"Aye, Devon - Even had I an infinite great store..." Top 5 Page for this destination Devon by johngayton

Devon Travel Guide: 2,274 reviews and 5,909 photos

...I'd trouble to do you justice!

My association with Devon goes back well over 20 years when I was an occasional visitor, escaping life's pressures from time to time to embrace the casual relaxed atmosphere, the amazing diversity of its scenery, the serenity of the blueness of its skies and the all-encompassing homegenity of its greens, a myriad shades everywhere blending everything together.

Over the course of my casual visits in the past it was mostly to Exeter or Plymouth that I would gravitate, mainly for their pubs admittedly! But I also managed some quite serious walking, including notably the whole of Devon's south coastal stretch of the South West Coast Path, arriving through Dorset via Lyme Regis - that's a serious walk taking in cliffs and beaches, fishing villages and secluded bays, tourist resorts and local harbours before arriving at the proletarian metropolis of Plymouth. I really must do this again!!

I must have literally thousands of photographs of Devon and each picture evokes its own memories and not just memories but hopes too for the future, anticipations and desires generated by my Devon of the present - the above collage represents but the smallest fraction of my feelings and love for my adopted county.

The Devon Flag

Devon folk (and even us incomers) have always been fiercely partisan regarding their home county but it was only recently (in 2003) that we adopted our own flag after a competetion run by BBC Devon. The winning design, by Ryan Sealey, combines the natural green, for which Devon is justly famed, the black stripes, representing the high moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor, and the white cross of St Petroc, evoking both the salt spray of Devon's coastlines and the China Clay industry.

The following poem was written by Dartmouth mariner Kevin Pyne:

The Devon Flag

Across the soft breeze in gentle rythm
Like the summer seas upon its shore
The warm janners green flag flies
To mark this mornings coming day
St Petroc's long lost Celtic cross is found
The cruciform shape sea spume white
A calm white of saintly patience
The white of clay
Our flag, which on stormy days cracks and shimmers
Up in the salt caked cross trees
Of perhaps a thousand small ships
Marking those who have Devon in their hearts
May it watch over and guide our fishermen and seamen
Until they are safe again
Let it fly high on the church towers as the clock strikes
To bring the farmers
To the green fields which feed a nation
Dumnonia's flag
Its cross is laced with black
As is the moorland granite
The timeless headstone
Where they have carved our names in the past
And where we will remember those who have served our nation
Yet even as the flag was born.

The pic on the left here is a typical Devon landscape taken from the top of the hill going up towards Chittlehamholt. The flag is the one that accompanied me on our sail around the Greek Islands on the way to Euromeet 2007 on Santorini.

Devon People

People do make places. Yet sometimes it is the place that makes people and nowhere more so than here in Devon. I don't know exactly what it is, it certainly is nothing definable, but there is something about Devon that just slows people down, takes their aggresions and replaces them with kindness. Nothing happens quickly here, but everything does get done and it gets done in a qualitative manner - that's why Devon abounds with small local artisanal producers, whether farmers or craftspeople, cheesemakers or builders, people who care about what they do and want to do it properly.

This little collage is a very small selection of friends, colleagues, aquaintances and even a complete stranger, nice people all and characters with it too (well the complete stranger looks like a nice person and a character!).

Going clockwise and spiralling into the centre we start off with Pete, the ex-proprietor of The Crown at Lynton and currently proprietor of The Greenhouse there, definitely one of life's characters and a gentleman to boot. Next, the infamous "Cheffie" aka Niel, grumpy old scruffy B'tard that he is, who used to be my boss at Widecombe and now rules the roost at the Highwayman's Haunt at Chudleigh (well so his wife tells him!) - a good friend. Then completing the top row is little Linzi, a star-member of my former A-team from Widecombe - I wonder how many hearts she's broken recently?

Going round at 3 o'clock the inestimable Pete Hicks, the wealthiest man in Widecombe (or should I say Venton because that's where he actually resides in his straw-roofed shed) - the smile here is actually a grimace at having to part with some of his money. Still a working farmer at 74 years of age and a great conversationalist - I can listen to his stories all night, even the ones that I've heard before (sometimes several times).

Then Lizzie, ach, Lizzie deserves a whole page all to herself, just for being herself - a great colleague and a wonderful person.

Now we come to our mystery man, one of Marina's photographs from the harbour at Lynmouth, sorting out the anchor chains. I just put this photo here because I love it and because he looks like a character, whether Devonish or not he definitely looks like he belongs here.

Sophie's eyes in the corridor of The Ruggle, their crinkle giving away the smile hidden by her shawl, yet another Devon beauty and fun to be around. Then to finish the outside loop, one of my old drinking buddies from Widecombe. OMG! His name temporarily escapes me, yet we've had countless beers together - HA! perhaps that's why I can't remember his name!

Then in the centre, where all of my favourite women belong, is Edith, still going strong at 85 (?), still as cantankerous as ever and as lovable as any of my centre-folds ;-p

Aye, just such a small selection. And writing here about them brings to mind the countless other characters who I've left out, no less esteemed tho' and forever valued...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Diversity - People, Places, Pubs - HA! The 3 P's:-)
  • Cons:None
  • In a nutshell:Devon may (??) not be perfect, but it suits me!
  • Intro Updated Jul 15, 2015
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Reviews (41)

Comments (16)

  • chocolatecake's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Hi Chef John, very poetic Devon, will visit Devon when I'm back to England :D

  • ypartridge's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Hi just enjoyed your page on Devon. we will be there sometime in August, it sounds like The place to visit and the quaint pubs. Cheers

  • Paris92's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Looks like such a pretty area. Congrats on the Barney nomination--it's well deserved.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    The Tarka trail looks very appealing-but how do you carry the beer along on the trip? Our goal is to see this area in next year or so, and you have presented it very well.

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    You have a wonderful way of describing the places you love, John! I really enjoyed discovering Devon through your eyes and I must say we share some common interests like beer, countryside, trails, . . Beautiful! I will have to come back for more England.

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    Wonderful looking area, and I do hope to get to visit at some point. It's a shame that so much of Plymouth has been destroyed, but from the sounds of it they did a good job in rebuilding.

  • Callavetta's Profile Photo
    Aug 14, 2009 at 8:35 PM

    How long has it been since you've been to the Ruggle? Aren't you kind of craving a pop in?

  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2008 at 7:51 PM

    Great info on a beautiful area.

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2008 at 8:21 AM

    Devon Cream and scones plu plus plus- here PC is part of the Westons Bakery group, their ethnic products for a bulk producers is fairly good, an introduction to the real macoy ;-)))

  • iris2002's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2008 at 4:06 AM

    the 3 P's indeed. Wishing you a fab summer down Devon way!

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