The comprehensive guide to Instow for both the visitor to our village and
those who live here.
an extensive view of the sea and of the rivers Taw and Torridge, with
the surrounding picturesque scenery,... lnstow possesses all the advantage
of town and country, being half-way between Barnstaple and Bideford...
Descriptions like this, written by an estate agent in 1830, still attract
people to Instow. On entering the village most people follow the signs
to the sea-front, and within a minute there is the extensive view - an
expanse of water, bright in Summer with the sails of catamarans and wind-surfers,
or, if the tide is out, a Iong stretch of golden sand. Few can resist
staying a while to enjoy the view across the estuary, with Appledore beneath
its green hills, sunlit on a Summer morning or silhouetted against a dramatic
sunset. The water too is everchanging - blue and sparkling one day, whipped
into whitecaps by a gale-force wind the next - yet even on the dullest
day there is always something to see: birds at the water's edge: people
braving the rain to exercise dogs or children; fishermen or gravel-barges
on the far shore: ships to or from Bideford: and, the ferry chugging across
to Appledore on Summer tides.
Viewed from Appledore the panorama of Instow itself provides an introduction
to its history. Starting at the south, the eye is led from the old lime
kiln and the railway station (now the yacht club), by way of the quay,
the jetty, and the imposing terraces facing the beach, to the Royal Marines
unit, the cricket club and second sandhills. The church tower and the
remains of the windmill on the hill above, show the whereabouts of old
Instow Town, while the houses of Worlington cluster on the high ridge
above. Behind the seafront, the houses on the lower slopes look out over
the water, while higher up at the back of the parish are the fields and
farms, some of them unseen from below. Other features have disappeared
over time but seen or unseen, present or past. all have their place in
Instow's story, for its landscape is the result of the interaction of
people and their environment over many centuries.