OK. We have to admit, there’s a bit of a North/South divide. Not just in the country overall. There’s one in Devon!
Devon is one of the largest counties in England and we’re fortunate to have two national parks, two stunning coastlines and endless sunny days. Well, the latter might not be quite true, but we do have special micro climates.
Devon is a county of contrasts as we’ve known for years. As a kid, Marcus used to be taken on camping holidays in North Devon every year and Ryan was brought up in South Devon.
When we get the chance, we head out on day trips to keep our knowledge current for guests. A recent question from a guest led us to take day trip to North Devon. The guest wanted to know if it’s worth heading there for a day when they visit next.
So, we took a two hour drive to reach the pretty towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. From there we went to Ilfracombe and Woolacombe.
Lynton and Lynmouth are certainly charming. Oldie-worldy, arts and crafts galore, dog friendly and plenty of choice for food and drinks. Just a few minutes drive from Lynton is the Valley of Rocks. Now, that place is beautiful. The wild goats weren’t phased by cars and tourists.
If we’re honest, Ilfracombe wasn’t looking its best. When we visited, many shops were closed for the season (some were shut in Lynton and Lynmouth too) although cool to see Damien Hirst’s Verity sculpture.
Woolacombe beach is fab. It was a sunny November day when we visited and there were plenty of surfers. North Devon is certainly great for surfing.
So how does North Devon compare to where we live in South Devon?
We’re very lucky when it comes to location. Although we’re in a rural location on Dartmoor, The Cottages at Blackadon Farm are only two miles from the A38 Devon Expressway, two miles to the town of Ivybridge which has a main line train station, twenty minutes from amazing beaches and a similar distance to Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City. Heading to North Devon is a different story – lots of single lane roads for miles that were backing up, even in November.
Here in South Devon, Dartmoor sites are plentiful and can be enjoyed in a loop. Exmoor sites in North Devon are further apart and the routing makes it trickier to see them.
South Devon seems to be a more ‘all-year-round’ destination. Only a few places close for winter (mainly on the English Riviera and a few family focused attractions). There’s more to do here out of season.
There are numerous beach options across Devon. We’ll admit North Devon is better for surfing overall, although, South Devon offers lots of more relaxed bays and estuaries.
You may think we’re biased. Maybe we are. North Devon is still a very special place for people to visit, but we reckon South Devon tops it.