This visitor information section is a new section on Devon's Finest. In time we will endeavour to offer the visitor as much information as possible to insure a Devon Holiday to remember. If you are planning a holiday in Devon visit this page often as we will be updating information regularly.
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Dartmoor National Park Authority Information
Dartmoor was designated one of the National Parks of England and Wales in 1951. It is a beautiful moorland landscape with wooded valleys and wind swept Tors. 368 square miles (953 sq. km.) in area, with about 33,000 people living in it, and where about 10 million visits are made each year. All the land is owned by someone and the public is able to roam freely on unenclosed, open moorland on both foot and horseback. There are also about 600 miles (966 km) of public rights of way. Dartmoor is a rich habitat for wildlife and has a wealth of archaeological remains.
Dartmoor National Park Authority Website
Bed & Breakfast on Dartmoor
Exmoor National Park Authority Information
Nearly all the people who visit Exmoor come because it is an unspoiled area of beautiful scenery. Many are happy to travel in their car on a scenic route perhaps even stopping at a viewpoint where they can enjoy the panorama before them while having a picnic and without even leaving the car. Others may stroll a short distance but for various reasons may wish to stay within easy reach of their vehicle. Yet others enjoy exploring the quiet villages or visiting places mentioned in books, archaeological sites or interesting churches. Some are keen on bird-watching or other aspects of nature, while artists and photographers find many opportunities for pursuing their hobbies. Many people visit the coast, again to admire the dramatic scenery but also to stroll around little harbours like Porlock Weir and Combe Martin or indulge in traditional beach activities.
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South Devon & South Hams
Many believe that South Devon and the South Hams area in particular can boast some of the most picturesque countryside in the County. Stunning beaches and coastline, rolling hills, and beautiful towns and villages captivate the thousands that flock to this area every year as well as those of us who are lucky enough to sample its beauty every day.
The South Hams enjoys one of the mildest climates in the whole of mainland Britain, sheltered by the granite uplands of Dartmoor. As a direct result of the mild weather, a wealth exotic plants and animals inhabit this part of the county. The South Hams name comes from the old English word "hamme" meaning an enclosed or sheltered place.
The South Hams covers an area of 342 square miles with 55 miles of coastline. 130 square miles (337 sq.km.) of the district is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with 30.86 square mile coverage of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There are 62 miles (100 km) of coastal path and 16 miles (26 km) of beaches. Approximately 30 miles (50 km) coastline is owned by the National Trust and 47 miles (75 km) is designated Heritage Coast.
Kingsbridge is a local market town located at the head of the Kingsbridge Estuary and amongst the rolling hills of South Devon. There is plenty of individual shops and businesses, a large modern sports centre with indoor heated swimming pool and bowls rink, a cinema, nightclub and all the usual facilities required by a vibrant community. Tourism is of vital importance to the local economy, providing work for hoteliers, wholesalers and service industries. The town is a popular all-year-round destination for holidaymakers attracted to the breathtaking coastline, unspoilt beaches, beautiful coastal paths and near by sleepy villages and hamlets. Kingsbridge is located in the centre of South Devon, only 30 minutes drive from the A38 Expressway which links directly to the M5.
The picturesque town of Dartmouth is located on the mouth of the River Dart, renowned as a holiday and yachting centre. The deep-water harbour and the river are used for both commercial and pleasure purposes such as fishing, marine repair and maintenance, yachting, dinghy sailing and canoeing. Dartmouth's main Embankment runs along the length of the town providing visitors a pleasant and relaxing promenade to stroll down. The beautiful scenery of the busy estuary can be admired from the town or from the many boat trips that depart from the waters edge. Dartmouth offers the visitor a great selection of bistros, restaurants, boutiques and specialist shops as well as intriguing medieval buildings.
Totnes is a local market town located in the upper valley of the River Dart. This historic town boasts a variety of ancient buildings dating back to Norman, Medieval and Tudor times. Totnes was once a Fort to protect the upper reaches of the river from Viking invasion and it is the second oldest borough in England. The town is known for its variety of specialty shops where you can find second-hand books, antiques, crafts, fine arts, handmade shoes, jewellery, wholefoods, natural medicines, unusual boutiques, hand-made furniture and musical instruments.
