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Devon (/ ˈ d ɛ v ən /, also known as Devonshire) is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north-east and Dorset to the east.
- Devon invented Cream Tea. Britain has always had a fond love affair with Tea and while you may have heard many rumours regarding the origin of Cream Tea, the evidence suggests it was invented in Devon.
- Jack Russell first bred in Dartmouth. This small dog was first bred in Dartmouth by a cleric, John Russell. John was born in 1795 and intended for the breed to be a hunting dog – today, more than 200 years later, this small breed of dog is much loved across the UK.
- Oldest working gin distillery in Plymouth. Plymouth Gin is the oldest gin distillery in the world that still operates in its original location. Established in 1793, the distillery is the only gin distillery currently operating in Plymouth and is located in what was once a Dominican Order Monastery built in 1431.
- It has the only town in Britain to be named after a novel. Westward Ho! is the only place in the UK that is named after a novel. After the huge success of Charles Kingsley’s novel, entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to promote tourism in the area by naming the town after the bestselling book.
- Devon has more road than anywhere else in the country. True fact. You maybe thought it was London, or Birmingham. Nope. Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of road - the longest network in the country.
- Devon has the slowest roads in the country. Not only do we have more road than anyone else, it also takes you longer to use. A survey by international travel experts Inrix, who provide live traffic information to people like the BBC, this year named Exeter the slowest city in the country during rush-hour.
- Devon has the narrowest street in the world. Parliament Street in Exeter bears a plaque claiming it to be the narrowest street in the world. At its narrowest it is about 0.64 metres (2 ft 1 in) at its widest it is 1.22 metres (4 ft 0 in).
- Devon invented the Cornish pasty. I know what you're thinking, the clue's in the name. But just like they don't get cream teas right, our Cornish cousins didn't invent the pasty either.
Devon was recognized as a shire in the late 8th century and suffered subsequently from Danish raids (851–1003). The Saxons created four strongholds, called burhs, at Exeter, Barnstaple, Totnes, and Lydford. Exeter was taken by the Norman William I the Conqueror in 1068, and a castle was built there in 1348.
Devon is home to two national parks, Exmoor and Dartmoor. Dartmoor is famous for its crags and granite ‘tors’, wild Dartmoor ponies, standing stones and prehistoric remains. Exmoor with its peat moors is Lorna Doone country. Both offer great walking and trekking opportunities for visitors.
- Dartmoor. The largest and least-inhabited open space in southern England, Dartmoor is as mysterious as it is visually breathtaking. This wilderness is suffused with stories of headless horsemen, ghostly beasts and pixies, and has been inspiring artists and writers for centuries, most notably Arthur Conan Doyle when he wrote the Hound of the Baskervilles.
- Exeter. The name of this wonderful university city gives clues to its ancient origins, and Exeter was in fact the most southwesterly Roman fortification on the British Isles.
- Plymouth. Few places could claim to have a maritime tradition as rich as Plymouth’s, which will forever recall names like Sir Francis Drake and the Mayflower, which set sail for America from this port.
- Torquay. Devon’s mild climate makes it a more reliable beach getaway than almost anywhere in England, and at the forefront has to be Torquay. There are nine sandy beaches on the seafront of this endearing coastal town, three of which have the Blue Flag for the quality of the water and services for visitors.
Cider, known as 'Cyder' or ' Scrumpy ' is the traditional drink of Devon as it was in much of the Westcountry, peasants often paid an allowance of three pints per day. One of the most famous cider producers of the 20th century was Whiteways of Whimple, East Devon.
Charles Kingsley, best known for writing The Water Babies, published a novel called Westward Ho! in 1855. It was based on Bideford. With Kingsley’s nod of approval, a hotel named after the novel was build, then villas, and so on; the settlement logically taking the name Westward Ho!.