For anyone visiting North Devon this year, the region represents a genuine escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But as well as some of the wildest coast and country in England, there are also some truly unique activities and sites to visit. Whether you fancy meeting native wildlife, eating local delicacies or taking a special tour, here are some of the best current North Devon experiences and days out:
Cross antlers with the locals
Now you see me! – There’s so much to spot in North Devon, but a little local knowledge can help.
Roaming freely on the hills of Exmoor, red deer are one of our most iconic creatures. The males, especially, can be truly spectacular beasts. But while they are not desperately rare on the moor, some friendly local help certainly increases your chance of a close encounter to these animals, not to mention many other species. Red Stag Safaris by Exmoor People are perhaps your best bet here, offering friendly expertise and special access to some of the best locations. Don’t forget the camera!
Hiking & guided walks on Exmoor
One of the main reasons visitors come to North Devon each year is for the fantastic walking territory on offer. The options are almost limitless, but if you’re not sure where to start you’ll find some useful maps and ideas on the Visit Exmoor Site. However, another great idea for just a little extra investment is to get yourself on a guided walk. Richard Medland, for example, offers half day sessions at just £55, a bargain when you consider his fantastic knowledge of the land and its history: http://www.exmoorwalkguide.co.uk/index.html
Try fly fishing in North Devon
Tumbling waters and wild fish await the keen angler (Image: www.dgfishing.co.uk)
There are some wonderfully wild places to go game fishing in and around Exmoor National Park and much of North Devon, but where do you start? That depends on whether you want easy and accessible fishing, or something altogether more wild. For the latter option, the Westcountry Angling Passport comes especially highly recommended, with some lovely fishing for trout and grayling on the Exe tributaries of Exmoor. You simply order tokens online, which are then posted at your chosen piece of river on the day. Good value too, from just £6 a day throughout the regular season (16th March to 30th Sept).
If you wish for more accessible, easy fishing open all year round though, Bratton Water is possibly your best option. It’s a pretty, well-stocked lake not too far from Barnstaple. Locals rate it especially highly for big brown trout averaging 2lbs. More here: http://www.brattonflyfishing.co.uk
Mountain biking trips on Exmoor
The best fun you can have on two wheels! (Image: Exmoor Adventures Facebook page)
Fancy a day in the saddle, with fantastic views and exciting terrain? The legendary cragginess of Exmoor makes our national park perfect for an action packed day out. You could bring your own bikes, but an even easier option is to hire them or join a guided bike trip. Exmoor Adventures fit the bill perfectly, with reasonable rates and all the gear and advice you need: http://www.exmooradventures.co.uk/group-activities/mountain-biking/
Sea kayaking adventures & kayak hire in North Devon
What better way to explore the North Devon Coast? (Image: Surfside Kayak Hire)
Another great way to enjoy the local scenery is by getting afloat. Modern sit-on kayaks are perfect to find your sea legs and can be easily hired locally. That said, the sea and the elements demand respect, so if you’re new to the sport, we would definitely recommend a guided trip. Surfside at Coombe Martin is only a short journey along the coast from us, where you can find beginner kayak sessions, as well as kayaks for hire by the hour: http://www.surfsideclothing.co.uk/kayak-hire-in-devon/
With a stunning seaside location, character rooms and great food, The Rising Sun makes the perfect base for breaks in Devon. Situated just yards from the South West Coast Path, there are a wealth of local attractions, walks and pretty towns and villages to explore within a short distance. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and special offers section for current news and great value hotel deals.
More about our blogger…
Dominic Garnett is a Devon based author and journalist. Passionate about the West Country, he has a keen interest in local history, culture, craft beer and the great outdoors. An avid fisherman, he has written several books on the subject including the Amazon Bestseller Flyfishing for Coarse Fish, while his column entitled “The Far Bank” can be read every week in the Angling Times