Historically the parish consisted of a number of farmsteads and associated cottages scattered around the focal point of Holy Trinity church (late C15-early C16, with some C17 windows and C19 additions) and the adjacent Gidleigh Castle, which is now in private hands. The population peaked at 180 in the mid 19th century. The 20th century saw the development of some substantial gentleman's residences - notably Gidleigh Park, which subsequently became a country house hotel - and the building of a village hall. The population is currently around the 130 mark. Gidleigh has never had a village shop, and residents rely on nearby Chagford for shops and other services.
Scorhill, one of the largest and best preserved stone circles in Devon, is near the village on Gidleigh Common.