Fremington is an old village about 3 miles west of Barnstaple and was probably better known in times gone by than it is today. It was famous for its Fishely Pottery using clay from its own pits in the east of the parish. This clay was also used for Barnstaple's Barumware. More information about the pottery can be found in the Quay cafe.
There is not a lot to see in the village but it does have an interesting church – St Peters . If you look closely at the pulpit you can see traces of colour from the soil where it was buried in the reformation. There are also a couple of pubs which are almost next door to each other! The Fox and Hounds -
and The New Inn -
Both serve good food. There is also a fish and chips shop here.
Fremington Quay, over looking the Taw Estuary, is a lovely spot with a fascinating history. Now it is very peaceful and perfect to sit and relax, fish, cycle,walk or explore the small creek known as Fremington Pill with its moored boats and the odd wreck.
Just a few decades ago the scene was very different. It is now almost impossible to believe that in the early twentieth century this was the busiest port between Bristol and Lands End. The ships brought in coal which was loaded by cranes onto the waiting railway trucks. The local clay, along with ceramics and other local produce was also exported from here. The Quay was serviced by the London and South Western Railway on the tracks which had been laid down in 1846. Times change and 1982 saw the very last clay train leave the station. Without a railway there could be no ships and the whole area fell into disrepair.
Fremington Quay has now been redeveloped for recreation and conservation. The old railway line has become part of the Tarka Trail and it still uses the old iron railway bridge to cross the pill. The railway sidings have been grassed over, paths and cycle tracks created. A replica railway station has been built to house the Fremington Quay Heritage Centre and Cafe.
Fremington Quay at low tide
Quay Cafe & Heritage Centre
The heritage centre houses a fascinating and informative photographic display depicting the history of the quay and its local pottery, along with a collection of period bicycles including pennyfarthings and boneshakers.
The cafe is excellent providing an exciting lunch-time menu with daily Chef's Specials based on the day's freshly caught fish or game, and other locally sourced produce.
In addition there is a fabulous range of cakes, savories and snacks. The famous cream teas comprise of scones, freshly baked throughout the day, homemade jam and local clotted cream.
Open daily throughout the year, except on Mondays between November and March unless it is a Bank Holiday or during half term. Between 9.30 - 5.30 and 10.30 - 4.30 depending on the season www.fremingtonquaycafe.co.uk Tel 01271 378783
The Tarka Trail
The Tarka trail runs along the original rail track bed from Barnstaple to Torrington and passes over Fremington Pill via the old iron bridge. It is a superb track for walking and cycling and is also suitable pushchairs and wheelchairs. From Fremington you can walk or cycle east to Barnstaple or west to Instow or indeed even further if you have the energy as the Tarka Trail is actually 180 miles long. Large amounts of stone were brought in to construct the original embankment and this has formed a localised habitat with plants not normally found in the area. If you want to hire bikes these are available from Bike Trail Cycle Hire, Stone Barn, Fremington Quay, Barnstaple Tel: 01271 372586 . They have a large assortment including tandems and trailers for toddlers.
Home Farm Marsh
On the Tarka trail between Fremington and Instow there is access to Home Farm Marsh. (no bikes or dogs) which is next door to the RSPB Isley Marsh. The GAIA trust is helping to restore the area to various wildlife habitats by reversing the various techniques which had been used to make the land suitable for food production.
The walk through the Marsh is 2 km in total and is well fenced with directional signposts but beware, you will need good footwear as the walk can get fairly muddy in places.
There are several ponds/scrapes that should attract a good number of birds especially at high tide - some of these ponds are a fair way from the walkways to minimise the risk of disturbing the birds. It is therefore a good idea to use Binoculars or Telescope for a good view of the birds.