Ivybridge is located on the southern edge of the Dartmoor National Park and boasts nearby riverside, woodland and moorland walks including the start of the Two Moors Way. A shopping centre, leisure centre, new railway station and Tourist Information Centre have been built in recent years.
Salcombe is the most southerly town in Devon, located at the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary. It is a popular visitor destination in season, situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest which has been declared a Local Nature Reserve. The town has something for everyone, beaches, water sports, coastal walks, varied shops and a selection of restaurants and pubs. During the holiday season Salcombe becomes one of the largest yachting centres in England, with visitors outnumbering the locals.
The South Hams has a population of 80,000. It has six market towns and main commercial centres. These are Totnes, Dartmouth, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Modbury. A recent survey carried out by South Hams District Council shows that 99% of tourists who visit the district want to come back for more.
The picturesque fishing village of Hope Cove once a favourite place for smugglers is now a popular holiday destination. An ideal holiday retreat for families and nature lovers, with its charming thatched cottages, clean sandy beaches, and peaceful relaxed atmosphere. Diving is a popular sport, as many visitors explore the various shipwrecks found not far from the waters edge. It is also easy to sail your own boat from Hope Cove, with an open beach and a slipway at Inner Hope. The spectacular sunsets are not to be missed!
South Devon Self Catering
South Devon Hotels
The Torbay area includes Torquay, Paignton, Brixham and surrounding towns and villages.
Torquay has a Mediterranean feel with its own café culture and modern international marina, luxurious in high season with splendid yachts and ocean going vessels. Torquay is England’s premier family resort, boasting safe sandy beaches and exciting nightlife. There are many great attractions for all the family, including, bars, restaurants, theatres and much more. Water sports of all kinds are available for those looking for a more active holiday. Spectacular walks and cliff top views are available or you may decide to relax on the deck chairs on long seafront promenades.
Hotels to suit all pockets are available from small comfortable B&B’s and Guest Houses through to the luxury and splendour of the major Hotels surrounding the bay. Torquay is the ideal location for those wanting the best of both worlds as you can enjoy the excitement of a superb resort or within 45 minutes visiting the Dartmoor Ponies on the Moors. Dine in style by visiting on of the restaurants, and café bars in the area featured on Devon’s Finest.
North Devon - Overview
In an age when there is a bewildering choice of holiday destinations to choose from, why is it that North Devon still attracts well over one million returning holiday visitors every year?
The most succinct answer is - simply because it's so beautiful. The beaches are beautiful, the coastline is beautiful, the traditionally farmed rolling countryside and untamed splendour of Exmoor are beautiful, and the lush green valleys of the Taw and Torridge rivers are also undeniably beautiful.
It is this life enhancing, unspoilt natural beauty and fresh, clean air that brings so many visitors back year after year - with each generation reliving idyllic childhood memories on surf washed, sandy beaches which put those of supposedly more exotic locations completely in the shade.
Now officially recognised as one of only three remaining 'areas of tranquillity' in Britain, and with historic market towns and villages that retain the unique charm and character of an increasingly bygone age, North Devon has a timeless, unspoilt quality which is quintessentially English and can refresh the most jaded of spirits. Many artists, writers and poets bear testimony to the area's ability to provide the peace, scenery and relaxed pace of life that is so conducive to creative inspiration. For anyone also wishing to enjoy new sights, experiences and activities to make their holiday complete, North Devon could never prove to be a disappointment.
Spectacular coastal pathways, Exmoor and 180 miles of cycle and footpaths on the Tarka Trail make North Devon a paradise for walkers and wildlife enthusiasts - whilst fishermen and golfers will also be spoilt for choice on where best to enjoy their sport.
With recently developed shopping complexes at multiple 'Britain in Bloom' winning Barnstaple and Atlantic Village on the outskirts of the Elizabethan port of Bideford, and a huge variety of family entertainment options throughout the area, North Devon can offer a truly special holiday experience that you'll never forget - and will soon want to repeat.
