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Image © Jago Willcox 2023

Morchard Road and Morchard Bishop

With a sleepy rural village feel to it, Morchard Bishop, meaning ‘Great Wood’ (Mor Coed), is now a protected conservation area with many 14 and 15th century buildings, as well as the longest row of thatched cottages in Devon to admire.


The Parish Church of St Mary is superbly sited, sitting at the highest point of the village and full of atmosphere, with Churchyard views stretching to both moors on the horizons. Whilst it can’t boast the UFO’s of Holne, this place had its own galactic incident in 1952 when the impressive 95ft Church Tower was stuck and damaged by a meteorite.   Nearby can be found a memorial to 13 men who died when two Halifax bombers collided and crashed in the Morchard area in 1944 towards the end of the Second World War.   The village has certainly been through hard times.


Once the main staging post for the Barnstaple to Exeter carriages, Morchard Bishop become isolated when the main roadway moved a few miles west, the London Inn no longer benefiting from the passing coaches. Perhaps these difficult times influenced the village’s most famous son Ernest Bevin who was at school here in 1889. This was a time the area was struggling with a dwindling population forced to move to the newer towns away from what was becoming a difficult agricultural economy. Bevin left these stunning fields and green lanes behind and headed on to Bristol where of course he went on to help inspire and create our modern Welfare State.


Today we are glad to report in contrast to the last century Morchard Bishop is a very active Devon Community and for the passing walker offers several B&B options. As for an evening meal the London Inn is still going strong, just be prepared if you are here overnight as this is the home of the village ukulele band! Two miles before reaching Morchard Bishop the hamlet of Morchard Road provides more overnight options with the welcoming Devonshire Dumpling Inn as well as an easy arrival or exit point as the stunning Barnstaple Branch Line Trains stop here and this provides an alternative stop for the Two Moors Way Walk

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