Combe Martin and Ilfracombe (updated 23rd Sept 2013)

This turnpike was created towards the very end of the turnpike era. It was responsible for a short section of the coast road between the growing seaside towns of the North Devon coast.

List of Acts

Combe Martin and Ilfracombe









Report to Secretary of State 1866


This is an application for powers to make a new turnpike road between Combmartin and Ilfracombe, in the county of Devon, and to widen and improve certain existing highways, for the purposes of such new road.


Respecting the proposed new road, -which is substantially the same as that for which powers were sought by the Barnstaple Trust in the last Session, Sir George Grey has received a communication, of which the following are extracts :

"The present parish road between the two places is bad every way, being very steep very narrow (in some parts not 8 feet wide), and abounding with sharp turns; it is taken to an elevation of several hundred feet higher than necessary; it is not merely that there are two or three steep or narrow parts that might be improved, but it is so bad throughout that no money expended on it could make it a tolerably good road. * * *

" Ilfracombe has become a large and much frequented watering-place, and is rapidly increasing, but there are only two roads out of it that visitors and others can drive on with safety and comfort, and both these run inland, the consequence is that many visitors who come down, and bring their own horses and carriages, having only these two drives, both going away from the great attraction, the sea, after a short stay go off to other places, and Ilfracombe suffers from the absence of such a profitable class of visitors.


" Ilfracombe is almost entirely supplied with fruit and vegetables from Combemartin and the adjoining parishes, and a large quantity is taken to Ilfracombe for shipment to Swansea, Cardiff and other places in South Wales; it is quite painful to see the poor horses and ponies struggling up the hills with their loads, and to know that with a good road, one horse would with ease do what now a toilsome drag to two. The watering place of Lynton is 11 miles east of Combmartin, between them the road is good, but persons traveling from Ilfracombe and Lynton, instead of passing through Combmartin, and so near the coast, are taken considerably inland and are not near the sea, after leaving one place till reaching the other.


The preamble sets forth that the present communication between Combmartin and Ilfracombe is by means of highways, which are in many places hilly, narrow, and circuitous; and that the construction of a new road would be of great and local advantage."

Clause 4 allows six additional Trustees to be appointed, instead of the usual number of three, after twenty-one days notice.

Clause 5 fixes a day for the first and subsequent meetings of the Trustees, and contains regulations for the election of a chairman, but on this subject, see 4 George IV. cap. 95. sec. 39.

Clause 7 describes the new road, about 4 miles and three quarters in length, the steepest inclinations of which are 1 in 10.5, 1 in 11, 1 in 12.5 &c.


List of Roads

Combe Martin Road; A399 from Ilfracombe, through to Combe Martin (about 5 miles)


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Known Toll Gates (extracts from Tollhouse National database) 2 sites identified (no surviving tollhouse)

Road Classification Number



OS Grid Ref- Prefi




Civil Parish

Location (Name or Number)

Road or Street (see across)



Revised 23rd Sept 2013

erected by (Turnpike Trust or Authority)

Bibliographic refs


Ilfracombe to Combe Martin

Newberry Road






Glenavon Lodge

jct of Newbury Road and Woodlands


; ; ; old Picture

Combe Martin and Ilfracombe

Jenkinson T. & Taylor P. (2010), "The Toll-houses of North Devon", p.60


Ilfracombe to Combe Martin






E of jct with Hillside Road


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Combe Martin and Ilfracombe