A country defined by rolling hills edged with criss-crossed hedgerows, lush woodlands, rugged granite tors, stark moorland and babbling brooks, held together by 205 miles of dramatic coastline; salty shores indented with 77 beaches, seaside resorts, fishing towns and busy ports.
Devon is easily accessed through rail, flight and more mileage of road than any other country in England. A train journey from Paddington to Deon may only take two hours, but you arrive in a different world. You’ll notice in the peculiar place names from Westward Ho! to Beer, in the egalitarian people who are fiercely proud of their rich culture, and in Devon’s abiding and diverse sense of place; there’s nowhere quite like it in Britain.
Within the fabric of Devon lie clusters of timeless towns and villages. These picture perfect places are brimming with independent shops, cafes and restaurants, adding to the unique offerings of Devon. Traditionally, farming, fishing and mining may be our staple industries but many milestones mark our illustrious heritage. The world’s oldest surviving steam engine is found in Dartmouth and the first taxi came Plymouth. Nowadays, the business community is a hotbed of innovation and technological advances, with some of the UK’s leading companies choosing to reside here.
It’s not hard to see why Devon attracts eight million visitors each year. Devon is a playground for the adventurous its character changing with each season. Here you can explore lost ruins overgrown by ancient forests, scramble down fossil-clad cliffs to craggy coves and secret sea caves, surf the North Devon break, picnic in a meadow of bluebells and rare butterflies, watch the sun set from Dartmoor and spot greater horseshoe bats. Visitors also make foodie pilgrimages to visit culinary heroes.
It all goes to show that we have much more than a bucket and spade trade. The county oozes the Devon magic that has bewitched generations of families into returning year on year, come rain or shine.
Written as an introduction for The Devon Cook Book.