About Instow

Instow is a picturesque village situated on the estuary where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet. It commands panoramic views of the estuary, the sea and the surrounding countryside. The Instow Parish has around 800 households and a population of 708 in the 2011 census, of which an estimate of 648 live within the village, with a small number living in outlying farms and cottages.

Developed in the early nineteenth century much of Instow has retained its character due to an enlightened policy of the Christie family who own Tapeley Park and a large part of the village. A major part of it is in a conservation area. Development of small groups of more modern housing has occurred in the last fifty years allowing a greater diversity of residents and some properties are second homes or holiday lets.

For those who like to eat and drink Instow has many pubs, hotels and restaurants. From South to North, The Quay, The Commodore, Instow Arms, The Boathouse and the Wayfarer. There are also many Bed and Breakfasts and several homes are also Airbnb.


Contact information for the businesses and organisations mentioned on this page can be found on the Local Organisations page.

The village has a very well stocked deli shop (Johns) and Post Office on Marine Parade and a garage repair centre in Mollands yard near the Parish Hall. Situated between Barnstaple and Bideford it has all the advantages of village life but with excellent bus transport giving access to the facilities of large towns. The most frequent service being the Number 21 or 21A.

A small passenger ferry service, a Community Enterprise run by volunteers, operates between Instow and Appledore on the opposite shore, from April to October. Started in 2011 with the aid of grants from local organisations and the Lottery, it is popular with locals and visitors alike. Operating 2 hours either side of high tide, last year it carried over 24,000 passengers, plus bicycles, and dogs.

The Tarka Trail passes through Instow, providing an easy means for people to arrive by foot or on bike. This section of the Trail is also part of the South West Coast Path, offering longer walks along the coast.