An Ilfracombe mum and her children were stunned to spot what appeared to be a big cat on the Torrs in the town.

Have you seen a big cat in North Devon? We'd like to hear from you. Picture: Getty/Ryan McVayHave you seen a big cat in North Devon? We'd like to hear from you. Picture: Getty/Ryan McVay

On Wednesday Bex Fitch and her children CJ, 11, and Phoebe, six, had been enjoying an Easter holiday outing, visiting the beach and then driving up the Torrs as it was a nice evening.

As they pulled into the lay-by at Torrs, the family dog starting making 'funny noises' and staring intently out of the window.

They were amazed at what happened next, as a large dark cat streaked across the field in full view.

Bex said: "I looked up the field and the next thing I knew this shape came from a gateway and cantered across the field and then it was just sitting in the bushes.

"I thought 'that's not a dog, it's huge, it's a cat'.

"It had a long black tail, the head was quite low, it was a feline shape. I said to my boy 'do you see that?' and he said 'mum, that's a cat'.

"It was much longer than a dog, about the size of a Labrador or German shepherd in height but much longer."

Bex said they sat there watching the cat 'creep about' for around five to seven minutes.

They drove down to the bottom of Langleigh Road where they thought the creature would emerge, but did not see it again.

North Devon is full of tales of the 'Exmoor beast' and many believe large cats once kept as pets have been released or escaped to breed in the wild, but remain secretive and are rarely seen, especially so close to town.

Bex, who works at Ye Olde Globe Inn at Berrynarbor, said she recalled stories being told of big cats up on The Torrs in the 1990s but had not heard of anything since.

She added: "My granddad used to drive for Red Bus and used to go up on the moors a lot - he was always coming back and saying he had seen one, it was just kind of normal.

"It was black or very, very dark brown, I would say like a puma, panther or leopard type of creature, it was long and sleek, very panther-like."

* Have you seen anything up the Torrs that matches the animal seen by Bex and her children? Or have you seen something similar elsewhere in North Devon? We'd like to hear from you - email us at newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk .