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Northwest Devon: The Cornish border to the River Torridge


Clovelly North Devon England UK by Juneisy Q. Hawkins Shutterstock
Clovelly is one of North Devon's most charming fishing villages © Juneisy Q. Hawkins, Shutterstock

The ever-changing wood and cliff scenery from the coast path is sublime; the region’s most charming fishing villages are here.

This ‘wild west’ of the county is perhaps my favourite part of North Devon. Here there are few sandy beaches but the ever-changing wood and cliff scenery from the coast path is sublime; the region’s most charming fishing villages are here (Clovelly and Appledore), as are the splendid Hartland Abbey, some good gardens (Clovelly Court, Docton Mill) and a clutch of villages whose churches are crammed with carved bench ends and other curiosities. And talking of curiosities, there is even a Gnome Reserve.

Charles Kingsley and Sir Richard Grenville share the honour of being the region’s favourite son. Kingsley’s name is everywhere, though few 21st-century readers appreciate his flowery, moralistic prose (he wrote The Water Babies and Westward Ho!), while Grenville, who met his death when his ship, The Revenge, tackled a vastly superior Spanish fleet, is mainly celebrated in his home town of Bideford. 

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