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Great Escape: SOUTH DEVON

Begin your trip by sampling outstanding local produce on Lyme Bay, then head west to explore the creeks and waterways of the River Dart. Follow the river to the coast for some beachcombing between Start Bay and Bigbury-on-Sea, then finish with a hike among the imposing granite tors of Dartmoor
Landcombe Cove, near Dartmouth, is only reachable by boat or via a steep descent on foot

Plan your trip

1 Feast on freshly caught fish and sup local craft beers as you explore the unique marine reserve and centuries-old fishing villages of Lyme Bay (p46).

2 Navigate the winding and picturesque River Dart to spot water birds, marvel at traditional boat-building skills and taste Devonmade wine (p48).

3 Explore the beaches, estuaries, clifftops and rockpools between Start Bay and Bigbury-on-Sea to discover nature’s abundant coastal treasures (p50).

4 The remains of sophisticated Bronze Age settlements cloak the wild uplands Dartmoor, a landscape of monolithic granite tors and a haven for rare wildlife (p52).



Devon’s main airport is at Exeter, which has year-round flights with Flybe from Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, London City, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich, plus seasonal flights from Southampton (from £74 return; From most of the south of England and Wales, it’s probably quicker to arrive by train once you factor in check-in times: the main lines from the southeast and north of England all have direct connections to Exeter, Totnes and Plymouth. The cheapest standard singles with Great Western Railway from London to Exeter start at £28.50 (, but as always booking well in advance and travelling off-peak is the best way to secure value-for-money tickets.


Devon is poorly served by buses, so having your own car is by far the most practical way to get around, especially if you’re planning on visiting out-of-the-way areas such as Dartmoor and the South Hams, the area south of the park between Plymouth and Torquay. The usual car-hire firms can be found around Exeter and Plymouth; a week’s hire starts at around £127 for an economy car ( The rail line linking Exeter and Totnes is very scenic, especially the stretch through Dawlish, where it skirts right along the coast (it’s also the bit which got washed away during storms in 2014). Branch lines also connect Exeter with Exmouth, and Newton Abbot with Torquay and Paignton. If you’re just travelling in Devon, the Devon Day Ranger is good value for £10 (£5 for children;, but probably only worth considering if you’re using one of the smaller branch lines mentioned above.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - June 2017
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