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Feel the enchantment of East Devon villages

The rolling hills and scenic river valleys of East Devon are a beautiful part of the West Country, and for short breaks this area is very easy to get to by car via the M5 or by train.
Stretching from Axminster and Tiverton across to and Crediton, the East Devon area is an interesting variety of plateaux, ridges, woodland and heathland, all leading down to a spectacular coastline of red sandstone, white chalk cliffs, long sandy beaches and some pebbly ones too!

An area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

One third of this area is officially an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The rivers Exe, Otter, Sid and Axe gave their names to delightful towns such as Exmouth, Sidmouth, Upottery and Axminster and the fertile river valleys are known for their birdlife.

Woodbury Common is a delightful discovery for hikers and nature lovers. This lowland heath is the largest such area west of the New Forest. Another great place for getting lost on a pleasant amble is the Blackdown Hills, running along the East Devon / Somerset border just north of the A30.

Twisting lanes and ancient hedgerows divide up a mosaic of fields. Many Devon hedgerows are hundreds of years old and there is a countryman’s rule for estimating their age. Measure a 30-yard distance and count the number of woody species of plants you can find within that area. The number roughly corresponds to the number of centuries that hedgerow has grown there. Many of Devon’s hedgerows are hundreds of years old and have seen many changes in the vehicles, clothing and social lifestyle of those journeying by!

East Devon is ideal for family holidays

Sidmouth and Exmouth are ideal for family holidays with safe sandy beaches and traditional seaside entertainments. Retirees will find Budleigh Salterton with its antique shops and endless tearooms is a delightful place to linger.

Beer is one of Devon’s most attractive seaside villages with a pretty beach, plenty of gift shops, lovely tearooms and a long history of smuggling. Look carefully at the fine lace souvenirs found here. This is handmade Honiton lace and the skill was brought to this area by Flemish refugees during the 16th century.

Another interesting claim to fame in Beer is the Quarry Caves where guided tours take visitors underground to see where stone has been quarried for over 2,000 years. The stone has been used in the building of 24 cathedrals including and St Paul’s Cathedral. Beer stone was even used in building the Tower of London, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and parts of Hampton Court and was transported by barge to its required destination. There is a small museum (and a large sense of history) which you can enjoy as part of your visit.

Exmouth is a typical seaside town which has become a popular retirement community. There is a perfect sandy beach and long esplanade with colourful beach huts, a Fun Park playground, putting green, model railway and a good shopping centre. The nearby River Exe offers windsurfing, kayaking, walking, cycling and even kitesurfing. The 16-sided house of is well worth a visit to see the unique design as well as the fascinating collection and décor within, representing the lives of two spinster sisters in the early 19th century.

Going up market

Sidmouth is an upmarket Regency town with a lovely Jungle and Rock Garden within the Connaught Gardens. The best family beach is Jacob’s Ladder, or enjoy a gentle amble through the Byes where ducks quack greedily demanding to be fed!

There is never a wrong time to visit so come down and enjoy its scenic villages and stay as long, or as little, as you like!

Have you visited any of the places we’ve mentioned? What did you enjoy about them? Or are the any other places in East Devon that are worth visiting? Share you experience with us…

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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