One of the best things about working for Devon is the opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Devon is one of the largest counties in the UK, and the only one to have two coastlines. It has a wonderful variety of landscapes and activities to enjoy, and has good transport links to the rest of the country. Whatever your interests, Devon has something for everyone.
Devon has two coastlines. The south coast boasts the ‘English Riviera’ of Torbay, the much sought-after South Hams area and the fascinating Jurassic coast, with plenty of opportunities to participate in a variety of water sports. The north coast is beloved by beach lovers and surfers, with Woolacombe winning best beach in the UK multiple times and being ranked as the 4th best beach in Europe. Both coasts are encompassed by the South West Coast Path, and are much-loved by walkers of all levels.
In Devon we are lucky to have two of the country’s 15 National Parks. Dartmoor, with its high granite tors, ancient settlements and myths and legends makes up a sizeable part of South Devon, and in the north-east Exmoor rolls down to the coast before continuing into Somerset. Devon has a great variety of countryside, with rivers, hill ranges and forest. This makes the county a great spot for walking, mountain biking, wildlife watching and all kinds of outdoor activities. Visit Devon for inspiration about what to do and where to go, and Explore Devon the naturally active way.
The Cathedral city of Exeter is Devon’s county town, and is where County Hall is based. The historic centre and quayside of the city are very popular, especially in the summer, with plenty of restaurants and bars to visit and enjoy. A 2018 report has named Exeter as one of the ten fastest growing cities in the UK in terms of both jobs and population.
The coastline of North Devon is rugged and beautiful, and the beaches of Croyde, Saunton and Woolacombe in particular are known for their surfing. The largest towns are Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe, all of which lie on the coast or on river estuaries, highlighting this region’s history of fishing and shipbuilding.
South Devon has a wonderful mix of coast and country. Encompassing the southern edge at Dartmoor, the countryside then rolls down to the English Channel. The South Hams is famed for its coastal estuaries and towns such as Torquay, Brixham, Dartmouth and Salcombe. Inland there are many picturesque villages and historic towns, including Totnes and Newton Abbot.
The entire coastline of East Devon is part of the historic Jurassic Coast, a designated World Heritage Site, and is an excellent place for water sports, walkers and beach lovers alike. Further inland, East Devon has some of the most picturesque and quintessential villages in the county, as well as encompassing the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The towns of Tiverton, Exmouth and Cullompton are all sizeable with good links to the M5 and rest of the county.
The most rural of all Devon’s districts, West Devon is made up largely of Dartmoor and its foothills. It contains some of Dartmoor’s most famous sights, including the Merrivale stone rows and the Meldon reservoir, and its largest towns are Okehampton and Tavistock, the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake.
Devon has good transport links with the rest of the country. There are major rail stations in Plymouth and Exeter, with trains that can reach London within two-and-a-half hours. There are also connecting trains to the North of the county running from Exeter to Barnstaple.
The M5 Motorway runs to Exeter, and the Devon Expressway and North Devon Link Road provide excellent connections to the rest of the county.
Devon is also served by Exeter Airport, recently voted the happiest in the UK, and has ferry links to the continent from Plymouth.
There are also extensive cycle networks across the county, from Drake’s Trail to the Granite Way.