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Hillsborough is a local nature reserve & Site of Scientific Interest (SSI) overlooking the town and harbour. The great banked earthworks of an Iron Age fort are still visible today. In 2011 members of the Hillsborough Volunteer Group, with the help of a local archeologist, carried out survey work. As well as measuring ditches and banks they were also looking for post holes where a main structure may have been. The Rural Development Programme for England funded the work.
Capstone is a large outcrop of rock that lies between Wildersmouth Beach and the harbour. Capstone Parade, which goes around the promontory is said to have been built between 1842 and 1843 as an unemployment scheme. In true Victorian style this walk provides a host of stunning views across Ilfracombe and the surrounding coast. Steeper paths are cut up the front and back of the hillside with panoramic views from the top.
A view of the town from Hillsborough with Capstone & the Torrs in the distance
Bicclescombe Park is Ilfracombe’s premier park, owned and managed by North Devon Council. There is a play area for children, tennis courts and pavilion, public toilets, model boating lake, sensory garden, duck pond with an island, mill and tea room, picnic areas, flora & fauna and lots of wildlife! For the past 11 years it has been awarded a Green Flag and now 5 Stars in the South West in Bloom Best Park Awards.
Several community groups are involved with the park, including the Bicclescombe Park Improvement Group who run the tea room with all profits going to improve the park, Bicclescombe Park User Group, which meets three times a year and the Ilfracombe Model Boat Club. Also based in the park is the Ilfracombe Tennis Club, which has been in existence since 1947, who organise the Ilfracombe Tennis Tournament each July. Some courts are open to the general public.
The Council works with the Junior School and each year runs a Junior Park Ranger project over 6 weeks.
St James Park & Larkstone
St James Park overlooks the harbour and has recently had improvement works carried out by North Devon Council including the stablising of the cliff.
Mullacott Roundabout is owned by Devon County Council and is an important entrance to the town. In 1990 Ilfracombe in Bloom took responsibility for the design and implementation of the natural landscape and continues to maintain and replant as necessary. The roundabout is 800ft above sea level and exposed from every direction to sea winds, being one of the highest points in the area. Trees would not grow there and gas and water mains through the middle mean nothing permanent can be built or planted within 2 metres either side of these. The roundabout is designed as a rockscape with heathers, junipers, native rockroses, gorse and large rock ‘outcrops’ with scree slopes. The grass verge is mowed on a regular basis and the clippings removed in order to reduce the fertility of the soil and encourage wild plants. This fringe is planted with wild daffodils and primroses.
Chambercombe Manor & grounds are set in a secluded valley. Chambercombe is a registered charity, run by a family trust and open to the public from Easter to October each year with no charge to enter the grounds although donations are appreciated. There are over four acres of beautiful gardens, with ponds and woodland walks for you to enjoy.
Ilfracombe is surrounded by its natural beauty including Hillsborough, Capstone Hill and the Torrs but has few man made green spaces, the main ones being Bicclescombe Park, St James Park, the Seafront & Runnymede Gardens all of which are owned and managed by North Devon Council.
A National Trust area with a cliff top footpath from Ilfracombe to Lee Bay with magnificent coastal scenery
Seafront & Runnymede Gardens
With the exception of the Bandstand, which we decorate, this area of the town is planted and maintained by contractors employed by North Devon Council