Barnstaple, Instow and Braunton
With over a thousand years of history, Barnstaple has long been the commercial and cultural centre for the whole North Devon region.
The town has a delightful river frontage along the estuary of the Taw and many historic buildings, public gardens and recreation facilities. Overlooking the town’s ancient stone bridge is the North Devon Leisure Centre with a superb indoor pool, sports hall, squash courts, gym etc.
A thriving shopping centre - bedecked with award winning floral displays in the summer - includes many pubs, restaurants and entertainments such as cinema, theatre and discos. Being within 15 minutes of a choice of sandy beaches or Exmoor, and surrounded by fine countryside, Barnstaple is an increasingly popular choice as a touring centre.
Going Westward from Barnstaple is the most attractive, beachside village of Instow. The roadside sands and dunes of this delightful estuary beach make it ideal for sailing and windsurfing, and there are outstanding views across the River Torridge to the ancient fishing village of Appledore. The Tarka Trail also passes through all of these places, offering miles of unspoilt walking and cycling alongside the coast and through beautiful countryside.
Just a short drive from Barnstaple and the superb sandy beach at Saunton, is the extensive village of Braunton.A wide choice of pubs, shops and restaurants, easy access to Ilfracombe and the far reaching dunes at the Nature Reserve make this an excellent holiday base.
Bideford, Torrington and Westward Ho!
The area surrounding the River Torridge is one of many contrasts and with some outstanding coast and country scenery.
At Westward Ho! there’s a long and wide sandy beach backed by a pebble ridge, country park and England’s oldest established golf club.
The resort is popular with young families and has many amusements, pubs and discos. Nearby at Northam is a first class indoor pool and just a short drive along the coast you can discover the authentic charm of the old world fishing village of Appledore with a ferry service across the estuary to Instow.
The Elizabethan port of Bideford is also full of charm and interest with a thriving quayside shopping centre and many pubs, restaurants and antique shops. Just outside the town is a new discount shopping complex and adventure playground centre. There are delightful walks to be enjoyed along the Bideford Bay Coast whilst only a short distance inland is the beautiful farming country that surrounds Torrington - which has its own golf course, swimming pool and theatre, with Royal Horticultural Society gardens and world famous crystal works nearby.
Exmoor, Lynmouth and South Molton
Exmoor is a paradise for true nature lovers, offering a remarkable variety of flora and abundant rare wildlife including red deer, wild ponies and several birds of prey. National trust footpaths, numerous stables and the River Exe, Barle and East and West Lyn make this really first class walking, riding and fishing country.
Lynton & Lynmouth
Picturesque twin villages linked by a unique water driven cliff railway. Delightful harbour and wide pebble beach. Many small shops, pubs and restaurants. Beautiful unspoilt coves of Wringcliff, Lee Bay, Woody Bay and Heddons Mouth nearby. Exceptionally scenic area known as ‘Little Switzerland’ and very popular for honeymoons
Trentishoe, Heddon Valley, Parracombe and Martinhoe.
Enchanting hamlet amidst outstanding National Trust countryside, bordering the coast. South Molton. Bustling market town within easy reach of the new link road and on the southern borders of Exmoor. Offers swimming pool and choice of antique shops, pubs and restaurants.
Chittlehampton, Swimbridage, North Molton and Bratton Fleming.
Peaceful farming villages with character pubs, delightful surroundings countryside and easy access to Exmoor.
Hartland, Clovelly and Holsworthy area
The area around Hartland typifies so much of the region’s timeless, unspoilt charm.
There’s truly dramatic sea and coastal landscapes and some of the finest clifftop
walks to be found anywhere.
Magnificent unspoilt countryside, virtually untouched by development, provides idyllic walking and riding. There are many small coves along the coast such as Welcombe and Bucks Mills and the famously picturesque, cobbled fishing village of Clovelly.
For peace and really inspiring scenery the Hartland area will certainly not disappoint you. Further inland you can enjoy the peace and gently undulating farm and woodland around the market towns of Holsworthy and Hatherleigh - excellent bases for exploring the whole county.
