North and Central Devon travel guide and information
We want visitors from afar to know that there is more to Devon than the beaches and shops that appear in tourist brochures.
Alistair & Gill Campbell authors of Slow Travel: North and Central Devonco-written by Hilary Bradt
We have lived in the West Country for many years and one of the joys of finding Bradt’s Slow Guide is that it has made us appreciate North and Central Devon again. Walk on the coastal paths under a radiant sun; discover tiny churches and little-known villages; learn to blow glass, throw a pot or ride a wave – north and central Devon are surprisingly rich in hidden delights.
North Devon is dominated by its coastline and some parts become very crowded in high season. Head a bit south into Mid Devon and the crowds evaporate. Here you’ll find interesting places to stay, from a cob thatched cottage in a quiet village to a luxurious treehouse with a hot tub for two. Some attractions are well known, like the RHS Gardens in Rosemoor, but others, like Dingles Heritage Fairground just off the A30 and Woolley Animals in Winkleigh, are off the usual beaten track.
This part of Devon is exceptionally attractive to foodies. Slow food is part of slow travel and this region lends itself well to time spent lingering over a meal in a thatched-roof pub, cream tea in a seaside tea room, a river or even a cocktail in front of a beach at sunset. Whatever you eat and drink is likely to be local thanks to the region’s agricultural heritage, which encourages free-range animals and organic methods. It’s likely that the gin for your cocktail will also come from a little further afield thanks to the growing number of distilleries springing up in the area. North and Mid Devon has fourteen independent breweries, numerous cider houses and a handful of small wineries.
Many visitors come to the area to walk around. We first visited to hike the famous South West Coast Path (SWCP); the North Devon section is probably the most beautiful (as well as the most difficult) part of the whole route. All keen walkers visiting Devon will hike parts of the Coastal Path, with most using the inland paths to make a circular trip or taking a local bus to the start.
As you walk or drive, you’re sure to spot wildlife – red deer, Exmoor ponies, foxes, badgers, buzzards and other birds of prey abound. If you take the boat to Lundy – it really is a must – between May and July you will see puffins, with their brightly colored beaks.
Bradt on Great Britain – our Slow Travel approach
Bradt’s coverage of parts of Britain makes ‘Slow Travel’ his focus. For us, Slow Travel means ditching the tourist lists – deciding not to try to see “too much” – and instead taking the time to really get into the shoes of a special region. You don’t have to travel at the speed of a snail: just allow yourself to savor the moment, appreciate the local differences that create a sense of place, and celebrate its food, people, and traditions. .
Introducing North and Central Devon
From relaxed village strolls to breathtaking coastal hikes.
From trailers to safari-style tents.
From luxury accommodations to simple, family-style shops.
From working farms to post houses.
From nature reserves to converted mansions.
Leave the car behind and explore Britain’s motorways, back roads and coastal paths on two wheels.
Whether you’re looking for a bench with a view or a grassy meadow with a stream, you can find it on Exmoor.
As well as their other treasures, North Devon and Exmoor boast exquisite churches.