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Autumn breaks in Devon

Autumn is a great time to enjoy Devon. Indulge in food festivals, take scenic woodland walks & end the day beside a roaring log fire in a Devon country pub.Once the crowds have left, Devon seems to breathe a sigh of relief and turns its attention to decorating itself in a stunning show of colour, often only appreciated by the locals.

The county celebrates its bounty with a number of food festivals which are a great reason to visit. Exmoor Food Festival runs for 10 days in early October. Discover the ale and cider trails, sign up for a cookery lesson, sample delicious local goods at food fairs and let the kids indulge in a jelly fight!

Dartmouth Food festival is a more dignified event around 21-23 October with top chefs taking part in a cook-off challenge accompanied by food stalls, demonstrations and tastings galore. Stay on for the indulgent Garden Tour and Lunch at the two-Michelin star Gidleigh Park in Chagford at the end of October or the Clovelly Herring Festival later in November. The steep cobbled streets are abuzz with sea shanty singing, local stalls and herrings, herrings and more herrings!

You may need to walk off all that good food by joining the North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival which take place on the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October.

Lydford Gorge is a local beauty spot which invites a good walk beneath ancient oaks or head for Stoke Woods, just outside Exeter. Take the strenuous one mile red trail or the moderate shorter blue trail and appreciate the area where Roman soldiers once stood guard, royal kings hunted and wild wolves prowled.

If you have a four-legged walking companion, most beaches allow dogs after September 30 and there are some excellent walks to be enjoyed accompanied by bracing winds and dashing waves on rocky outcrops.

Art and music lovers will also enjoy the autumn season in Devon with the Two Moors Festival of classical music taking place in various locations in mid-October.

Visit Paignton and Torquay in mid-September for the Agatha Christie Festival which features cruises down the River Dart with a local historian, who-dunnit theatre events and “in character” lunches at the Burgh Island Hotel. They also host regular Murder Mystery evenings as a tribute to their famous former guest and “Queen of Crime”.

Finally, make time to see the herbaceous flower beds and autumn favourites putting on a final burst of colour at RHS Rosemoor, Coleton Fishacre and Overbeck’s, now managed by the National Trust.

Return home in the evening to a warming fire and a comfy armchair in your self-catering accommodation. Enjoy comfort food beneath beamed ceilings in a cosy cottage that has no doubt seen a hundred autumns come and go.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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