Ilfracombe, Berrynarbor and Combe Martin area
Ilfracombe has been a popular family resort since late Victorian times and offers a host of entertainment facilities – including theatre, cinema, golf course, swimming pools, amusement arcades, and many shops, pubs and restaurants. The town is set above a picturesque harbour which lies between striking cliff gardens bordered by mainly shingle beaches. Nearby to the West is the unspoilt villages and rocky cove of Lee.
A little further up the coast, past the peaceful harbour of Watermouth Cove, is the seaside village of Combe Martin. Set in a warm sheltered valley amidst Exmoor countryside, it has a long, meandering main street with a good selection of pubs, shops and restaurants. The village has two small beaches scattered with rock pool and sand at low tide.
Delightful coastal walks and scenery are also a local feature. Just a short drive inland is superb open countryside and picturesque villages such as Berrynarbor.
Woolacombe, Saunton and Croyde area
The extensive, surf washed golden sands of Woolacombe, Putsborough, Croyde and Saunton are unquestionably amongst the finest beaches in Europe. Sheltered by cliffs or sand dunes and studded with fascinating rock pools, they make an ideal centrepiece for pure relaxation or watersport holidays.
The local pubs, discos and amusements of Woolacombe make it especially popular with young families and surfing enthusiasts. For tranquility on outstandingly beautiful National Trust headlands overlooking the bay and Lundy Island, there is Putsborough and Mortehoe.
The picturesque village of Georgham lies just inland whilst Croyde, with its superb surfing beach and delightful village centre - including many thatched cottages, pubs and restaurants - represents many people’s dream of a West Country holiday location. At Saunton there’s a further five mile expanse of sands extending beyond Crow Point - with the beach being backed by a championship golf course and the unique dunes and nature reserve of Braunton Burrows.
The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England. The 95 mile (155km) long site starts at Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon and ends at Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset. The site consists of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous cliffs, spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting 180 million years of geological history. The Jurassic coast was the first natural World Heritage Site to be designated in the United Kingdom. Its entire length can be walked on the South West Coast Path.
The site contains a number of unique geological features and shows excellent examples of different landforms, including the natural arch at Durdle Door, the cove and limestone folding at Lulworth Cove and an island, the Isle of Portland. Chesil Beach is a fine example of both a tombolo and a storm beach. West Bay forms a major gateway to the Jurassic Coast with the completion in 2004 of the Jurassic Pier. Weymouth is a major gateway town, near the centre of the world heritage site.
The site has stretches of both concordant and discordant coastlines. The site is the subject of international field studies, because of the quality of the geology. It was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the South West (of the UK).
Devon Golf Courses
With wonderful settings, Devon is blessed with some wonderfully challenging golf courses and those just right for the eager beginner, below are just a few to visit.
Fowley Cross, Nr Okehampton EX20 4NA
Freephone: 0800 389 4419 Bookings: 01837 53053
Handicap certificate not required - Standard golf dress & etiquette expected.
Clubhouse facilities: indoor heated pool, spa bath, sauna, snooker, bowls, 10 pin bowling. Panoramic views of DartmoorAdditional Outdoor Facilities: Driving Range, Putting Green, Practice Area, Tennis Court and Coarse Fishing Lake.
Bigbury-On-Sea, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ7 4BB
Tel Prof: 01548 810412
Whether you are beginner or handicap player, all year round you will enjoy our 18 hole par 70 delightful golf course surrounded by stunning views in all directions. Dartmoor to the north, Bantham, Bigbury-On-Sea and Burgh Island to the south, farmland and the Avon Estuary to the east and the south coast of Devon and Cornwall to the west. Bigbury really is a little bit of golfing heaven. Full bar and catering facilities. Societies welcome.
Handicap requirements: Preferred.
Leigh Road, Chulmleigh, Devon EX18 7BL Tel: 01769 580519
This fine 18 hole par 3 course caters for both beginners and experienced golfers alike and is a must for anyone who enjoys golf. Licensed bar, snacks, sun terrace, pro shop, changing rooms, clubs for hire, 2 bed luxury cottage to let throughout the year.
