Devon is a unique county. Tucked down near England’s toe it has the distinction of possessing two completely separate coastlines, each with its own flavour. The rugged and dramatic north coast is beaten by Atlantic weather; the south coast is more mellow with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
But there is a hidden part to Devon, a region less-travelled by the tourist, often overlooked by visitors in favour of the coasts and tempting heights of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Mid Devon has much to offer and is one of my favourite areas to walk: tucked-away paths wind through woodlands, patchwork hillsides tumble into river valleys, idyllic villages boast lovely country inns. Joy!
The Exe Valley village of Thorverton, north of Exeter, is always a good start point. Its picturesque heart and old church are fine places to explore before heading up out of the village and into the Raddon Hills.
This is an airy and wonderful spot. Up here, on a clear day, the rest of the world is on view: Exmoor far to the north, Dartmoor in the south west and a vast panorama towards the East Devon coastline. Thirst quenching. And, if you’re really lucky, the legendary Killerton Dragon may waft past as he flies between the Iron Age hill forts of Cadbury Castle and Dolbury, keeping a scaly eye on his buried treasure. Up here an iconic lone pine stands sentinel, watching over an historic landscape. It calls me back again and again…..join me.
Image courtesy of Paul McLoughlin on Flickr