7 of the best things Devon has given the world

Devon is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the UK, with thousands of people flocking here every year to explore the scenery, sample the food, take in the history or even just to relax away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.

We’ve compiled a list of seven of the best things to come out of Devon.

Can you think of any more?

What would you say is the best thing Devon has given the world? Let us know in the comments below or by emailing ellie.kendall@reachplc.com .

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1. Some of the best countryside around

Take in the stunning Devon countryside
Take in the stunning Devon countryside

The huge county of Devon is home to some of the most picturesque and protected countryside in the world.

Not only will you get wonderful walks and views spanning for miles, but you’ll find nature reserves, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO World Heritage Sites – it’s no wonder the Devon countryside is some of the best places for a holiday, for people all over the world.

2. Cream Teas

Who invented the cream tea is a subject that has been disputed for centuries (between the Devonians and Cornish no doubt) but, in recent years, evidence suggests that the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam existed at Tavistock Abbey in Devon, way back in the 11th century.

Now, the real question is, do you like your cream tea the “Devon way” or the “Cornish way”?

3. The Jack Russell

The likes of Nipper, Chalky and Uggie (famous Jack Russells that we think you need to Google) are all descendants of an original stock of pups first bred in the Devon village of Swimbridge.

Local Reverend John “Jack” Russell lived here from 1833 to 1883 and was known as “The Sporting Parson” due to his love of fox hunting and dog breeding.

Legend has it that he spotted a little white terrier with dark tan spots on her eyes, ears and the tip of her tail, owned by a local milkman nearby. He bought the dog on the spot, named her “Trump” and she became the foundation of a line of fox hunting terriers that were later known as Jack Russell Terriers.

4. Gin

(Image: TripAdvisor)

Though there are a fair few gins now produced in Devon, they don’t come much more famous than that made in Plymouth.

Plymouth is home to the iconic Plymouth Gin Distillery, which opened in a former monastery in 1793 and now gives gin connoisseurs and visitors to the city the chance to tour the site and sample some freshly made Plymouth Gin.

Though, of course, gin itself wasn’t invented here, Plymouth’s is the oldest working gin distillery in England and ours is 41.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) making for a slightly less dry drink than the more common London style of gin.

Plymouth Gin was very popular in the first part of the 20th century and 23 gin based cocktail recipes which appear in The Savoy book of cocktails name Plymouth Gin specifically.

It was a tradition in the Royal Navy that all newly commissioned vessels receive a “Plymouth Gin Commissioning kit” – a wooden box containing two bottles of navy strength Plymouth gin and glassware – and Plymouth Gin is traditionally used in the historic sailor’s celebratory drink Mahogany, which comprises of gin beaten into warmed black treacle.

5. Street name literature

Westward Ho! , the seaside village near Bideford, is the only place in the UK named after a novel.

Charles Kingsley’s book was such a huge success, that entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to promote tourism in the area, by naming the town after it.

It’s also the only place name in the UK that uses an exclamation mark. There have only been two in the world, the other being Hamilton! in Ohio, USA.

Rudyard Kipling spent several years at Westward Ho! and attended college here.

6. The oldest working steam engine in the entire world

The Dartmouth Newcomen Engine was first built in 1720 by Thomas Newcomen to pump water out of coal mines. Over 2,000 Newcomen engines were installed worldwide.

To celebrate Newcomen’s 300th birthday, the original was reassembled in Newcomen’s hometown of Dartmouth.

7. Musicians

Coldplay's Chris Martin
Coldplay’s Chris Martin
(Image: PA)

Devon has born and/or raised some of the biggest stars in music over the years.

Some famous Devon musicians who have been born here, lived here or simply schooled here, include: Ben Howard, from Bantham, Coldplay’s Chris Martin from Exeter, Joss Stone and Matt Bellamy of Muse.

Devon Live – Devon News