Handicap requirements: Not required.
Churston, Brixham, Devon TQ5 0LA Tel: 01803 842751
The course is laid out on a long strip of typical downland turf that stretches westward along the cliffs towards Brixham. The ground is boldly undulating in character with no lack of natural features, and the surroundings are much more richly diversified than are usually to be found on the courses of the cliffs. New Clubhouse opened 1998. Conference facilities, latest computerised video teaching system available for members and guests.
Handicap requirements: Certificate required.
5. Dainton Park
Ipplepen, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 5TN Tel: 01803 815000
A fine and varied parkland course with water features on 6 holes and two of the toughest opening holes in Devon. Floodlit driving range and delightful clubhouse/restaurant. Friendly atmosphere and great value. Situated on A381 just 2 miles south of Newton Abbot.
Handicap requirements: None. Dress standards apply.
Blackawton, Totnes, Devon TQ9 7DE Pro: 01803 712650
Stated simply Dartmouth Golf & Country Club is a golfer’s paradise. The strategic positioning of tees, meandering streams, 12 water features and undulating greens on the Championship course guarantees an exciting and enjoyable challenge for golfers of all abilities. Club bar & restaurant, leisure club, 35 new en-suite bedrooms and 3 self catering cottages. Societies Welcome.
The 9 hole Dartmouth Course is open daily to non members as a Play and Pay course. (Handicap certificates not required). Handicap requirements: Preferred but not essential for Championship Course. No certificate required for our 9 hole course.
7. East Devon
Links Road, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 4DG Tel: 01395 443370 Fax: 01395 445547
Play one of golf’s hidden gems. A challenging heathland course sitting on the cliffs above picturesque Budleigh Salterton, offering magnificent views out to sea and towards Dartmoor National Park. Full catering and bar facilities. Please phone for reservations.
Handicap requirements: Certificate required.
8. Hele Park
Ashburton Road, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6JN
Tel: 01626 336060
Hele Park Golf Centre offers a friendly welcome to members, visitors and societies. The finest facilities await the beginner, improver and experienced golfer with the 14 bay indoor driving range with power tees and outdoor grass tees overlooking the gently undulating and challenging course. The bar and restaurant offers a wide range of excellent home-cooked food. PGA Professional James Langmead and his staff are available in the golf shop to offer tuition advice on your game and equipment needs.
Handicap Requirements: None. Full dress code & golf shoes. Booking advisable.
Chittlehamholt, Umberleigh, North Devon EX37 9HD Tel: 01769 540530
Highbullen’s 18 hole course is set in some of Devon’s most spectacular scenery, with dramatic views of both Dartmoor and Exmoor. On high ground between the Taw and Mole valleys, the course has been constructed to the highest standards, including U.G.G.A. specification greens. Tees have been well spaced to provide an equally good test for low and high handicap golfers. The new Pavilion building houses the Golf & Country Club and provides members, residents and guests with a wonderful array of top class sporting and leisure facilities including a brasserie, function rooms, gym, swimming pool, indoor putting green, golf simulator and pros shop. Unlimited golf is free to hotel residents from Nov - March inclusive. Hotel facilities include salmon fishing, indoor tennis, pools, snooker, squash etc.
Handicap requirements: None.
10. Holsworthy Tel: 01409 253177
The ever improving parkland course is challenging both for beginners and low handicap players. Teaching and practice facilities available from the professional. Full bar and catering facilities.
Handicap requirements: None.
Middlehills, Honiton, Devon EX14 9TR Tel: 01404 44422
A very flat parkland course overlooking the town which will suit all ages and levels of ability. The Club offers a pro-shop, practice area and well renowned catering as well as an on-site caravan for tourers. Societies are welcome on Thursdays..
Handicap requirements: Recognised members of golf clubs only, dress code applies.
Hele Bay, Ilfracombe, North Devon EX34 9RT Tel: 01271 862176
An interesting and testing course in excellent condition offers unsurpassed views over sea and moors. Full catering and normal bar facilities.
Handicap requirements: Preferred.
