Monday, 1 June 2020

5 Reasons I've Fallen in Love With North Devon.

This month I've been invited to co-host the monthly Travel Link-Up, and we're talking about home, which is you all know by now is something I've spoken about regularly given my constant moving around. I've frequently told you about my second home of Australia (even writing about Perth for a Travel Link-Up back in 2015), and so this time I wanted to tell you more about my home in England.

For most of my life that home was in the pretty market-town of Guildford in Surrey. We moved there when I was 2-years-old, and apart from my four years spent in Australia, my family didn't move away from Guildford permanently until last year. These days, my family home is on the border of North Devon and Cornwall, and although I spend most of the year at my home in London, I wanted to tell you all about our new family home and why I've fallen in love with it!

When our parents told us they were selling the family home, my brother and I were pretty devastated. Guildford was where we grew up and holds a pretty special place in our hearts. But when we started looking at houses in Devon with them it got us SO excited. They eventually found a beautiful Victorian farm on the border of Devon and Cornwall, and thanks to the lockdown I recently spent two months there until we were legally allowed to drive distances again and I could finally go home to London. So, here's what I discovered about our new home while I was stuck there in lockdown...

Beautiful countryside everywhere

The new house is in a rural part of the country, my parents are literally in a tiny hamlet that doesn't even have a shop or pub, and they're surrounded by fields and countryside. I can't even tell you how nice it was to go for a walk and see so much nature; the beautiful lanes with verges filled with huge prehistoric ferns and pretty wildflowers, great green trees towering over with their branches intertwining above you, and colourful birds and butterflies everywhere. As well as the local lanes and fields, there's also numerous beauty spots and national parks nearby, including Bodmin Moor which is over the border in Cornwall, and Dartmoor and Exmoor in Devon.

The most incredible fresh seafood

Devon is famous for its local crab, and although we only had it once during lockdown because there was a shortage, it was glorious! As well as crab, the fisherman also catch lobster, and each week we would go to the fish shop at Widemouth Bay to buy fresh Pollack, Sea bream or Sea bass. The fish is brought in fresh that morning by the local fishermen, so you know it's the best quality possible. I can't even begin to tell you just how incredible the quality of the fish was!

Breathtaking sandy beaches

Britain is known for it's pebble beaches. When I lived in Australia, EVERYONE would ask about the pebble beaches! But actually we're pretty lucky to have some really beautiful golden sandy beaches around our little island. North Devon and Cornwall has some of the best in the country. I adored weekly walks along nearby Summerleaze and Crooklets beach in Bude, and Widemouth is also a family favourite. Further north within Devon is Woolacombe, Instow, and the little hidden beach of Broad Sands, and further south into Cornwall is the hidden beach of Port Gaverne near Port Isaac, and of course Mawgan Porth.

Friendly and welcoming locals 

Oh my gosh, everyone is SO friendly! I feel as though Devon and Cornwall's residents are similar to people from 'Up North' - everyone chats to you and starts a conversation. It's so different to London and the home counties and so refreshing! Also I'm obsessed with the accents - but maybe that's just my ancestry coming out (our family are originally from Devon and the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall). 

North Devon is also very dog-friendly, with plenty of dog-friendly beaches and dog-friendly attractions so you don't have to leave your dog in the car or in your home/accommodation while you go out and have all the fun! 

Everyone supports small local businesses

They don't have a huge amount of chain places in Devon and Cornwall. The bigger towns and cities have chains, but all of the smaller towns definitely don't. Even in Bude, the only chains there was a Holland & Barrett, and a Costa Coffee. But even their department store is independent, and all of the restaurants are independent. I noticed there's just this huge amount of love and support for small local businesses, which is so lovely to see, rather than the boring samey chains that have taken over London and the home counties areas. 

I absolutely loved spending two months down at our new family home in Devon, and if you fancy visiting too, check out their beautiful dog-friendly holiday barn which is across from our house and set within 20 acres of fields, wildflower meadows, and woodland :) I used it as an office while I was working from home down there, but it has three bedrooms, is just 15-minutes from the beach and is perfect for a UK staycation!

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