Devon is large county in the south-western corner of the land; only Cornwall lies beyond to the west. Devon has two seacoasts to north and south, with the Bristol Channel and English Channel respectively. Dorset and Somerset are to the east.
Devonshire has a proud seagoing tradition. The Elizabethan navy that defeated the armada and “singed the King of Spain’s beard” was largely drawn from Devon. Sir Francis Drake was a Tavistock man. Only in recent years has the Royal Navy scaled down its dominant presence in Devonport in Plymouth.
The southern coast is very lovely, rugged between Thurlestone and Salcombe, from where a network of craggy tidal creeks reaches deep into the land. Cliffs front the sea. The northern coastline is remarkable for steep thickly-wooded cliffs between Lynmouth and Ilfracombe, while beyond the Taw and Torridge estuaries there is again magnificent coastal scenery around Clovelly (itself a unique, jewel of a village), and from Hartland to the Cornish border.
Inland most of southern Devon is Dartmoor, a bleak but picturesque landscape of granite hill country rising to over 2,000 feet in places. Tavistock is the Queen of Dartmoor, a fine granite-built town on the Tavy. In the north Exmoor begins, where the River Exe rises. There is rolling agricultural land to the north and in the east of the county, particularly along the Exe and Culm Valleys.
Exeter, the county town, is a mixture of mediæval and modern. It stands on the River Exe a short distance above its estuary. The Exe Valley runs almost the length of eastern Devonshire, north to south, with several smaller towns and picturesque villages of thatched cottages.
County Town: Exeter
Main Towns: Axminster, Barnstaple, Bideford, Dartmouth, Exeter, Exmouth, Ilfracombe, Newton Abbot, Plymouth, Sidmouth, Torquay, Paignton, Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Tavistock.
Main Rivers: Plym, Lyd, Tavy, Bovey, Dart, Avon, Teign, Exe, Taw, Tamar, Yealm.
Highlights: Dartmoor; Exeter Cathedral; Exmoor; Lynton/Lynmouth; Plymouth.
Highest Point: High Willhays, 2,039 feet.
Area: 2,405 square miles
County Flower: Primrose