Off Tors Road, Okehampton, Devon EX20 1EF Tel: 01837 52113 Bookings: 01837 53541
Superb moorland course, beautifully maintained with immaculately presented (automatically watered) greens. Friendly clubhouse, moderately priced food. Visitors and societies welcome.
Handicap requirements: Preferred.
14. Royal North Devon
Golf Links Road, Westward Ho! Bideford, North Devon EX39 1HD Tel: 01237 473817
The oldest seaside links in England, the Royal North Devon is steeped in history. The clubhouse with its golfing museum offers a warm welcome to golfers today, as it has done for more than a century. Spectacular views over Bideford Bay and the Lundy Island on the horizon.
Handicap requirements: Certificate preferred.
15. Stover Golf Club
The Clubhouse, Bovey Road, Stover, Newton Abbot, Devon Tel: 01626 352460
A mature scenic parkland course with water coming into play on several holes. A challenging course for both the experienced and the novice golfer with extensive natural woodland, but easy walking. Very close to the A38, which makes the course an ideal venue for visitors and societies. Full catering and bar facilities available, and a friendly welcome guaranteed.
Handicap requirements: Certificate required.
16. Woodbury Park Golf & Country Club
Woodbury Castle, Woodbury, Exeter, Devon EX5 1JJ Tel: 01395 233500
Set in stunning parkland with rolling fairways, high standard greens, lakes and mature trees, The Oaks 18 hole championship par 72 course provides 6870 yards of great golf. Once played, the memory of your day on The Oaks will not be forgotten.
The 9 hole Acorns par 32 course spanning 4582 yards is beautifully contoured for those looking for a less demanding challenge.
Devon Farmers Markets
Barnstaple Farmers' Market
Tuesday and Friday.
Pannier Market, Town Centre.
Tel. George Hunter 01271 379084
Bideford Pannier Market
Bideford Pannier Market
Devon, EX39 2DR
Bovey Tracey Farmers' Market
Town Square, Union Street.
Buckfastleigh Farmers' Market
Near Globe Inn, Town Centre.
Combe Martin Farmers' Market
Village Hall. 9.30am-12pm.
Crediton Farmers' Market
Town Square. 10am-1pm
Cullompton Farmers' Market
Station Road Car Park
Exeter Farmers' Market
Bedford Square. 9am-2pm.
Exmouth Farmers' Market
Strand Gardens, Exmouth.
Holsworthy Pannier Market
Honiton Farmers' Market
Lace Walk Car Park
Ilfracombe Farmers' Market
The Lantern Centre, High Street.
Ivybridge Farmers' Market
Glanville Mill Car Park.
Kingsbridge Farmers' Market
Town Square, Kingsbridge.
Lynton Farmers' Market
Newton Abbot Farmers' Market
Okehampton Farmers' Market
St James Chapel Square, Okehampton.
Ottery St Mary Farmers' Market
Hind Car Park, Town centre.
Plymouth Farmers' Market
Sundial, Armada Way, City Centre.
South Molton Farmers' Market
Pannier Market, Town Centre.
Tavistock Farmers' Market
Teignmouth Farmers' Market
Pellow Arcade, Teign Street, Teignmouth.
Tiverton Farmers' Market
Totnes Farmers' Market
Dartmouth Castle 01803 833588
Jutting out at the entrance to the Dart estuary, this well-positioned castle was one of the earliest in England specifically designed to carry guns. Construction began in the late 15th century when the local merchants felt vulnerable to possible invasion, and wanted a way to protect their warehouses and cargoes. Basically, Dartmouth Castle consists of a round tower, built mainly of limestone rubble, and a square tower constructed of slate.
The round tower was built first but, prior to its completion, work commenced on the square tower which explains possibly why slate was used for the upper parts of the round tower when the two were joined together. Gun platforms stretch out from either side of the towers.
