With further lockdown measures coming into force in certain areas of the UK, now is a brilliant time to embrace your environment, nature and all it has to offer here in the South West.
Devon is such a beautiful county, with picturesque rolling countryside, a stunning coastline and spectacular attractions to explore. Below we have listed just some of the most wonderful places to visit, that are sure to lift your spirits in these difficult times, compiled by Devon Life’s Susie Kearley.
With it’s sweeping hills and valleys, rivers and streams, glorious landscapes, tors, and ancient prehistoric settlements, Dartmoor is by far one of the most fascinating and beautiful parts of Devon. In the autumn, it’s particularly stunning, with golden leaves making patterns on the forest floor. Within the Dartmoor landscape you’ll find Castle Drogo, Lydford Gorge, Dartmeet, Postbridge, babbling brooks and fabulous walks. Soak up the beauty of the countryside, visit the villages and enjoy the scenery. Getting outdoors will work wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing over the next few months!
The Garden House, Tavistock
Set in a glorious valley, The Garden House has inspired many green-fingered visitors with its ten acres of beautifully kept outdoor ‘rooms’. Visit the Walled Garden set against the ruins of a medieval vicarage, the Dutch Summer Garden, the Spring Garden, the Acer Glade, the Wildflower and Bulb Meadows, the Cottage Garden and the two-acre arboretum. There are over 6,000 plant varieties to admire, exotic planting schemes, a beautiful lake and pretty bridges. It’s a great place to soak up the autumn scenery with a picnic in the sunshine.
Photo: Britain’s Finest
The Tarr Steps, Exmoor
A great location for autumn colours, with deciduous trees in the wooded valley creating a mosaic of striking hues. Watersmeet in Lynmouth is where the East Lyn River meets Hoar Oak Water. Trees tower over the valley, creating an enchanting area of unspoilt woodlands and waters. Walk along the riverside to immerse yourself in the spectacular autumn colours, and set amongst the trees you’ll find Watersmeet’s café, shop, a small cave and a stunning waterfall.
Knightshayes Court, Tiverton
Offering glorious autumnal gardens, full of unusual trees and exotic plants, this is a fantastic place to get lost in this Autumn. Over 1,200 plant species adorn the estate, many bursting with vibrant colour. Follow paths through the woodlands and parkland, looking for interesting fungi, autumn berries and wildlife. Knighthayes’ four-acre kitchen garden is ripe for harvesting in the autumn – you can sample the produce in the Stables Café.
A La Ronde, Lympstone, Exmouth
A quirky 18th-century hexadecagonal home with 16 sides. It once belonged to two eccentric sisters who collected arts and treasures from around Europe. It’s full of antiques and curiosities, including witch balls, a shell gallery, and feather freezes on the walls. The sisters opened it to the public, to help them pay their bills. Outside, the gardens and meadow come alive with autumn colours, and much of the floral garden is still in bloom in September.
Killerton House, Broadclyst
One of the National Trust’s largest estates, with a farm, glorious parkland, and an Iron Age hill fort with views across the Exe Valley. The estate turns a warm shade of rustic red, golden brown, and yellow in the autumn…
We would recommend getting in touch with these attractions (where possible), to check whether they are open before you travel!