Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ’s  &  what you need to know about this property:

Q:  Does the property allow child guests?

A:   Regrettably this property is not suitable for children or toddlers on account of limited space and proximity to the stream.  If you wish to bring a babe-in-arms, you will need to bring your own crib and baby equipment.

Q:  Is this property suitable for a person with physical challenges?

A:   This property may be unsuitable for those with physical challenges on account of uneven paths, and a step down from the living room to the hall that leads to kitchen, bathroom and stairs.

Q:  What accommodations have been made to ensure the cottage is safe for guests during the Covid 19 pandemic? 

A:  If due guests are at all unwell or have had any contact with a Covid 19 infected person within the two weeks preceding their arrival date, we ask them to cancel their visit in return for a full refund.

To comply with Sawdays’ Clean & Safe Charter, we are following government guidelines to ensure the cottage is cleaned and disinfected before guests’ arrival.   Hand sanitiser will be available near the front door; soap in the bathroom and extra cleaning materials and disposable gloves located in the cupboard under the kitchen sink. All non-essential items such as books, maps, games, dvd’s, cd’s etc. will have been removed from the cottage; please bring your own with you.   A digital version of the Guest Manual will be sent to guests prior to their arrival, and we suggest you print this out to bring with you.

Before departure (during the pandemic), we ask guests to follow this 3-step protocol :-

  • strip the bed and place all linens in the linen-bag provided.
  • wash dishes in the dishwasher on a hot wash and leave for the housekeeper to put away.
  • place tied bags of rubbish in the outside rubbish bin.
  • open windows

An email detailing the above Covid 19 accommodations will be sent to guests prior to their arrival.

Q:  Is smoking permitted in this property?

A:   Smoking is not permitted in this property.  Smokers are asked to step outside into the garden, where there is a bench that overlooks the stream.

Q:  What are the check-in and check-out times?

A:  During the pandemic, in order to allow for the extra cleaning, check-in time is after 4 p.m. on arrival day.  Check out time is by 10 a.m. on departure day, unless by special arrangement.

Q:  Should I take out travel insurance?

A: We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking, as it may protect you against cancellation. During the Covid 19 pandemic, our cancellation penalties have been eased substantially to encourage up-to-the-last-minute cancellation in the case of sickness or contact with a sick person.

Q:  Will there be a mobile signal in the cottage?

A: No, though some mobile phones (i.e. Three) will work with the cottage wifi connection.  Other phones will usually get reception by driving a quarter of a mile up the road towards Stoke.

Q:  Is there a phone?

A: No.  However, your own mobile may work (the owner’s “Three” network works!)  by using the cottage wifi.  Otherwise you may have to drive out of the valley (towards Stoke) to make or receive a call.

Q:  Is there TV, DVD or Wifi?

A: Yes – all of the above. The tv is attached to a fold-away arm so that it does not dominate the room, when not in use.

Q: Is there a sound system for music in the cottage?

A: Yes – in the Living Room there is a Bose SoundTouch10 speaker with radio and bluetooth for connecting with your own digital device for music. A recently installed cd-player in the bedroom has bluetooth, remote control and a choice of discs.

Q:  Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

A: Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you are advised to bring your own adaptor plug(s) and/or transformers.

Q:  Are there any other charges on top of the base rental charge?

A:   There is a standard cleaning/care-taking charge of £50 and during the pandemic a supplementary charge of £30 for extra cleaning and disinfection. The fee for dogs is £25 per dog.  A small fee for ordering extra firewood or swimming towels.  The refundable damage deposit is returned to you within a few days of departure.

Q:  Is this property suitable for gatherings and parties?

A:   This property is not suitable for events or parties.

Q:  How private is this property?

A:  The cottage is very private as the nearest neighbours live in farms that are at least a quarter of a mile distant.

Q:  Where can I buy groceries on my way to the property?

A:  There is a section on shopping under Guide to Local Attractions in the website menu above.  In brief, there is a Sainsburys superstore (with a petrol station) very close to the Roundswell roundabout on the A39 Barnstaple bypass road, but you cannot see the supermarket from the roundabout and – if you are coming from Tiverton direction – you must take the third exit off the Roundswell Roundabout (use your gps to guide you.) The Pop In grocery shop and the post office in Hartland carry basics and other essentials.

Q:   How does this property compare with others in the area?

A:    The cottage is possibly the most ancient in Devon. There are few others that compare with it owing to its’ ancient history, and its’ private location next to a stream in an area of outstanding natural beauty only two miles away from the dramatic coast. It has the features you might expect in a building that is over 500 years old.   Although modern conveniences have been added, you may be disappointed if you value a modern and pristine environment over one with ancient character and charm.    One such feature is the low height of some ceiling beams and doorways (as the average person was smaller than nowadays, when the cottage was originally built!)  Some signs are provided to remind you to “Duck or Grouse!” and padding has been applied in a few places to protect unwary heads.

Q:  How is the cottage heated?

