Highbullen sits on the edge of the village of Chittlehamholt; the striking Arts and Crafts building and its estate has passed through a few owners over the years and has some intriguing stories to tell – apparently it was a regular haunt of the actor Sir Laurence Olivier and so frequent were his visits, it’s said he even did a stint behind the bar.

Moving on to today and new owner L+R Hotels has turned Highbullen Hotel in to The Mole Resort, with 58 beautifully crafted, eco lodges situated throughout the grounds. It’s been a major building project over the last couple of years, but you’d never know it when you arrive, it looks so settled, the lodges blending into their surroundings.

This is without doubt a stunning site, with lawns, lakes, woodland, and beautiful, mature trees everywhere. It’s set high and has far-reaching views across the fields, valleys and hills of North Devon towards Exmoor. A number of the lodges have been positioned to make the most of these incredible vistas, others look out across meadows or woodland. The resort feels very connected to the heart of this hidden slice of Devon countryside.

Great British Life: The spacious lodges are built to a high quality and are sustainably built (c) The Mole ResortThe spacious lodges are built to a high quality and are sustainably built (c) The Mole Resort

The lodges range in size, accommodating from four to eight people and they all come with a private balcony and hot tub. All are very spacious, comfortable and well equipped, although, what a nice touch, there are no televisions in the bedrooms. Feeling calm, relaxed and ready for a peaceful sleep takes priority.

A dip in the hot tub is a must on arrival, even when it’s raining, as it was when we checked in. After that it’s time to settle in with a glass of wine and one of the resort’s food hampers. These are generous collections of locally sourced food items, so you can cook your own meal. We had options of barbecue, steaks or a roast (and the staff were more than happy to provide extra veggie items). It’s very well thought out, and makes the most of local produce, and there’s a breakfast pack too. Any stresses over self catering are also eased by the resort’s farm shop, based in the main central ‘Hub’ which covers the basics, along with some local artisan products – perfect for presents to take home, or to indulge in back at your lodge.

Great British Life: The lodges all feel spacious and luxurious (c) The Mole ResortThe lodges all feel spacious and luxurious (c) The Mole Resort

The next day the rain clouds had vanished and it was time to sample some activities. I’d not normally opt for holiday entertainment of this kind, but an hour or so later and I was addicted to shooting arrows! The resort runs a packed daily programme of activities, from bird box making and den building to axe throwing and archery. The activities are led by Alex and his team, who do a terrific job, both instructing and informing and making the experience great fun. Our archery session had all ages too, from children to retirees. By the end of the hour we were all well away doing our best Robin Hoods.

Clearly, this is a great place for families. Once you add in croquet on the lawn, indoor games at the Hub and the swimming pool, spa and fitness room, there is so much to do. Maps of the resort help you explore its wilder areas, which makes it great for dog walking too – and dogs are made very welcome. They even get given their own goodie bag.

Great British Life: Dine at the Cellars Restaurant which is in the original Arts and Crafts manor house (c) The Mole ResortDine at the Cellars Restaurant which is in the original Arts and Crafts manor house (c) The Mole Resort If not self catering, then there is the option of dining in and the Cellars Restaurant, situated in the main manor house, offers great crowd-pleasing food, with more adventurous dishes thrown in, from pizza, burgers and steaks to tempura vegetables, jackfruit rogan josh curry and woodland mushroom risotto. You can eat in the conservatory area, and indulge in those stand-out views, or in the original ‘cellars’ - cosy corners that offer a complete contrast and are perfect for a romantic evening. Dogs can accompany their owners in this part of the restaurant and are made equally welcome by the front of house team – bowls of water were brought to individual tables for thirsty canines.

It’s little touches like this that stand out and there were many over our two night stay. The Mole Resort has a super friendly and professional team, from bar staff to instructors, the maintenance team to the ever-helpful Gini on guest relations, they were a real credit and made a lovely visit into an unforgettable one.