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Out and about

Devon is a fantastic natural playground. Over a third of the county is within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For lovers of the Great Outdoors, Devon鈥檚 two national parks - Dartmoor and Exmoor - offer superb hiking, horse riding, cycling and loads more.

The North Devon Coast

The North Devon Coast

The North Devon Coast is recognised as the thanks to the high quality and diversity of surf breaks and the surrounding natural beauty. It is also great for windsurfing and paddleboarding, or you may be tempted to simply take a dip - the water is glorious!

Whether you are exploring the towering cliffs along the Hartland Heritage Coast or navigating the stunning bays tucked within the stretch between Lynton and Ilfracombe, you'll be in for a treat when it comes to coastal walks. Family favourites include the golden sands of Woolacombe, Croyde, Saunton Sands, and Westward Ho!, but don't forget the beautiful sand and shingle shores of Lee Bay, Hele Bay, and Lynmouth.

Nearby is the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, over fifty square miles of England鈥檚 largest sand dune system. Also on the North Coast, the pretty coastal villages of Instow and Appledore look across the Taw-Torridge estuary towards Lundy Island, a three-mile-long granite outcrop that鈥檚 been described as Britain鈥檚 own Galapagos.听

The South Devon Coast

The South Devon Coast

Down on Devon鈥檚 south coast, popular holiday destinations on the English Channel offer generally calmer conditions, ideal for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. The wide expanse of Torbay with its striking red cliffs gives way to smaller inlets and sheltered estuaries towards Plymouth. This area - the South Hams - boasts yet more world-class beaches. Salcombe and Dartmouth are popular haunts for sailing and landlubbers can enjoy fishing and crabbing.

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor听straddles North Devon and Somerset and is an easy drive from Barnstaple. Exmoor鈥檚 landscape is more undulating and gentle with lush wooded valleys to explore.

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor听is easy to reach from Exeter. A dramatic expanse of 鈥榳ilderness鈥 dotted with distinctive granite outcrops or Tors, it鈥檚 a top spot for hiking, rock climbing, wild camping and (if you鈥檙e brave enough) wild swimming in crystal clear waters. The perfect place to roam free - as do the native Dartmoor ponies, often to be spotted grazing alongside free-range sheep and cattle.

The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching almost one hundred miles from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset. 185 million years in the making, the Jurassic Coast is a diverse and beautiful landscape underpinned by incredible geology of global importance.

Traffic-free adventures

Traffic-free adventures

The South West Coast Path is a 630-mile trail that hugs the entire length of Devon鈥檚 dramatic coastlines and on into Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. Whether you鈥檙e looking for a serious long-distance hike or simply somewhere to go for a walk, you鈥檙e spoilt for choice for scenic itineraries.

For cyclists and walkers, Devon offers countless traffic-free routes for the whole family to enjoy. The National Cycle Network听takes you from seaside towns to the heights of Dartmoor:

Close to Exeter, explore The Exe Estuary Trail. This beautiful route follows both sides of the River Exe, linking the seaside resort of Dawlish Warren to Exmouth. One for all the family as this ride is fairly flat but not short on fantastic views or fascinating birdlife. The nearby marshes, managed by the RSPB, provide a year-round haven for thousands of wildfowl and wading birds.

The Tarka Trail passes through Barnstaple and is one of the country's longest continuous traffic-free walking and cycling paths. Superb views and lots of wildlife habitats along the route including estuary mudflats and salt marshes, oak woodland, streams, ditches and meadows.

The Devon Coast to Coast is a 99-mile journey from Ilfracombe in North Devon to Plymouth in the south. Pedal past beaches and estuaries, the lush green valleys of the Torridge, the Tavy, the Walkham and other evocative West Country rivers. You鈥檒l also skirt around the western flank of Dartmoor, offering superb views of Cornwall.

The Granite Way is a truly spectacular, and mostly traffic-free, 11-mile walking and cycling route through rural Devon between Okehampton and Lydford.

Last updated: May 25, 2023

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