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Interesting Facts about Devon

Fun Facts about Devon

If you are planning on visiting us here in North Devon, here are some fun facts about the second largest county in the country. If you are anything like us we love fun facts, you never know when you can surprise friends and family(especially useful at pub quizzes) with this strange knowledge.

  1. Pasties originated in Devon – not Cornwall. They were invented in 1509, the recipe was recently discovered in a cookbook that was found in Devon.There are several differences between a Devon Pasty and a Cornish Pasty, the fillings vary slightly and the Devon pasty has a top crimp and is oval shape, whereas the Cornish Pasty is semi-circular, and side crimped along the curved edge.It’s essential to eat a pasty outside with your hands!
  2. Devon has the only town named after a book – Westward Ho! It was named after Charles Kingsley’s novel and is also the only place with an exclamation mark as part of its name. It is worth a visit as it has a lovely beach and you can spend a few hours wandering around Northam Burrows a site of special scientific interest, it is a saltmarsh and dune landscape, adjacent to the Torridge Estuary and great for bird watchers.
  3. Elephants once called Devon home- In 1833 rare straight tusked elephant fossils were found in North Devon. They made their home 115,000 years ago and are thought to be related to the Woolly Mammoth and its present-day cousins.

  4. The last recorded witches to be executed were from Bideford, Devon. There is a plaque commemorating their executions in 1682 on the wall of Rougemont Castle in Exeter.

  5. Jack Russell dogs were bred by the Reverend Jack Russell right here in Devon.Known as the ‘SportingParson’ he wasan enthusiastic fox hunter and dog breeder.They were bred for hunting foxes and often scurried down hole across the moors flushing out their prey. Thankfully these days they are mainly enjoyed as petsby many.

  6. Devon is home to one of the most unusual houses in Britain. It has 16 sides ‘A La Ronde’ situated in Exmouth and commissioned by two spinster cousins from the Parminter Family built in 1796. It is now owned by the National Trust.
  7. Devon hosts a traditional flaming Tar Barrel race every bonfire night through the streets of Ottery St Mary. This race dates back to the 17th Century.
  8. Devon has its own flag – It’s a black and White Cross on a green background, the colours represent the hills and moors of the county.The cross is St Petroc’s Cross who is thepatron saint of the County.Surprisinglythe flag is not that old it was designed and chosen as the winner of a competition run by the BBC in 2003.

  9. Devon has more roads than anywhere else in the country. Devon County Council is responsible for more than 8,000 miles of roads. From single track roads that meander across Exmoor and Dartmoor to the busier A roads that cross the South West, the A30, the A38 and of course the M5. Take care as you drive around the tiny winding lanes and across the moors, you never know what you might come across as well as motorised traffic you will often see livestock and wild animalswandering across road – sheep, deer, and of course Exmoor Ponies.They have never read the highway code so you have to be patient with them!
  10. Devon is home to the last castle to be built in England Castle Drogo. Built for Julius Drewe and designed by Edwin Lutyens between 1919 and 1939. In contrast to its traditional design and architecture , Drewehad ‘modern’ fixtures and fittings such as electricity and plumbed water installed during the build.A very modern interpretation of a ‘castle’ and in contrast to the exterior look of the building. It is now owned by the National Trust.