With seven gunports in the sea facing walls of the square tower, and four slits for muskets and three lower gun ports housed in the round tower, the rather cramped basement area of the towers was dedicated to the use of defence weapons. There is an entrance to the castle in the square tower at ground level and, inside, the openings for handguns can still be seen. In the round tower, a timber-framed opening is located in the wall towards
Totnes Castle 01803 864406
Situated on a promontory, commanding the River Dart, Totnes Castle was built by the Normans at a point where three valleys meet. Earliest surviving parts of the castle date from the 11th century, in the form of earth works surrounding the site, with a later motte and bailey castle being constructed on the built-up earthworks.
The stone work of the castle that has survived is likely to have been built over the framework of previous timber fortifications, as was common practice of this period. During the 13th century the large, circular shell keep was built on top of the motte, but was reconstructed at the beginning of the 14th century when other renovation work was carried out, including the rebuilding of the entrance arch and stairways within the thickness of the walls.
Some small-scale additional work took place at a later date. This circular stone keep stands to parapet height even today, and remains almost complete with the various shaped arrow slits visible around the top. Moreover, within the shell keep, stone foundations of a square tower have also survived.
Berry Pomeroy Castle 01803 866618
On a wooded hill, close to the River Dart in southern Devon, lie the unusual remains of Berry Pomeroy Castle. This site was first occupied by the Pomeroy family during the 11th century, and throughout its inhabitation, the castle has been in the ownership of only one other person - Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector during the reign of King Edward VI.
The Pomeroys built the original medieval castle during the 12th century, and continued to undertake work on the castle until the 15th century when a substantial programme of work was carried out to restore and replace much of the original building. On a wall in the eastern tower of the Gatehouse, it is possible to see a wall-painting dating from this period. Berry Pomeroy Castle was sold to Edward Seymour during the 16th century, who had elaborate plans for the castle, which were continued by his son.
Although many of the grand designs were incorporated into a wing of state rooms containing exceptional Renaissance work, his ideas were never fully executed and the work remained unfinished. Situated in front of the Seymour Wing, a five-bayed Loggia connected the staircase towers, a feature paralleled at Old Somerset House in London. The Seymour family deserted the site during the 17th century and from that moment in time the buildings were left to deteriorate, and fall into the ruinous state as they appear today. Despite this, the castle has remained in the possession of the Seymours.
Throughout the substantial remains, there is much evidence of different building styles and materials which suggests that many structural alterations were made to the original castle during its habitable life. Both the Pomeroy and Seymour families have left their stamp on this intriguing mix of medieval castle and lavishly detailed mansion.
Even if your interests do not necessarily encompass the historical or architectural aspects of a castle, Berry Pomeroy is located in such beautiful surroundings that you cannot fail to be impressed
Compton Castle 01803 875740
Dramatic fortified manor house. Fairy tale castle hidden in a lush south Devon valley. A medley of fortified towers, battlements and buttresses. 600 year old home of the Gilbert family, kindred of Sir Walter Raleigh. Delightful flowering gardens enclosed by a stone curtain wall. The Great Kitchen offers a unique insight into medieval domestic life. Film location for 'Sense and Sensibility', (1995)
Crownhill Fort 01752 793754
There is only really one way to discover Crownhill Fort and that is to visit it for your self! Before you do however this potted history may whet your appetite and help you plan your visit. Crownhill Fort was designed by Capt.E.F. Du Cane as the principal, and largest, fort of Plymouth's North-Eastern Defences, designed to defend the Royal Dockyard at Devonport from an attack by the French from the north of the city.
Designed and built as one of the country's later Palmerston forts, Crownhill represented the cutting edge of fortress design in the theory, and materials, used in its construction. It was constructed on a knoll 400 metres in front of the defensive line and as this was an exposed position, the Fort is designed for all round defence unlike that of any other fort in the Plymouth defences. The Fort has seven sides, all with massive ramparts, surrounded by a deep dry ditch with each flank defended by gunfire from projecting caponiers.
Powderham Castle 01626 890243
Built over 600 years ago, Powderham Castle is the historic home of the Earl of Devon. The Castle is still lived in by the Courtenay family and is one of England's best known Stately Homes. The Castle lies in a beautiful setting in an ancient deer park alongside the River Exe and is at the centre of a large traditional estate of about 4,000 acres.
See the Castle under siege with the Battle of Powderham Castle by the English Civil War Society. Enjoy a full day of thrilling activities as you step back in time, wonder through the fascinating living history encampments and experience life in the 17th Century. The deafening thunder of hooves and roar of cannon fire as over 1000 soldiers, cavalry and artillery proceed into exciting combat to re-create the fierce and bloody siege of 1645.
The grounds play host to events large and small and the Estuary, which forms part of the Estate, has space for those looking for yacht moorings. Above all Powderham has a unique atmosphere, combining beauty, tranquility and history, which those who visit the Castle, for whatever reason, will remember for a long time afterwards, and sometimes for the rest of their lives.
Castle Drogo 01647 433306
The 'last castle to be built in England', dramatically situated above the Teign Gorge. Having been aware of Sir Edwin Lutyens' recent remodelling of Lindisfarne Castle, Drewe secured the services of this outstanding architect to design his own dream castle. Lutyens, better known for his inspired memorials, and elaborate restoration of stately homes, accepted this strange commission but remained unconvinced about Drewe's ideas for a modern 'medieval' castle.
Despite any earlier misgivings, Lutyens became inspired with this challenge and, during his long journeys to India, where he was supervising the building of the Viceroy's house; he would spend hours mulling over the plans for Castle Drogo. After many amendments to the original design, the house was finally completed in 1931, the same year that Julius Drewe died. Dramatic views over Dartmoor. Highest National Trust garden at 900 feet. Play croquet on the lawn.
Bickleigh Castle 01884 855 363
Our 14th Century castle nestles in a valley with 30 acres of lush green land stretching out around it. The River Exe runs through the land offering you the chance to fish or just sit and listen as the river makes its way back to the sea.
This is an opportunity not only to be close to nature but to almost touch history: our chapel was built only 30 years after the Normans landed in Britain in the 11th Century and stands intact today as probably the oldest 'living' building in Devon. We very much look forward to welcoming you to Bickleigh Castle, this jewel in the heart of the Devon countryside.
Oakhampton Castle 01837 52844
Okehampton presents a good example of why it was important to consider carefully the location of a castle. The site has steep slopes to the south, providing a natural defence, and the added probability of waterlogged fields to slow down any hostile approaches, and on the northern side there was a wide stream. Norman times saw much violence, and the castle had to be a strong fortification with effective defence barriers surrounding it.
Although any substantial documentation about the castle's history is non-existent, there is a mention in the Doomsday Book of the first castle to be built at Okehampton, by the Sheriff of Devon, during the late 11th century. This took the form of a motte, or raised mound, with rock-cut ditches around it, which provided the building materials for a stone tower or keep.
Few traces of the original castle have survived, but the motte, sporting the fragmentary remains of the 14th century rebuilding of the keep, still tends to dominate the site.
AWARD WINNING Beaches Blue Flag...
The South West has more Blue Flag beaches than any other region in England - and Devon has 16 of them.
The 2012 Blue Flag award list makes for good reading for Devon's tourism industry. In 2005, Devon had 11 beaches with the prestigious award. This year, there are 16.
The award of a European Blue Flag is a symbol of high environmental standards as well as good sanitary and safety facilities.
There are no beaches in East Devon, as the district does not participate in the Blue Flag awards scheme.
The county also has dozens of beaches in the Marine Conservation Society's Good Beach Guide.
The MCS tests bathing water quality for pollution and bacteria, and the beaches recommended in the guide need to pass those stringent tests.
This distinctive yellow and blue flag award is only given to beaches that are clean, safe well managed and have water quality that meets European legislation.
The 16 beaches in Devon are:
- Bantham Beach Feature
- Bigbury beach
- Blackpool Sands
- Breakwater Beach, Brixham
- Broadsands Beach
- Challaborough Beach
- Dawlish Warren Beach
- Goodrington South Beach
- Meadfoot Beach
- Oddicombe Beach, Torquay
- Preston Beach, Paignton
- Sandy Bay - Blue Flag Beach
- Tunnels Beach: Blue Flag Beach
- Westward Ho! Beach
- Woolacombe Beach