fell in love with this village and its friendly residents. We had some lovely walks up the Tors despite the rain! Our little pup looked hilarious in the giant dog bed; he loved it!

It´s been a wonderful week! The cottage is an absolute pleasure and North Bovey is definitely the quiet oasis I was hoping for. It’s easy to lose hours sitting at the kitchen table or in the garden watching the birds. On a clear night, the stars are abundant, best viewed by taking a stroll around the village green, cuppa in hand. The walk along the river to Bovey Castle quickly became a daily ritual. I had so many places I wanted to explore but the cottage has a way of drawing you back to enjoy sitting beside the fire with a book or a long soak in the bath.

Many thanks for letting us stay in your beautiful cottage. The first word when we opened the door was wow, and the surprises just kept on coming! We didn´t explore due to the weather but we really didn´t mind as it was lovely just staying in and being able to relax. We loved cooking with the Aga, I now want one! We would love to visit again, thank you so much for the goodies too.

How wonderful and idyllic The Riddle and the village of North Bovey are. We have loved every moment of our four weeks here, the peace, the walks, the lovely pub! The Riddle is a truly enchanting cottage both old and rustic and luxurious and quirky. We have fallen under its spell and hope to be back.

Thank you for the use of your cottage for a very enjoyable holiday. We cottage has been beautifully restored to the highest of standards and the facilities are second to none! We have never used an Aga but now we are converts. We cracked the riddle and opened the safe, the contents of which will remain a secret.

Our London based ´rat race´ pace of life needs places like this for some relaxation. I am now retiring very early to a cottage, a cottage just like this. I´m already using the Wi-Fi to search for similar properties. I´m so in love with this lifestyle. Thank you for giving us a life changing experience.

I wonder if you might consider selling your lovely cottage to us!? I spent far too long pretending this was really our home! We had the most wonderful stay, the cottage is just beautiful and so perfectly presented. The Riddle is a fantastic feature. Thank you once again and congratulations on such a wonderful and inviting home.

A very pleasant time was had by all - lots of walking and plenty to find in the local area. The Riddle has been a welcome break from the stresses and strains of everyday life. The cottage is warm and welcoming with excellent facilities.

This beautiful chocolate box thatched roof home is a credit to the owners. We have been travelling around Ireland, Cornwall and Devon for the past month so arriving in this Tranquil part of Dartmoor was a real break for us. Cooking a roast on the Aga was a real thrill as it brought back so many memories from my childhood. We just loved everything about your beautiful home from home, from the gorgeous interior to the peaceful location.

I spent far too long pretending this was really our home! Would you consider selling your lovely cottage to us!? We had the most wonderful stay - the cottage is just beautiful and so perfectly presented. It took us four days and few bottles of red, but we did finally solve the riddle! Thank you and congratulations on such a wonderful home.

Thank you so much for letting us stay in your wonderful cottage. Despite the weather we had a brilliant time, did not venture too far as we loved it here. My husband loved using the aga, my daughters favourite was the coffee machine and mine was the bath and log fire. My other daughter had to be pried from the snug. The dogs were really happy here and enjoyed the walks by the river. We are really sorry to leave after a restful days and hope to come again one day. We solved the riddle but I think it was more luck than judgement.

Thank you for a wonderful stay in your home. We enjoyed some wonderful walks with our dogs, long soaks in the bath, watching the birds in the garden and snuggling up by the fire. Thank you.

We all loved the cottage, the attention to detail that has gone into the decor. We all enjoyed trying to solve the "riddle", my grandsons loved the tv room and it was so nice to be able to take our big German Shepherd into a lovely house and not feel we had to be on tenterhooks. Thank you for the dog treats and special canine touches. We will definitely book with you again.

An incredible property in a gorgeous location. The interior exceeded our expectations and the arrival of a hamper to help us settle in was fantastic. We would definitely stay again and would recommend the cottage to anyone looking for a romantic and uniquely stylish home from home

A lovely stay in a beautiful cottage, real home from home. This was Murphy´s first holiday, seven month old retriever pup! Had a fabulous time on the moors, rivers and the sea and we enjoyed it too!

Thank you for having us in your beautiful cottage. It makes us appreciate the British countryside. We have seen quite a bit of the UK, but the narrow roads of Dartmoor are a new experience for us..We are proud to say we managed to solve the intricate riddle, though it took us a few days all together.It has been wonderful. Thank you.

Thank you so much for the lovely stay in your wonderful cottage - such a peaceful and heart opening place! Everything was perfect during our stay which was far too short. We will be back!

We came all the way from Los Angeles to stay in this beautiful old cottage. We enjoyed the house and watching movies in the lovely TV room, reading in the living room and relaxing with a cream tea in the kitchen. We thank you all for this lovely place!

Thank you so much for a wonderful stay at The Riddle. The peace and tranquility is just what we needed. The little walk down to the river set on the stepping stones is an absolute must, especially when the sun is at Castle Bovery - a little treat. Castle Drogo - great for walks and some history.The housekeeper was also brilliant!

Thank you for sharing your perfect cottage with us. We have enjoyed every moment of our stay and would have loved to stay for longer. The interiors are beautiful and we could tell how much thought had been put in to creating such a wonderful home. The kitchen was fabulous, we even used an Aga for the first time. In the evening there was nothing better to do than snuggle up in the fantastic cinema room to watch a film. Thank you so much!

Unique extras

From private chefs to luxury at-home spa therapists and adrenalin-fuelled retreats, once you’ve booked your stay we’ll introduce you to our owner-recommended suppliers to create a truly bespoke, memorable escape.


Below are a selection of features in which Unique Homestays has appeared. If you would like to feature the property in an editorial capacity, please contact the marketing team on +44 (0)1637 882014.

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Disclaimer: These particulars, whilst believed to be accurate, are set as a guideline so should not be relied upon as a statement of fact. The photographs show aspects of the property at the time they were taken and it should not be assumed that the property remains precisely as displayed. If there are points of particular importance that need clarifying before you book, please contact us.

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