Home / articles / Avon Mill Garden Centre

Avon Mill Garden Centre


After the sun had burnt off the early morning mist the sky became blue, just right for a drive to the Avon Mill Garden Centre, near Kingsbridge in the South Hams of Devon.  Now, the South Hams have nothing to do with pigs (get it?  Ham?  Pig?) but they are named for the southern hamlets.

I really enjoy this drive, via Totnes, Harbertonford and Halwell, and then on towards Loddiswell and the Garden Centre which is close to the River Avon.

Here is the little stone bridge as you approach the garden centre …

Looking downstream from the bridge over the River Avon …

The water is gin-clear and it looked lovely in the early morning sunshine.  As did the catkins against the blue sky.

And by the River Avon, a whole host of tiny snowdrops …

And looking upstream from the bridge over the River Avon …

And, a photo taken from the car park next to the river, Avon Mill Garden Centre itself …

Actually, it wasn’t the best time to visit because they are re-furbishing the area where they sell roses, and also the area where there used to be olive trees and wonderful garden pots and containers, there are now just fruit trees and raspberry canes and so forth.  But no doubt once the re-furb is complete, it will look great.  And, of course, the area where they have summer annuals, well that is empty at the moment, too.

But we enjoyed ourselves. We had a look around the shop (there are other outlets there, a card shop and a clothes shop, but we confined ourselves to the main shop) …

I liked a few things, but really, I tend to think they look nice in the shop but remove them from their styled setting and they wouldn’t look quite as nice in our home.  An example is the pink and cream arrangement above.  I couldn’t imagine any of these items in our home irrespective of how lovely they look here.

What did catch my eyes though were some socks, mis-matched on purpose, their logo stating that life is too short for matching socks!  I thought they were quirky but would I wear them?  I doubted it.  Again, they looked nice on the display stand …

I think I was more attracted to their vibrant colours and patterns rather than the objects themselves.  However, I did like some blue and cream cushions (I didn’t stop to examine the price as husband wasn’t keen on them) as I thought they would have looked good on our cream sofa, the blue picking up the dark blue in our Chinese rug.  But I kept my wallet in my bag.

For me, the heart do-dah rather spoiled it. I’m not one for hearts and such things dotted around the house, I find them neither useful not ornamental.  I know such things are popular, especially with younger women, and that’s fine by me, each to her own, but I think if I put one of these up in our home my husband would think I’ve been at the magic mushrooms.

I quite liked this arrangement …


and outside I liked this, too …

They really put some effort an imagination into the displays at this garden centre; I love this bike covered in moss.

We had a snack while we were there, bacon sandwiches and coffee, but actually we weren’t overly impressed by either. The coffee was rather weak and tasteless and the sandwiches – while they had used soft granary bread – had slices that were cut very thickly and so it was a lot of bread to wade through. We left a lot of the bread, I’m sorry to say.  Others might like great hunks of bread for their sandwiches, but we prefer much thinner slices with perhaps more bacon.  Well, for the price they charge, quite a good bit more bacon!

And so after less than 3/4 hr we made our way home again.  Here is a photo of the little church in the village of Halwell that we passed through on our way to Harbertonford and then Totnes …

Not brilliant photos, but please bear in mind I’m taking these through the car windscreen as husband is driving.

We didn’t come home entirely empty-handed, though, as we’d bought a couple of hellebores for the garden …

Back home, the daffodils in the kitchen are looking rather nice …

I am really making the most of these inexpensive bunches of daffodils each week from the supermarket as their season is such a short one.

When we arrived back home, only 1 pm, we decided to do some work in the garden.  We opened the summerhouse and had coffee there. We didn’t need any lunch as we’d had porridge for breakfast and then the bacon sandwiches at the garden centre.  What a lovely day it has been and tomorrow we’re off to Dartington to see a film/movie at the Barn Cinema.  We know how to enjoy ourselves!

Until next time.


About Margaret

Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

Check Also

Saturday … and more rain

This will  be a short post today because I have a touch of toothache.  Not …


  1. Lovely photos Margaret and the water is so clear in the river. I love the moss covered bile too but would be impractical in our hot climate. The trend for thick slices of bread in sandwiches is so annoying to me. You tend to eat twice as much as normal and I too have left ‘half’ my sandwich on a plate.
    Your little summer house sounds, and looks, so inviting. I hope you have a happy week.

    • Margaret

      Thank you, Pieta. I’m glad we’re not the only ones who dislike those thick sandwiches. We’re not labourers working 16 hour days in fields, as no doubt they did in Victorian times, digging potatoes or planting crops. We’re a retired couple driving to the garden centre by car. Little energy was been expended. We don’t need doorstep sandwiches. However, there was nothing at all wrong with the quality of the bread or the bacon, just the actual making of the sandwich.
      We love our little summerhouse and it was lovely to be in there this afternoon, it made us feel that spring is here even though we know that we could still have snow.

  2. Your pictures are great. And, wow, it really looks like spring in your neck of the woods. Definitely winter here! Matter of fact it was extremely cold today – below 0 wind chills for sure. We have a lot of snow and ice on the ground as well. And it’s almost the end of February!

    • Margaret

      Yes, it was a lovely spring-like day Jeannine, but still chilly out of the sunshine. I always enjoy the drive to Avon Mill, but there again, I also love to go to Quay Antiques in Topsham, on the River Exe (we tend to like places with rivers … Shaldon/Teignouth, Avon Mill, Topsham!), love to walk around Topsham and see the lovely old houses many them built with Dutch influence from the 18th century trading which took place, and lunch at The Salutation, where we usually share a cheese board from locally sourced cheeses. Perhaps next week …?

  3. Dobby socks!! I love them. I’d wear them, for sure!
    You live in such a beautiful part of the country – some stunning photos that create a good deal of pleasure. Thank you.

