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A Baker’s Dozen of amazing Devon Facts
Contrary to popular belief (and logical naming conventions) Devon invented the “Cornish Pasty”, and not Cornwall. The recipe dates back some 500 years.
Devon has the country's only 16-sided house – a shape also known as a hexadecagon. This unique dwelling is located in A La Ronde and sports some unusual decorative features including a feather frieze (with feathers plucked from local game birds and chickens) and a shell-encrusted gallery, said to contain more than 20,000 shells!
Devon is home to the UK's oldest humans – and you thought it was Eastbourne! Actually we’re talking long dead humans - a very, very, very, very old fragment of jaw bone was discovered in Kent's Cavern in Torquay in 1927 and carbon-dating suggests it dates from 200BC and is Homo Sapiens - making it the oldest modern human remains found in all of North West Europe.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ancient Elephant bones have also been discovered in Devon. During February 1844, some rare straight-tusked elephant fossils were discovered in Barnstaple. It is believed that these elephants once roamed the plains of Europe but became extinct in the UK around 115,000 years ago. Some tusk/bone fragments remain on show at Barnstaple Museum, while whole teeth were taken to the Natural History Museum in “that there London”.
We’re prone to using excitable punctuation in our blogs, but did you know Westward Ho! in Devon is the country's only place name with an exclamation mark? The village near Bideford was named after the Charles Kingsley novel, meaning it is also the only place named after a work of fiction. Also worth a mention is the ‘Royal North Devon Gold Club’ in the same area – founded in 1864 it’s the oldest golf course in England - a bonus fact there for sporting fans!
Sticking with the literary note, Devon is the location of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes’ spooky yarn ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’. The misty moorland of Dartmoor was the setting where Sherlock battled a giant doggy. We were hoping this would give us an excuse to show a picture of dreamy Benedict Cumberland, but since we couldn’t get permission here’s a generic (but admittedly beautiful) pic of Dartmoor instead.
Some famous people who come from Devon include:
- Chris Martin (from Coldplay fame)
- Agatha Christie
- Sir Francis Drake
- Miranda Hart
- Sharron Davies
- Sue Barker
- Tom Daley
- Wayne Sleep
- Sir Walter Raleigh (Raleigh? Yes, Raleigh)
- Joss Stone
Photo Credit: University of Exeter
The University of Exeter has had some pretty notable Alumni too including J.K. Rowling, Will Young, Thom Yorke from RadioHead, Zara Philips and comedian Rhod Gilbert.
Watched amazing TV drama series “Chernobyl”? Devon is one of the most radioactive parts of the UK - but fear not, the high levels of radon are partially responsible for its stunning hilly landscape. (And are unlikely to make your face melt off).
The Met Office moved its headquarters to Exeter in September 2003, from Berkshire. Not sure if this is for scientific reasons or just because they prefer looking out over the wonderful Devon landscape.
St Nicholas’ Chapel is (allegedly) the UK’s oldest working lighthouse. Built in 1361, the building and its beacon have stood for over 650 years. Cheers to the lighthouse!
Photo Credit: Dietmar Rabich
The Four Faced Liar.
The Albert clock tower on The Square in Barnstaple is also known as the “four faced liar” – its four different clock faces never read the same time. The cynic in you might ascribe similar characteristics to certain politicians.
Splashdown QuayWest in Paignton is the UK’s largest outdoor waterpark. And it’s a great place to visit with the family, especially with our attraction discount for holiday bookers.
Learnt something interesting? Why not visit the Devon area for yourself? You won’t be disappointed.
Six of Devon's best holiday parks with great facilities and entertainment. Discover the delights of Devon's spectacular scenery and awesome coastline, with lots of places to visit for days out.
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