A Beginner’s Guide to Devon, United Kingdom

Devon, a county in southwest England, is well known for its beaches and surfing. Full of coves, caves and of course cream teas, Devon is a fantastic location for all types of holidays – for families, young couples and adrenaline junkies alike.

Woolacombe Beach

Of all the beaches, Woolacombe Beach has the best reputation for being, well, pretty beautiful. In 2015, it was even named a top five beach in Europe by TripAdvisor – coming in at number 4. Frequented by families, surfers, and lots of dogs, Woolacombe is described by many as a national treasure and has a pretty cool name to boot.

There are a number of shops and an amazing children’s park just a few hundred yards from the beach. The beach itself is clean, safe, and offers a large number of family friendly places to eat and drink. Dogs are not permitted on specific areas of the beach from May to October but allowed in other areas if kept on a leash.

The beach is very long. The white sands are approximately 3 miles in length and a row of rolling sand dunes run parallel to the coastline. It’s so big, that although it gets busy, there is almost always plenty of room for everyone. It’s great for children as there are dozens of rock pools and lifeguards and enough space to play games.

East Devon – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

This area covers over 100 square miles of countryside, including 18 miles of coastline. People visit for a variety of reasons. The area is full of great places to walk, cycle, and kayak. There are dozens of great places to eat local food and drink and the area is full of history and culture.

There is a very impressive array of pubs, campsites and B&Bs in the area; as well as the walk – The East Devon Way. This is a pretty long walk – 38 miles in total and runs from Exmouth in East Devon to Lyme Regis in Dorset.

You can download a guide to all the most popular walks in East Devon here.

If you’re a wildlife buff, then you may be interested to know that the Greater Horseshoe Bat Project is going on in the area. These rare bats have crashed in terms of their population over the last 5 decades, but Devon remains a stronghold for them. The project aims to conserve their habitats and protect the surrounding countryside.

The area is full of campsites and pubs that provide traditional accommodation. If you prefer, there are more luxurious places to stay, including the Hawkchurch Resort & Spa, located in Axminster.

Coleton Fishacre

Closed for part of the winter (just reopened on February 11th), Coleton Fishacre, a 1920’s country house, is dog-friendly and surrounded by beautiful gardens and lands. There is even a free monthly trail run known as the Trust10 which involves running two 5km circuits of the house grounds and the nearby coastline.

The gardens are intersected by a circular pathway; many people visit just before Christmas, where stewards will even light the way for you along any dark areas. There are numerous other paths and walks to follow, some are actually quite steep and challenging to walk along. As you would expect in a 1920’s house, the tea rooms are classically themed and the cakes are well known locally for tasting so delicious.

The house is a stunning art deco building that can be visited before or after dark. If you go at the right time, you can even enter a piano lounge, with an expert pianist to entertain you as you sit and enjoy, or browse the whole house.

Ilfracombe and the Torrs

Enjoy a walk along some of the most beautiful coastlines. There is a range of routes available, with smaller paths criss-crossing through the main path, the options are endless.

The coastal path is maintained by volunteers. There are some steep walks, so be prepared to get a bit of a ‘sweat-on’ at times. You are however, rewarded for your efforts throughout with the constant stunning views of the coastline. Just be careful not to wander too close to the cliff edge, which isn’t too far away.

To quote someone from TripAdvisor –

“This is one of the most stunning walks in the South West of England. On a good day the sea is crystal clear and you can observe a plethora of wildlife.”

If you have experience and training in a canoe, then you can use the Surfside Kayak Hire to take to the waters and enjoy a more immersive experience too!

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