North Devon

The North Devon Coastline near Ilfracombe
The North Devon Coastline near Ilfracombe

North Devon

The administrative area of North Devon includes the coastline north of the River Taw, the Devon section of Exmoor, and Barnstaple, one of the oldest boroughs in the country – if not the oldest.

Barnstaple, including the outlying satellite villages, has a population around the 54,000 mark, but other than that North Devon is predominantly rural with a fairly sparse population.

The coastline is also much less commercialized than its South Devon counterpart, due in part to its rocky coastline. That said, surfers are well catered for at Croyde and the wide, sandy beach at Woolacombe.

There are a handful of Victorian seaside resorts such as Lynton and Lynmouth and Ilfracombe, which is also a departure point for wonderful Lundy Island.

On the whole, people come to this part of the county for a quieter life, and generally speaking that’s what you’ll get unless you decide to come in the middle of summer.

Many people arrive by car taking the North Devon Link road from the M5 to Barnstaple, although there is also a single track railway line that connects Barnstaple with Exeter.

The coast, Lundy, and Exmoor are the obvious places to visit, but although the countryside may not immediately seem to be all that alluring, it has an understated feeling of times gone by and which you probably thought never still existed. It’s probably for this reason that many people come here to retire, when they’ve had enough of the rat race and money seems less important than the quality of life.