Torridge is another rural part of Devon with 95% of it being classified as ‘Green Space’. The estimated population in 2019 was 68,267, which got me wondering as to how they came up with that figure – why not estimate it at 68,266 or 68,268? Anyway, the largest number of people live in a small area at the northern end of the district where the River Torridge meets the River Taw: Bideford (16,610), Northam (12,062), Appledore (2,814) and Westward Hoe (2,112) make up almost half of the population of Torridge (2011 census), with only Great Torrington (5,714) and Holsworthy (2,641) having any other population worth mentioning.
Even in the confined area around Bideford, there’s still room for Northam Burrows Country Park, an area of undeveloped sand dunes and salt marsh, and unsurprisingly an area of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Adjacent to the Burrows is the magnificent beach at Westward Hoe, but I don’t think the same adjective can be used for the town which got its name from Charles Kingsley’s well-known novel. Further south, the coastline becomes rugged, especially around Hartland Point, and some 12 miles out to sea is the wonderful Lundy Island, which also comes under the district of Torridge.
Being so rural has its advantages and disadvantages: The advantages for people who want a quiet life are obvious, but for anybody who needs to earn a living, household income is amongst the lowest in the country, and if you want to get out and about it’s worth knowing that there are no rail services, and both Plymouth and Exeter are over an hour away by car; notice I said by car, and not road – just in case you were thinking of using public transport.