    • Margaret

      Dobby socks? I’ve never heard them referred to thus, Joy. I did like them, but I don’t know where or with what I would wear them. I’d end up looking like a throw out from the hippy 1960s era, all loon pants and Afghan coats, ha ha! You would look much smarter in them than I would. And they look so thick I’d need to buy boots or shoes a size larger to accommodate them, too.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing the photos of the journey to and from Avon Mill. The South Hams are very much the land that time forgot. If you take away the internal combustion engine and the mast for telecommunications you could be back in the 1920s.

  4. The colours and designs in the photos were great Margaret, I loved the socks though I’d have to match them up! I’m also a weekly buyer of daffodils just now, they are so cheerful and you never know what will appear from each bunch as the varieties change over the weeks and then they are gone for another year. Nice to hear you opened up your summerhouse, a taste of things to come, lets hope we don’t get a shock in between, the weather is so fickle. We’ve been having lunch and hot drinks outside, trying to make the most of it. Hope you enjoy your film trop tomorrow. 🌼🌼

    • Margaret

      Yes, I think that the non-matching socks would have miffed me a bit, too, Heather. But not really my kind of thing although I love the bright colours. A few years ago every time I bought the early daffs fromt he supermarkets they were often white, or golden with orange trumpets – you never knew until they opened, as you say – but for the past few years they have been just yellow daffs, all one colour. I love the white doubles, but sadly, none has been available – or, at least, not in Waitrose.
      It has been a glorious day and we have just returned from a film/movie at Dartington and emerged from the cinema to brilliant sunshine, which seemed strange as the last time we emerged to dusk, and cold, driving rain, only a few weeks ago when we went to see The Favourite and which we didn’t care for. How the Oscar could’ve gone to Olivia Colman when Glenn Close was so wonderful in The Wife beats me, but who knows what the judges look for. Colman was good, but Close better.

  5. Hmm, I just saw “trop” as I pressed the button, too late to change it to trip. 😒

  6. I also see items in shops that look lovely on display but wonder how they would look in my home, preferring to leave them where they are. Window shopping can be great fun and sometimes I’ll see items arranged in a way that can motivate me to rearrange (or regroup) how I have items at home. Doesn’t cost me a cent ! Probably not what the retailers had in mind, I’m sure….. I also liked the navy and white/cream patterned cushions but felt the heart detail was a bit too much. No doubt, someone will fall in love with their hem…. Thank you for naming each of the plants and flowers in the photos of the start of your post. I had read of catkins and snowdrops but had no idea what they looked like xx

    • Margaret

      Yes, I remember in the 1950s when I would go to town with my mother we would “window shop”. I didn’t really understand the term, but we would look in all the shop windows and imagine buying things, but rarely spent money. But in the 1950s, before we had TV, the cinema and “window shopping” were our entertainment, life is so very different today. And yes, just as with magazines, window shopping and seeing lovely displays can trigger ideas as to how we might arrange things at home.
      I think that heart on the navy/cream cushions had been placed there, it wasn’t part of the cushion, Lara. I’d have removed it right away had I been really interested but husband didn’t particularly like the cushion. I could ‘see’ it on our ivory sofa and it would pick up the colour in the Chinese carpet in front of the fireplace, but he simply didn’t like it, so I didn’t bother.
      Oh, I’d not thought of readers in Australia not knowing what snowdrops looked like, silly of me. Their botanical name is Galanthus and people who love them are called Galanthophiles and they collect the many species for their gardens. Indeed, some of them are now very expensive indeed! They all look much the same to the untrained eye, but there are subtle differences. Some of the historic houses have whole areas of them, so it can look like snow when they are all in bloom, and there are snowdrop ‘walks’ to see these lovely tiny flowers.
      Regarding catkins (they look a little like cats tails hanging down from the trees) – they are the female flowers which allow the tree to reproduce. Trees that have catkins are Hazel, Silver Birch, White Willow, some species of Oak, and Alder (I looked these up, I didn’t know which had catkins!) Our walnut tree also has catkins.

      • I think that macadamia trees have similar ‘flowers” which drop down and later come the nuts.

        • Margaret

          I suppose all fruiting trees have some sort of flower, just some are more like catkins, Lara. I might do a post on our walnut tree before too long. I’ve done one before, but a long time ago.

  7. That water is SO clear. I love to be able to see what’s beneath. I like a good garden centre – they often have cafes/restaurants which offer the kind of food I like, though they can be pricey. Still, I’d rather pay a bit extra for attractive surroundings. What a shame about your sandwich though. Sometimes the bread is so thick it’s akmost impossible to taste what’s inside.
    I’d no idea that walnut trees produced catkins! Indeed, I’d no idea that they were produced by any tree other than Hazel. Once again, Margaret, you are the educator!

    • Margaret

      I love our visits to Avon Mill but, as I say, not as many areas open this time because they were doing a partial refurb. Next time, though, we will pop into Aune Valley Farm Shop and Cafe and try that for their food, it’s only on the hill as you approach the turning for the garden centre, only about a mile (if that) away.
      Yes, the walnut tree has catkins that eventually become the fruit of the tree (the walnuts). I shall have to take up a 2nd career as a teacher, ha ha! I’m not clever, though, by any means. I’ve just learned a lot of small, sometimes insignificant facts, through all my years of writing on so many subjects that I’ve had to research from scratch. When the catkins start to drop onto the lawn we can usually tell whether it’s going to be a good or an indifferent year for the nuts; the more catkins, the greater the amount of fruit. And then there’s the June ‘drop’ when the tree sheds the smaller of the nuts, all quite naturally, which enables the larger nuts to continue to grow. Natural selection in a way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *