Bideford is a historic port on the banks of the River Torridge and just a short distance to the sea. This part of the North Coast has a few local sandy beaches to choose from, including Saunton and Westward Ho! On the edge of the estuary is the Northam Burrows Country Park; the grasslands, sand dunes and marshes are home to many species of bird and wildlife.
The historic estate of Tapeley Park is worth a visit, there are formal lawns and a walled kitchen garden to wander in. Lundy Island is perfect for a relaxing day trip and has opportunities for diving and seal watching. The small island village has an inn, lighthouse and the Marisco Castle. Not far from Bideford is the large shopping outlet Atlantic Village, and for the younger ones The Big Sheep has outdoor adrenaline activities, fairground rides and various animal attractions. Another great family day out is the Milky Way Adventure Park at Clovelly, with shows and sports to suit all ages. For further activities try Skern Lodge and the Ultimate Adventure Park.
The famous Tarka Trail passes through Bideford, and the Burton Art Gallery & Town Museum has a craft gallery and local gift shop. The 12th century Hartland Abbey is a notable ancestral home with displays of many historic paintings and period collections. There are woodland and garden walks, also a path which leads down to the sea.
From Tavistock and the rivers Tavy and Tamar to the English Riviera of Torbay, and the nautical town of Dartmouth north across Dartmoor (with its famous miniature ponies) to the surfing beaches of Croyde and Woolacombe, there can be few counties in England that offer such a broad spectrum of experiences to the visitor.
Located in the South Westerly reaches of England, Devon shares a southerly border with Cornwall, and an easterly border with Somerset and Dorset. To the north and south the Bristol and English channels provide miles of beautiful coastline, and numerous attractions to the county.
Areas of Oustanding Natural Beauty (5), National Parks (2) and many other parks and reserves make it very easy to get off the beaten track, but the cities of Plymouth and Exeter are as modern and vibrant as they come.
Inland are a number of country landscapes to explore; Tarka Country to the north, taking its name from a famous novel, offering the Tarka Trail; a fantastic cycle route through the beautiful country landscapes. Centrally, Dartmoor National Park is the largest open space in South England, and offers miles of rugged and wild moorland for keen walkers to explore.
Dartmoor Zoological Park is situated on the edge of the moor. The zoo is the inspiration behind a Hollywood film, and home to an impressive range of exotic animals. Along the south coast is the spectacular Jurrasic Coast World Heritage Site, reaching from Exmouth along into Dorset, and offering a spectacular coastline to discover.
Further south along the coast is the borough of Torbay, home to some of Devon’s most popular seaside resorts and tourist spots, and known as the English Riviera. Devon’s county town is the attractive city of Exeter, offering a mix of historical and modern architecture and culture. To the south is the University City of Plymouth, a historic port, and home to The Hoe, a popular public open space offering a range of attractions.
Devon is the third biggest county in the UK by area, but it's quite easy to get around. In population, it is only the twelfth largest, so it's really not very crowded! Geographically and in spirit quite unlike the neighbouring counties, Devon is characterised by the granite structure that forms Dartmoor rising out of its distinctive red soil, and the very different Devonian rock structure underlying Exmoor. The Devonian geological period was actually named after Devon since it was here that these rocks were first studied.
England’s peninsula incorporates the counties of Cornwall and Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Bristol. This region is mostly rural so is perfect to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, whether relaxing with the family by the seaside or exploring the wild moors and rugged coastline. The area boasts hundreds of beautiful sandy bays to choose from and fantastic surfing opportunities. The historic cities of Exeter, Bath and Gloucester are definitely worth a visit, and with transport links all the way down to Penzance even the famous Lands End and remote Isles of Scilly can be reached.