A:   The electric heaters have been pre-set for comfort and can be regulated to suit your particular needs, if you email Miranda. Alternatively, you’ll be able to boost or lower the temperature on each radiator on an hourly basis.  There is also an efficient wood-burning stove and you will be provided enough wood and kindling for a few fires.  More wood is available to buy in Hartland.

Q:  Does the property allow dogs?

A: Yes; one well-behaved small or medium-sized dog over a year old and under the full control of its owners will most likely be allowed for an extra fee of £25 per week, but a request needs to be made by email to and confirmed.

Q:  What is the dog protocol?

A:  your dog must be over 1 year old, house trained, and well-behaved. The number must not exceed what was agreed at the time of booking, otherwise a breach of contract will be deemed to have taken place.  The client shall be liable for all damage caused by his/her dog or any dog belonging to the client’s party. A charge will be made for any additional cleaning required.  The property owner cannot be held responsible for any accident or injury to a dog during their stay.  It should be noted that the lane next to the cottage is a public highway and is also sometimes used by a neighbouring farmer to herd his cattle. (The front garden is enclosed and is separated from the lane by a wall with a gate that latches.)

  • Pets must not be left unaccompanied in the property at any time;
  • no dogs on the bed or furniture;
  • no dogs that chew rugs or furniture;
  • no dogs upstairs;
  • Muddy paws must be cleaned before entering the cottage;
  • Dogs should be taken off the property to do their business or – if they poop in the garden – their waste must be picked up and disposed of.  Dog waste found on the property after departure of dog-owning guests will incur an extra cleaning charge.

Q:  Can I bring a pet?

A: Apart from a dog,  no other pets are permitted.

Q:  Is there any baby equipment?

A: No.  If you bring a babe-in-arms, you will need to provide your own crib and changing arrangements. (Regrettably,  the property is unsuitable for children and toddlers on account of proximity to the stream.)

Q:  How is the property accessed?

The key to the property is in a lock-box on the property and the location and code will be sent following full payment.  Temporary parking is available beside the cottage for unloading and entering through the garden gate, after which you can park your car in the gated off-road parking area at the lower end of the property.  Detailed driving directions will be sent after booking;  a GPS may be helpful for first-timers.

Q:  Is there off-road car parking on the property for guests?

A: There is spacious off-road parking at the bottom end of the garden near the little bridge. The large wooden gate into the parking area has a “Philham Water” sign on it. After parking your vehicle, you can walk through the garden to the cottage (approx. 80 meters.)  At night you may need a flash-light, though solar lights along the path may help.

Q:  What are the parking arrangements?

A: You will be able to park your car in the space alongside the cottage for unloading luggage and then entering the property through the little roadside gate.  After unloading, you will need to park your car in the cottage’s off-road, gated car parking area at the lower end of the garden near the little bridge.   Detailed directions will be sent before your arrival.

Q:  How do I pick up the key?

A: The location of the lock-box and the code for opening will be sent to you, along with driving directions, when the deposit has been paid and the booking has been confirmed.

Q:  What if I arrive late?

A: Please contact if you expect to be more than a few hours late. If you arrive after dark, you will need a flashlight but should have no problem locating the lock-box that contains the cottage key, and you will have been sent the code.

Q:  What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

A: Barnstaple Railway Station is the nearest, which is 23.5 miles/40 mins from Philham Water Cottage.

Q:  Can I arrive on public transport?

A:  It is possible to get a train to Barnstaple and a bus from Barnstaple to Hartland, though there is no bus service out of Hartland on a Sunday.  Once arrived in Hartland you will still be 2 miles from the cottage. Paul, our site manager who lives in Hartland, may be willing to provide a taxi service to and from the cottage if you arrange it with him* in advance. However, he will not be providing this service during the Covid 19 pandemic.  Unless you are a committed walker, or intend to remain at the cottage throughout your stay, it is generally best to come by car.  *For Paul’s contact details, please email

Q:  What type of heating does the property have?

A wood-burning stove; electric radiators in living
room and bedroom; a towel radiator in the bathroom.

Q:  How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

A:  Enough firewood for the first couple of nights will be provided.  You can order extra firewood from us, by checking that option on the booking form.  Bundles of firewood can also be bought from the general stores in Hartland 2 miles away.

Q:  What are the kitchen facilities?

A: Electric oven and hob; microwave oven; fridge; freezer; dishwasher; washing machine; food processor; full set of stainless steel pans with lids; full set of casserole dishes & baking pans, bowls, jugs and all necessary cooking and dining utensils.

Q:  What are the bathroom facilities?

A: One full bathroom with overhead electric shower above the bath and a towel radiator.

Q:  Does this property have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

A: The wood stairs are not particularly steep or narrow, but there is a low beam at the top of the stairs, under which a tall person will have to duck . . . or grouse!

Q:  Is there a garden or outside space?

Yes; there is plenty of garden and outside space.  The garden runs between the stream and the lane, with a lawn and patio behind the cottage, and a meandering garden to the front with stepping stones leading to the car parking area.

Q:  How far in advance do I need to book?

A: Booking early is wise as this unique property and location are popular.

Q:  How do I address a complaint or problem?

