Monthly Archives: December 2017

Reports of a Ghost at Chambercombe Manor – 1922


A ghost, of the smuggling days in Devon, has again made its appearance at a haunted manor house, writes an Ilfracombe correspondent of The South Wales Daily News.

‘Chambercombe Manor Farm lies in a valley only a few miles from Combe Martin, close to the little hamlet of Hele. It is here the ” ghost” has again been but it causes no alarm, guests at the farm, occupying a bedroom once used by Lady Jane Grey, was the one to see her (for it is a woman ghost), but the apparition did no harm, and caused no particular excitement. To tell the story of the ghost one has to go a long way back history. Hele —quite a holiday haunt now—was then the home of bold bad men whose least crime was smuggling. One night a ship was driven or lured ashore. The crew were drowned or murdered, and a beautiful Spanish woman of distinction on board was made a prisoner. She was taken by the smugglers through an underground passage which then connected Chambercombe Manor with Hele Beach to the house. There she was placed in a secret room and allowed starve to death. It was as recently 1865 that the tragedy was discovered according to rumour. Entry into the room was made during the progress of alterations to the house, and the skeleton of a woman was found lying on a bed, surrounded and partly covered by mildew and decayed tapestry hanging. This is the ghost “which is now reported to walk ” occasionally, but which harms no one. I’ve never seen the ghost,” I was told by the man who conducts visitors to the haunted room ; but who knows. There are a lot of things we couldn’t understand, and one of our guests says she saw her’ standing on the stairs a few nights ago ” The haunted room stands as it did when skeleton and furniture were removed in 1865. The roof of the Manor Farm forms the ceiling, a small hatchway in a wooden wall affords a view of the interior la the courtyard of the farm there are traces of the old subterranean passage. Some little distance has been cleared, and at the foot of the cliffs at Hele is a small cave, said to be the entry to this tunnel. It is impossible to force a way through.

Woody Bay – Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

Woody Bay Station is one of the original Lynton & Barnstaple Railway stations, opened in 1898 the railway started at sea level in Barnstaple and climbed 16 miles until it reaches Woody Bay Station, finishing its journey in Lynton, 91 metres higher. The railway line ran until it’s closure in 1935, when on Sunday 29th September a packed train ran from Lynton for the last time, the train stopped at Woody Bay at 8:16pm and as a nod to this occasion, the clock in the station’s tea room is now permanently set to this time. The station as you see it today, was purchased in 1995 as part of an exciting project to rebuild one of the world’s most famous narrow-gauge railways. The process of restoring this line has been one of love, and has certainly not been easy. When the line was sold off, it was to various landowners, which has made the revival all the more difficult.

The future hopes to see further parts of the line opening, with approval of planning applications being given for Killington Lane to Wistlandpound. It is with thanks to the wonderful volunteers and people that keep this work going that you can enjoy the trip from Woody Bay today. If you are in the area it is worth popping in, and having a ride on the train or just admiring the pretty station and enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the tearoom (which I can highly recommend their fruitcake!) For more information on the times, prices and special events at Woody Bay Station please visit their website: