There’s a little-changed feel to this deeply rural, sunny valley of the Little Dart river. And The Barton farmhouse, part of the Affeton Castle manor house, is just as inviting.Under the thatch and low, beamed ceilings, and between thick, ancient walls, things have had a 21st-century update in all the right, comfortable and efficient ways. Step out into the sheltered garden and just listen to those birds, or marvel at clear night skies. Stock up on good local food at South Molton market; there are decent pubs within 15 minutes’ drive too.Swimming? Tennis anyone? Footpaths and bridleways criss-cross the Affeton estate – stabling can be arranged, no problem – and trout fishing. You’re between Exmoor and Dartmoor, near the Two Moors Way, and if you need a spot of city life, Exeter is half an hour away by train.