In the spring of 1955, John and Gwen moved into Combas Farm on their wedding day, delighted despite having no money for a honeymoon. John had 20 old sheep and Gwen had enough money for their first weeks groceries.
Life had to be very basic when they first arrived. The roof leaked, there was no electricity or telephone and the well would occasionally run dry in the summer. Despite this, the following year Combas Farm welcomed its first guests at 3 guineas per week, including dinner! Guests would often help pump water from the well whilst Gwen cooked their breakfast. Happy customers nicknamed her Florence as she went around lighting the oil lamps each evening.
Eventually there were 4 children in the family and the property was connected to the main electricity grid, had a phone installed and a bore hole drilled for a reliable water source. At the same time, en-suite bathrooms were added to the bedrooms. Over the years Combas Farm has seen vast improvements and in 2008 Gwen received a plaque from Devon Farms in recognition of over 50 years running a B&B in North Devon.
The couple consider themselves fortunate to live in such an idyllic place, so close to Croyde and Putsborough beaches and yet within a secluded valley with no sound of traffic. Gwen and John still enjoy meeting people and spend many an evening in the lounge regaling guests with their stories.