What it's like
From an outdoor perspective, Devon’s got the lot: two long and very different coastlines, two great National Parks, plenty of challenging walking and biking, some great climbing, and of course, good surf too.
It’s the beaches and the holiday resorts that bring in most of the visitors, although these tend to be looking for sun, sea and surf rather than the great outdoors. But with so much of the latter on offer, the county gets its fair share of adventure tourism too.
Dartmoor is perhaps the biggest draw, and a fine one it is too, with huge expanses of wild, untracked moorland, a summit that reaches over the 2,000ft (610m) mark, a transparent attitude to wild camping, and some wonderful walking and mountain biking. It’s also home to the West Dart River – one of the UK’s most popular white-water runs, and some excellent climbing on the granite monolith of Haytor Rocks.
But the other National Park: Exmoor (which is actually only half in Devon as it’s eastern end in Somerset), has plenty to offer too; with lofty hills plunging steeply into the surf of the Bristol Channel, and broad expanses of bleak moor, broken only by deeply-cloven wooded valleys. The highpoint of the South West Coast Path sits astride the Great Hangman Hill, and some of the most spectacular stretches ofthis 630-mile Long Distance Footpath, trace their way around the both the southern and northernmost tips of the county.
- High Willhays and Yes Tor Start at the Meldon Reservoir and wind your way up the West Okement River before climbing to the county’s highest point.
- South West Coast Path From Lynmouth to Combe Martin, going via the Valley of the Rocks and the highpoint of the Great Hangman
- Hound Tor Join the dots with Hound Tor, Hayne Down and the Bowerman’s Nose, Haytor Rocks, Hameldown, Grimspound and any others you can it in a day.
Must see and do
- Wild Camping - Dartmoor It’s legal – see www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk – and it’s a great place to do it. What are you waiting for
- Valley of the Rocks A dramatic ridge of jagged rock towering high above the sea, just a short distance west of Lynton
- Devon Cream Tea A nice cuppa and a scone full of clotted cream and jam – a holiday heart-attack waiting to happen
Destination County : Devon