49 things to do in Devon: 29-35
29. Rock pools: With a variety of sea shores around, an excellent low tide adventure is exploring the rockpool habitats of the area. The National Trust’s Wembury Bay near Plymouth, is a famed favourite, and further back along Devon’s southern coast is Goodrington Sands, which is home to a Seashore Centre, which provides information and the occasional guided tours and trips to other rockpool hot spot, Salton Cove. The Devon Wildlife Trust also holds occasional rockpool events. Other beaches with rockpools to look out for are: St Mary’s Bay, Mansands; North Sands at Salcombe; Bigbury Beach and in the north, Combe Martin beach, near Ilfracombe.
30. Go crazy with golf: humps, mounds, windmills, water feature and bouncy balls – crazy golf is a combination of mind-numbing frustration and kooky relief rolled into one, which can sometimes be as tense as the last day of The Open. We initially set out to give a measured appraisal of each of the courses – but there are far too many for us to handle (and we were worried about the long-term effects). Instead, we’ve put together a list of where you can find some crazy golfing venues – and some have more than one course. If you can stomach a review, let us know. Let the fun commence at: Pecorama Beer, Bickleigh, Bideford, Bideford Bay, Braunton, Brixham, Chittlhamholt, Combe Martin, Cullompton, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Exmouth, Fowley Cross, Ilfracombe, Okehampton, Otterton, Paignton, Plymouth, Salcombe Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth, Teignmouth, Torquay, Woolacombe, and Woolacombe Sands
31. The mystery of Christie: Any mention of Devon wouldn’t be complete without talking about the Madame of Mystery herself, Dame Agatha Christie. Torbay dines out on being the birth-place and latterly country retreat of one of the most widely-read authors of the world. Many of her stories are set or inspired by her time in Devon, and Torbay and her National Trust home Greenway are must-visits for fans and non-fans alike. The Agatha Christie site has plenty on her life, along with interactive maps.
32. A day at the races: Devon is home to two horse racing tracks. High up in the Haldon Hils is the Exeter Racecourse, which holds 16 jump fixtures between October and May, while Newton Abbot is one of the leading summer jumping racecourses in the UK.
33. Cider, insider: Newton Abbot’s Ye Olde Cider Bar is said to be one of only four dedicated cider bars in the country, and in a sea of commercially similar venues it is an oasis of brewed apple goodness. Once famed for the refusal to serve women pints of cider, it’s a friendly watering hole which attracts and eclectic bunch of revellers from the town and beyond, and is cramed on Friday and Saturday nights. But be warned, although it sells perry and a range of draught country wines and soft drinks, it does not sell beer or spirits.
34. Shop shape: For shopping there’s a mix of the mainstream and eclectic. With Exeter famed as having one of the most generic high streets in the country, the city also boasts truly quirky and independent outlets. Plymouth, too, despite the super-mall aspiration of Plymouth’s Drake Circus (and there’s nothing wrong in that), has a treasure trove of other shops which manage to survive. And although the towns themselves have turned somewhat from market to super market towns, there is still a chance of find shopping experiences that delight as well as confuse. It’s a project that’s for another time, but we’ve been toying with the idea of mapping these independents, but haven’t got down to it quite yet.
35. Visions for the future: Dartington on the outskirts of Totnes is for some the essence of an ordered and civizilsed society. The Dartington Hall Trust was brought into existence by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst as an experiment into rural regeneration, which now focuses on art, social justice and sustainability. It is build around the 14 century Dartington estate, and early initiatives included Dartington Hall School, Dartington Tweed Mill and later Dartington Glass. The list of alumni and visitors is long, wide ranging and includes people you’d wouldn’t expect in deepest Devon – which is maybe the point. A walk around the grounds is fun and free, but you can also catch a film at The Barn, cinema or pop into the wonderful modernist High Cross House, and is connected to the shops at Dartington, the profits from which got to support the trust’s charities. Find out more about the multitude of activities and the depth of history on the Dartington site.