Explore Dartmoor’s Geology: Trek through the rugged landscape, visiting the weather-beaten granite tors and appreciating the area’s geological history.
Stroll down Clovelly: Wander the charming cobbled streets of this traditional fishing village, appreciating its integration with local slate and sandstone.
Visit the Cornubian Batholith: Check out Cornwall’s granite backbone and the charming mining ruins left behind by the area’s mineral wealth.
Surf at Whitsand Bay: Ride the high swells at this lesser-known surf spot, favored by locals for its lack of crowds and untouched beauty.
Ride the waves at Lynmouth: Enjoy world-class point breaks at this surf spot tucked against the wild landscape of Exmoor.
Discover Wistman’s Wood: Walk among the ancient dwarf oaks in this Dartmoor forest, enveloped in a cloak of lichens and mosses.
Visit St Nectan’s Glen: Experience tranquillity at this spiritual retreat hidden away in a Cornish valley, featuring a captivating waterfall.
Tour the Poldark Mines: Get an eerie yet fascinating look at Cornwall’s tin mining past by exploring these underground mines.
Explore the hidden tunnels of Exeter: Discover the city’s Roman past by exploring these ancient tunnels once used for water transport.
Participate in Green Tourism Initiatives: Join a beach clean-up, embark on a wildlife tour, or choose to stay in sustainable accommodations to help preserve the region’s natural beauty.
Unravelling the Untamed Beauty of Devon and Cornwall: A Journey Beyond the Ordinary
By Tim Johnson.
When you hit that stretch of the M5 – you know you’re nearly there.
Whilst I may have been sworn to secrecy about some beaches (half the fun is in discovering them, after all), here’s a bucket list of places to get you off the beaten path, well away from the annual influx of over 10 million visitors to the South West.
Rocks that Whisper Stories
Delving into the geological masterclass that is Devon and Cornwall is like stepping into a living, breathing storybook of the Earth’s history. These landscapes stretch back hundreds of millions of years, with a rich tapestry of granite, slate, and sandstone shaping their unique character.
Dartmoor, with its weather-beaten tors, is a rugged testament to the Herculean nature of granite. Dating back over 280 million years, it’s a playground for the rock curious. Meanwhile, the charming fishing village of Clovelly, its cobbled streets meandering down to the sea, showcases how humans have harmoniously integrated with the local Devonian slates and sandstones.
And who could forget the “Cornubian batholith”, the granite backbone of Cornwall? This granite intrusion, responsible for Cornwall’s distinctive ‘spine’, has also kindly given birth to the mineral wealth of the region, and subsequently, the charming mining ruins that pepper the landscape – a truly underrated historical feature.
The Call of the Waves
For surfing enthusiasts, Devon and Cornwall are hallowed ground, and the quality of the surf here is a love letter to wave riders worldwide. Fistral Beach in Newquay and Bournemouth Beach in Devon are well known, but let’s paddle away from the crowds.
The hidden gem of Whitsand Bay in Cornwall offers surfers a wilder ride. It’s an open secret among the local surfing community, known for its high swells, fewer crowds, and untouched beauty. In Devon, Lynmouth’s surfing scene, tucked against Exmoor’s wild landscape, is a surfer’s paradise, worth braving the cooler water for its world-class point breaks.
A Journey through the Hidden Pathways.
Cornwall and Devon are riddled with secret locations that often slip under the tourist radar. If you love the path less trodden, places like Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor, with its ancient dwarf oaks, is a fairy-tale setting draped in a cloak of lichens and mosses. Another secret? The diminutive St Nectan’s Glen, tucked away in a Cornish valley, is a waterfall-laced spiritual retreat.
But don’t think it’s all rambles in the countryside! The underground Poldark Mines give you an eerie but fascinating tour of Cornwall’s tin mining past. For a touch of urban intrigue, the hidden tunnels of Exeter – once used to transport water in Roman times – present an intriguing exploration.
Balancing Tourism and Tradition.
The allure of Devon and Cornwall has not faded in 2023, with the area seeing an influx of tourists. However, the age-old struggle to balance tourism and local wellbeing is ever-present. As responsible travellers, we should always strive to tread lightly, respecting local customs and the environment.
To their credit, both counties are working hard to cater to tourists while protecting their natural beauty. Green tourism is on the rise, with businesses promoting low-impact activities. Initiatives like beach cleans, wildlife tours, and sustainable accommodation options are being encouraged.
However, it’s not without its challenges – infrastructure strain, higher living costs, and changing landscapes are realities the locals grapple with. Therefore, we must remember that our love for these places means preserving them for the future.
The beauty of Devon and Cornwall lies not just in the sweeping landscapes, the surf-kissed beaches, or the historical tales etched into the stones, but also in the secrets whispered on the winds and tides. From the hidden pathways to the geological wonders and unique surf spots, it’s a testament to the magic of discovery.
As we wander and revel in these stunning regions, remember – the charm of Devon and Cornwall also rests in their tranquillity. So, let’s do our part to ensure these beautiful counties remain a haven for many years to come.
Until next time, explorers. Stay curious and tread lightly.