Is Devon better than Cornwall?

Is Devon better than Cornwall?

The question surrounding whether Devon is better than Cornwall, is subjective. Both have an abundance of attractions. Cornwall has a long, inviting, craggy coastline punctuated by surf-able beaches. Devon can’t better the coastline of Cornwall but it has its moments in the shape of the extra long beaches of North Devon.

Both Devon and Cornwall are as welcoming and entertaining as each other. If you compare individual aspects then you would have to say that Cornwall has a much more extensive coastline but Devon also has some very impressive beaches.

What is there that would make Devon better than Cornwall? 

Apart from a couple of spectacularly long beaches on the North coast of Devon, most of what Devon has got going for it is inland. There is a richness of views and spectacles that are worth seeking out. 

Devon has a rich selection of ancient villages displaying thatched cottages with such character that shout out “this is Devon”.

Devon has the contrast of the North and the South coasts. After having walked the 3 and half mile long beaches at Woolacombe and Saunton Sands or if you dare, surf some of the waves, you’ll then head south to Devon’s answer to the Mediterranean.

We even dare to call it the English Riviera and with good reason. The South Devon climate is kind enough to have established palm trees. The South coast of Devon is sheltered from much of the North Atlantic blasts of heavy weather. The English Riviera refers mainly to Torbay but there are other secluded coves with sandy beaches all the way along the south coast of Devon.

Before you get to the south coast of Devon you won’t be able to avoid the spectacular countryside and all the other attractions that Devon has to offer. Most who visit Devon take the view that the countryside is better than that of Cornwall. This is probably got something to do with visits to Dartmoor.

There are visitors who come to Devon just to visit Dartmoor itself and if they take up the challenge to walk to any or even all of the the tors of Dartmoor, that will probably be all that you will manage to see of Devon in one visit. If Dartmoor is the main spot in Devon that you target, then you will probably be thinking of camping. Dartmoor seems to be the only place in England where you are allowed to “wild camp”.

There is another moor, that qualifies as being partly in Devon, and that is  Exmoor. It’s nothing as extensive as Dartmoor but if you are touring the North Devon region, it’s still worth a look. If you do find yourself on Exmoor from the Devon side, you will inevitably venture across the border from Devon, into Somerset.

Perhaps Cornwall is better than Devon. 

If you put aside, for a moment, the rugged cliffs around the coastline of Cornwall and the tucked away sandy beaches there, Cornwall has plenty more to offer. Some say that a visit to Cornwall is worthwhile just to get a genuine Cornish pasty. Then there are the cream teas which, to be fair, you can also get in Devon.

Visit Devon or Cornwall

Food plays a big part when comparing Devon and Cornwall. It’s no surprise that seafood is a major attraction all over Cornwall, with some famous chefs having set up restaurants. Cornwall has a thing about locally produced food. Apart from the seafood you will find that the meat and vegetables that turn up on your plate in Cornwall, will have been reared or grown locally.

Cornwall isn’t just about the rugged coast. There is a rich history which can be seen from the evidence that’s been left behind. There has been, and still is, a serious level of mining. You don’t need to look far to find ancient stone buildings and the mine-heads where there used to be a lot of activity.

Some of these locations were used for filming the world famous Poldark series. Cornwall has been a favourite location for other famous TV series. One of them being the Doc Martin episodes which were filmed at Port Isaac on the North coast of Cornwall.

Then there is Bodmin moor where Neolithic and Bronze age remains can be found and examples of medieval clapper bridges which are made from  local slabs of Stone. There is also a selection of stone circles. These are a typical site throughout Devon and Cornwall but more likely to be found near or on moorland.

Both Devon and Cornwall have many areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and Bodmin moor falls into this category.

Unlike Dartmoor, in Devon, wild camping is, technically, not allowed. However campers who behave impeccably by not starting any fires, leave any litter or leave any signs at all that they’ve been there, generally get away with it. This type of visitor is welcome in Cornwall.

Then, there are all the stories to do with Bodmin moor. There is the Beast of Bodmin moor which is another example of British folklore. People in Cornwall have, for decades, reported sightings of a large black cat, believed to be either a panther or a leopard. The centre of attention for most of the sightings usually involves Bodmin moor.

Experts who have investigated the possibility of such wildcats surviving in the region, have dismissed the likelihood of all these types of animal being able to maintain a viable existence in the region. 

What a lot of people don’t realise is that, with an adequate food supply, in the wilds of the open spaces that moorland offers and, indeed, countryside generally, it’s well possible for wild cats to survive. You may want to think about that, if you are thinking of doing any wild camping when you visit Cornwall.

Cornwall can boast that it has its own language. It’s described as a south-western Britannic language of Celtic origin. It became extinct towards the end of the 18th century but the people of Cornwall felt the need to revive it in the 20th century. While the traditional language of Cornwall is being cultivated for reasons of identity and heritage, you won’t need to bring a phrasebook with you, to be able to communicate with the locals in Cornwall.

Both Devon and Cornwall can boast of tidal Islands. These are small peninsulas that stick out into the sea which are joined to the mainland by beaches which become submerged when the tide comes. Devon has Burgh Island on the south coast near ‘Bigbury on Sea’.

Another tidal Island, in Cornwall, can be found near Land’s End in the area known as Mounts Bay and is specifically located near the town of Marazion. It’s known as St. Michael’s Mount and it’s joined to the mainland by a man-made causeway that’s constructed from granite.

Both of the tidal Islands can be accessible at low tide on foot or you can visit by boat when the tide is in. Alternatively, when the tide is in, there is the option of using amphibious vehicles. The vehicle used at Burgh Island in Devon, is what is known as a sea- tractor which is a raised vehicle that can drive through shallow water and carry passengers.

What do people who’ve visited Devon and Cornwall have to say?

Cornwall is better than Devon because it’s a smaller county which means that wherever you are in Cornwall, you’re never far from a beach. Devon has attractive and spectacular beaches but it’s a long way to travel from the North coast of Devon to the South.”

Find a location to stay that’s on the border of Devon and Cornwall. This way you can run to both”

If you go straight through to Cornwall without stopping in Devon, you’re going to miss out on the long beaches of North Devon and the quaint villages, buried in the countryside.”

“If you are thinking of coming to Devon, do so in the summer months because that’s when most people go through Devon to get to Cornwall which means that in the summer you get a better chance of having Devon to yourself. “

“Cornwall has a  dramatic coastline and there’s more of it than in Devon. The coastal views in Cornwall are generally better than those in Devon but Cornwall doesn’t have so many trees as Devon.”

Both Devon and Cornwall have a lot going for them. It’s almost impossible to find anything that stands out that could make Devon better than Cornwall or to make Cornwall better than Devon. What most people find is that  when they make the journey to the South West Peninsula they will find something worth visiting in both Devon and Cornwall and they generally like the fact that both are a secluded part of the British Isles that gives them the feeling of having escaped, for a while.

Image sources: The mining building | Sunset on Dartmoor | Engine house on the coast

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