A new home in Devon
Devon is an ideal location for anyone looking for a new home in the South West of England. It is a picturesque county with areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and miles of stunning coastline to North and South.
Famous for its cream teas and quaint seaside resorts, Devon is the perfect county for active families looking for a new home.
Parts of the Devon coastline are known as ‘the English Riviera’ and feature a series of picturesque harbour towns including Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.
Bordered by Cornwall to the South West and Somerset to the East, Devon is an historic county with a deep-rooted naval tradition. The city of Plymouth is an important centre for the Royal Navy with its base at HMNB Devonport.
The ‘county town’ is the city of Exeter but away from the big urban centres Devon also has a host of market towns including Tavistock, Crediton, Barnstaple and Ivybridge.
And there is a wide range of ‘residents’ – alongside the human population, wildlife abounds in Devon. The Isle of Lundy off Devon’s north coast is internationally renowned for its colony of puffins.
House prices in Devon
New homes in Devon cover a range of price points which will suit most budgets. The average house price is lower than for the South West region taken as a whole, which is in turn lower than the average house price for England.
House prices vary in Devon from town to town. While bargains are to be found in towns like Bideford, Exeter, Paignton and Tiverton the more picturesque towns and villages command higher prices. These include Chagford, Croyde, Salcombe, Topsham and Woolacombe.
Things to do and see in Devon
With its wealth of seaside resorts Devon is a tourist destination par excellence and as a resident you will therefore never be short of things to do. It’s a delightful place to set up a new home.
For water sports enthusiasts Devon is an unparalleled paradise. Learn to surf on Croyde beach or go sailing from one of the many harbour towns.
Music lovers can enjoy one of the many family-friendly festivals that take place in the county during the summer including Chagstock, the Sidmouth Folk Festival, Gold Coast Ocean Fest, Beautiful Days and the River Cottage Festival to name just a few. Ottery St Mary also holds the famous flaming Tar Barrels event every November.
Sports fans are well catered for. Sport in Devon includes premier Rugby played at Exeter and league football played in Exeter and Plymouth. There are horse racing courses at Exeter and Newton Abbott.
For those who love the outdoors, Devon is ideal for all kinds of activities including walking, cycling and horse riding. Dartmoor National Park offers wild, open moorlands and deep river valleys, rich in history and rare wildlife. From granite tors to ancient woodland and picturesque views, wild Dartmoor ponies, standing stones and prehistoric remains, Dartmoor offers spectacular scenery and days out for all. Exmoor with its peat moors is Lorna Doone country.
The South Devon coast has destinations such as Bigbury-on-Sea, Challaborough and the historic Burgh Island. The stylish South Hams towns of Kingsbridge and Salcombe are waiting to be explored.
There all manner of historic places to enjoy in the county including Buckfast Abbey, Cadbury Castle, Dartmouth and Okehampton Castles, Buckland Abbey, Axminster Heritage Centre, Salcombe Maritime Museum and many picturesque towns and villages.
Transport in Devon
Devon has an excellent public transport network.
Regular bus services run between the major towns and villages in rural Devon. Exeter is on the Great Western Railway and has three stations, Central, St James’ Park and St Thomas. Regular train services run south via Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and connect the major resorts along the English Riviera and via Ivybridge to Plymouth and into Cornwall. There are eastbound services via Taunton and Reading to London Paddington and via Salisbury to London Waterloo.
The county has an airport in Exeter, which is the base for Flybe, which has regular flights to many other UK airports.
The M5 from Bristol runs through Devon and terminates in Exeter. The main road through the spine of Devon is the A30 express way, which takes the bulk of traffic into Cornwall. Trunk roads serving South Devon are the A38 and A380. The North Devon coast is navigated via the A39. Running roughly north/south the county is traversed by the A377, A386 and A361 which together form the county’s network of major roads.
Education in Devon
All major settlements in Devon have access to a primary school. There is a wide range of state-funded non-selective secondary schools in Devon in most of the major towns including Bideford, Collumpton, Dartmouth, Exeter, Honiton, Ivybridge and Okehampton.
There is a grammar school in Colyton. Most schools in the independent sector are in Exeter but there are schools in other locations such as Dartington and Newton Abbot.
Further and tertiary education are provided by colleges such as Exeter College and Oakwood Court College in Dawlish.
There are three universities in Devon, the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and university Centre South Devon which has campus locations in Paignton, Newton Abbott and Torquay.
Health services and amenities in Devon
Devon is a healthy county to live in. Male and female adult life expectancy, and deaths from smoking, heart disease and cancer are all better than the national average according to government figures.
Health care is overseen by the Northern Eastern and Western Devon and the South Devon and Torbay Care Commissioning Groups, which are set to merge.
There is a range of hospital care available in Exeter, Barnstaple, Newton Abbott, Torquay and Plymouth. There are also hospitals located in Axminister, Brixham, Crediton, Honiton, Okehampton, Teignmouth, Totnes and Sidmouth. The main hospital providers in the county are University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.
There are 165 GP practices in Devon and mental health is looked after by Devon Partnership NHS Trust.
A brief history of Devon
Devon has been inhabited by humans since prehistory, at least since 6,000 bce.
The county gets its name from the Dumnonii tribe, a Celtic people who were fiercely independent, even after the Roman invasion.
During the Anglo-Saxon period Devon, and Cornwall, formed the kingdom of Dumnonia. Exeter was an important key to the South West of England from the Norman period right through to the English Civil War and was an important base for the Elizabethan mariners Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh.
Plymouth, the largest city in Devon, played an important role as a naval port in both World War I and World War II. South Devon was a training and assembly area during World War II for the D-Day landings, most famously at Slapton Sands. Both Plymouth and Exeter suffered badly from bombing during the war and the centre of Exeter and large areas of Plymouth had to be largely rebuilt during the 1960s.
A population mainly employed in agriculture declined in the 19th century but has subsequently increased due to the favourable climate and the arrival of the railways.
Changes to the county have been wrought by the rise of the tourist industry on the so-called English Riviera, a decline of farming and fishing, urbanisation, and also proliferation of holiday homes in the county.
Current housing developments in Devon