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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.