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Our story

A warm welcome to Butterhills & our beautiful valley here in North Devon, with 30 acres of stunning wildflower & water meadows, ancient woodland and the river Caen trickling by we feel very fortunate to live and work here. Nick & Caroline Welch


Butterhills Valley Aerial View

Butterhills Escapes

The project was born out of a need to prevent further degradation of the Linhay structure and also to provide a sustainable income for the family following redundancy.
Nick is a Building Services Engineer by trade  and his practical skills have been very useful in the construction of our own home and in breathing new life into our beautiful Linhay. He has been responsible for the water supply, plumbing and the solar electrics – the shower room is a great example of his talents. He also sanded and oiled all the timber in the Linhay which was a real labour of love.

​I've worked in the holiday letting business for many years and am loving being a host myself. I get great pleasure from ensuring our guests have a relaxing and enjoyable stay and leave Butterhills feeling refreshed & recharged. I manage the Butterhills Escapes marketing, website and day to day running of the Linhay – whipping up freshly baked scones at a moment’s notice – and am also responsible for overseeing the build and for the Linhay’s interior design, décor, furnishing and detailing.

The Linhay is our legacy and also part of a future proofing plan for Butterhills so that it can become more sustainable. We are very grateful and fortunate to live in such a lovely place, feeling that it's only right and fair to share it with others. 

Building Butterhills

Nick’s grandparents bought Butterhills in the 1930s although they never actually lived there but rented it out - his Grandfather used to come up and fish in the stream (actually the River Caen) and his Grandmother loved the valley so much that she declared if it should ever come up for sale they must buy it… and the rest as they say is history. Nick’s father inherited Butterhills and retired there from the Royal Navy but by this time the house was in a sorry state (there is a theme here!) and in 1988 Nick bought the dilapidated bungalow from him. 

We started the demolition and rebuilding of Butterhills in 1989 and created a family home where Nick’s father continued to live. We've raised our two girls here, entertained and accommodated numerous friends and family and kept a variety of livestock and pets including rare-breed pigs and our current flock of chickens, a Labrador and a small fluffy pooch. A warm, friendly home where everyone is welcome.

A Phoenix from the Ashes
When we completed the Linhay in August 2018 and welcomed our first guests we had ideas for a further cabin in the woods or even a conversion of the dilapidated buildings in their farmyard but fate had other ideas… In December 2018, on the day after Boxing Day, our beautiful home was completely destroyed by fire. Thankfully our family and our dogs were safe, family and friends rallied round with help and support and our insurance company were fantastic. Plans were drawn up for a new and shiny Butterhills, a bright and airy home with lots of open space and light and in sympathy with it’s gorgeous hillside setting overlooking the valley.
Nick’s expertise in, and passion for, all things energy saving and eco has been essential in planning a house with good green credentials. Solar panels, an air source heat pump, mechanical ventilation & heat recovery system, a super thermal structure using insulating concrete form will mean low maintenance and sustainability. The build started in January 2020 and was completed in December in time for a Christmas at home once more. If you’re interested in our eco build and have any questions we’d be delighted to chat to you about it. You can check out our project @Butterhillsrebuild on Instagram.

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