A: Every endeavour is made to ensure your stay with us is memorable for all the right reasons. However, we do recognise that from to time things do go wrong. In these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the holiday-maker to make any such problem known to the property manager (whose contact details you will be given before arrival) immediately it becomes apparent, thereby giving her the opportunity to correct the situation as soon as is reasonably possible.

Q:  Do you provide catering?

A: No, but there are some excellent restaurants nearby (i.e. The Farmers Arms in Woolsery;  Pattard Kitchen near Hartland.  Suggest booking.)  Also plenty of pubs with food and Fish&Chips in Hartland and Woolsery.)

Q:  Am I insured if I break something?

A: We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let Miranda know before you leave ( and, if appropriate, we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.

Q:  Is linen provided?

A: Bed linen and bath towels are provided.  Please bring your own swimming towels, unless you have included them in your order.

Q:  Where is the linen for the sofa-bed?

A: The mattress topper & the linen for the sofa-bed are kept in the linen chest in the upstairs bedroom. The pillows for the sofa-bed are in the linen cupboard.

Q:  What is provided and what should I bring with me?

A:  During the pandemic all non-essential items have been removed.  However we do provide:

  • bed linen and bath towels (not swimming towels)
  • soap
  • hairdryer
  • kitchen & bathroom tissue
  • limited tea, coffee & sugar; milk in the fridge
  • kitchen cleaning materials
  • some herbs, spices & condiments
  • a ‘welcome tray’ of treats (for week-long bookings)
  • a selection of maps, games, dvds, cds and books (removed during the pandemic; therefore bring your own)
  • Hand sanitiser

We suggest you bring:

  • a full tank of petrol;
  • a warm coat and jumper;
  • wellies or walking shoes;
  • swimming towels & swim-wear;
  • slippers & bathrobe;
  • a backpack;
  • a flashlight;
  • groceries;
  • cash;
  • Optional: extra wood for the wood-burner; binoculars; compass; camera; laptop; mobile phone; maps;
  • disposable gloves for refuelling at petrol stations (during the pandemic.)

Dog Owners need to bring:

  • dog-bed;
  • dog food;
  • bags for dog waste;
  • dog-cleaning materials and dog leash.

Q: Do you allow more than two guests?

A: The cottage is set up for two guests, but can accommodate three or four at a pinch, as there is a small-double sofa-bed downstairs. Extra guests must be named on the booking form or in an email.

Q: How do you deal with a guest’s property left behind at the cottage in error?

A: In most instances, the cottage housekeeper will agree to return guest property via Royal Mail for the cost of postage&packing plus a £15 fee.

Questions about Booking and Payment:

Q: How can I pay?

A: By direct online deposit into the owner’s Philham Water Cottage Account at the Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK. If you wish to pay with US $, please email Miranda ( directly to arrange.

Q: Do you accept payment in other currencies?

The website booking facility is set up to accept only £/sterling payments.  Therefore the website’s payment page provides the necessary codes for international payments into the cottage account.  Payment in US $ may be possible, if you email Miranda ( to arrange.

Q: Will I pay a deposit?

A: If you are booking your holiday more than eight weeks before the start date of your holiday, a deposit of 25% of the booking total will be paid by you to confirm and reserve your booking. Full payment will be due eight weeks prior to the start of the date of the start of your booking and will include the refundable £250 security deposit, which will be fully refunded within fourteen days following departure, so long as everything is in order when you depart. If you are booking within 8 weeks of the start date of your holiday, you will pay in full at the time of booking. (See cancellation terms below.)

Q: What is the booking fee?

A: There is no booking fee.

Q: When are the changeover days?

A: Fridays and Mondays during the summer peak season. Any day of the week during the rest of the year (i.e. from October through June.)

Q: Can my holiday start on a day other than the designated changeover days?

A:  During most of the year you can start and end your stay on any day, though there is a 2-night minimum stay. From July through September you must start or end your stay on a Monday or Friday and there is a 3-night minimum.

Q:  How do I book a short break?

A:  You can use the booking calendar on this website to book a stay of 2 nights or more.  During peak season (July & August), you can book a 3-night weekend starting Friday, or a 4-night midweek break starting Monday.

Q: How can I cancel or change my booking?

A:   If you wish to cancel or change your booking, email immediately.  If you cancel, please also send a cancellation letter to:- Miranda Bostroem, 32 Furneaux Ave, London SE27 0EG

In the event that a cancellation is made,  a cancellation charge may be payable depending on the number of days before the Holiday start date that your Cancellation Notice is received (by email to  Please see the table below.  If it is possible to change your booking dates, no cancellation charge will be made.

Cancellations made up to eight weeks before the start of your stay (i.e outside of any specified periods below) will be charged the deposit only, and the balance of your total payment to date will be refunded.

Number of days before Holiday start date that notification is received Cancellation Charge (as a percentage of the rental cost of the Holiday):
0 – 13 days 100%
14 – 27 days 75%
28 – 55 days 50%
56 days (8 weeks) or more Deposit


Q: Who do I contact with a question or request?

A:  If you have further questions or any special request, please email Miranda (