Devon History

The county of Devon in the south-west of Great Britain covers an area of 6,703 square kilometers and is one of the biggest counties in England. The most important places for tourism are the picturesque fishing villages and the beautiful nature reserves like Dartmoor and Exmoor. Already around 6,000 BC the area was populated by hunters and gatherers. Today 1.2 Million people life in the county. Due to the megalith culture Devon has the eldest monuments in Great Britain.

Important places in Devon
A very special way to discover the county of Devon is going by train. The Seaton Tramway and the South Devon Railway are the most popular ones. One of the most important sights in Devon is the monastery Buckfast Abbey which was built in the 11th century and finished 1937 in a Norman, early Gothic style. The monastery is still inhabited. Open to the public are also the mysterious ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle, built in the 11th century. Today the castle is owned by the Duke of Somerset. In the capital Exeter a visit to the cathedral St. Peter and the Guildhall, the eldest public building in Great Britain, are definitely worthwhile. Have a romantic stroll through the harbour or have a look at the numerous medieval churches like St. Mary Steps with its magnificent clock tower.

Vacation Rentals and Holiday Homes in Devon

Places of interest in Devon

Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast, also called “Jura Coast” in German, has been declared as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. The coast covers the whole area from Orcombe Point in the county of Devon to Old Harry Rocks close to the town of Swanage. Visitors can discover unique rock formations along the 150-kilimeter-long coast. Furthermore, the Jurassic Coast is an important archaeological site for fossils. The whole region offers beautiful landscape is a very popular place for hiking. A must-see is Durdle-Door, a natural stone bridge.

Exeter Cathedral
As early as 1112, the construction work on the cathedral St. Peter in Exeter has started. Later, numerous extensions in different eras were taking place. Two massive towers, which serve as the transept of the church today, are still in the original condition. In the inner part of the church the astronomical clock, built in 1480, is an eye-catcher. Join a guided tour of the Gothic vault and learn everything about the history of the cathedral.

Dartmoor Zoo
On an area of 12 hectares the family-owned zoo in the south of England welcomes its visitors. Not only children will love to explore and experience the exotic animals. Pay a visit to the lions, the monkeys or the wolves and observe the fascinating collection of insects and bugs. The sprawling site invites you to have a relaxing picnic on the lawn. It is not without reason that the Hollywood-movie “We bought a zoo” is based on the zoological park in Devon. A great day out for the whole family!

Dartmoor National Park
The Dartmoor National Park is the “green lung” of Devon. On an area of 17,000 hectare, the protected nature reserve offers a safe place for numerous animals and plants. The landscape has already inspired many writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create histories. One of the best ways to discover the area is a walk through the heath- and moorland on the numerous hiking paths. Even climbers will find a good place in the rather flat landscape. If you prefer going by bike you have many options for a tour. Have a stopover in the small village of Widecomb-in-the-Moor.

Buckfast Abbey
With Buckfast Abbey you can explore one of the last active monasteries in Great Britain. Built in 1136, the monastery has first been inhabited by Cistercians. Destroyed by the English King Heinrich VIII, the building has only existed as a ruin for more than 300 years. In 1882 the monastery has been brought back to life by French Benedictines. The monks contribute to the preservation of the monastery by selling self-manufactured products, like honey or tonic, and by running a conference center. Visit the Abbey and gain an insight into the daily life of the monastery habitants.

Castle Drogo
The Castle Drogo is one of the last manor houses in Great Britain and welcomes more than 120,000 visitors per year. The construction work has started in 1910, but has not finished yet, due to lack of money. Constructer was the British businessman Julius Drewe, founder of the Home and Colonial Stores, who wanted to fulfill his dream of a living area. His descendants handed the castle to the National Trust that is now taking care of the damaged building. At the moment Castle Drogo is in a reconstruction-phase, but is still open to the public.

Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle was built from 1390 until 1420 and has always been property of the family of the Earl of Devon. A visit of the beautiful garden site is as worthwhile as having a look at the interior of the castle. During a guided tour you can see the dining room, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. and the library. Visitors can listen intently to histories about the counts and countesses that have lived at the castle over the course of centuries. Children can spend time in the play-fortress, at the petting zoo or in the secret garden.

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