Escape to Exmoor for fly-fishing

Exmoor in North Devon is one of the best places in Britain to experience the ultimate in traditional fieldsports. From soaring pheasants, spiraling partridge to spectacular salmon, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The landscape is magical too, and with mobile phone signal a rarity, it is the perfect place to get some of the much needed countryside headspace that city-dwellers lust after over Wednesday evening gin and tonics/

Fishing has long been considered a great form of therapy – with worthy organisations such as  Casting for Recovery and Fishing for Forces, demonstrating how fly-fishing can help you clear your mind by focusing on the beautiful surroundings and the art and technique of the sport.

It’s also well documented that fly-fishing is a proven way to help addicts to overcome their reliance on substance abuse, and there are a number of well-known people that have used it as a tool during recovery. The Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology recently published an article that drew comparisons between fly-fishing and yoga, stating that by breaking the train of everyday thinking through concentration and repetitive motion, it can relax the brain and combat the ill effects of every day stress. As a massive fan of yoga, and the clarity it helps me find on a day-to-day basis, I can vouch that the effect of casting is eerily similar, if slightly less sweaty.

In Devon, salmon and sea trout are caught frequently across the north of the county in some of county’s most idyllic countryside. It truly is the most wonderful place to cut your teeth on the riverside and enjoy the peace of outdoors.

Highbullen Hotel is ideally situated on a spur of land between two of the best fishing rivers in Devon, the River Mole and the River Taw. The hotel enjoys beautiful scenic views of both valleys from its grounds and thus it the perfect destination for idyllic fishing escapes.

About two miles from Highbullen is the hotel’s own beat. It features about three quarters of a mile of single bank fishing with seven named pools. Each is quite different but all have yielded salmon in recent seasons.

Highbullen can also arrange for fishing on other local beats – on the Taw, the Mole and the Bray – and they can arrange for a ghillie and tuition from experienced local fishermen if required.

If you’re a complete novice I highly recommend that you get the hang of casting before you head on to the riverside. To do so, I suggest a lesson by Orvis in Green Park in London. They are free to attend and the next will be held on Thursday 15th September at 6pm. Led by Orvis’ experts, attendees will be introduced to the sport and be guided in the technique also. For further information and to book to attend, telephone +44 (0) 20 3137 9086.

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