Sitting between the borders of Cornwall & Somerset and neatly tucked away in the South West of England lies the country’s third largest county; Devon. The picturesque ‘Cornubian Massif’ abuts both the English and the Bristol Channels, naturally creating a haven for extreme sports, and in particular; water sports.
The 2700 sq mile county of Devon is renowned for its hilly contours and large granite rocks, with some peaks reaching as high as 1500ft. With over 250 miles of coastline and several inland lakes and rivers, Devon has firmly established itself as a top UK holiday destination and excels in offering year-round water sport activities, such as Kitesurfing, Wakeboarding and the more relaxing experiences such as Sailing and Diving. Thanks to its location, the powerful Atlantic swells that surround Devon’s shores sustain a constant flow of Surfing activities, with the North of the county now a world class venue for championships, creating large and short-breaking waves.
With a population of just over 1 million people, the green haven of Devon also inhabits a catalogue of well preserved wildlife, attracting thousands of enthusiasts and bird watchers every year. In the Valleys and lower grounds the soil is soft and fertile, allowing the apple farmers to flourish and create Devon’s most famous export; cider. With many different independent brewers of the county’s favourite drink – there is a fairly lively nightlife and plenty to do at night! Reaching Devon is also not difficult, with numerous train stations and many adjoining motorways connected to the M5.
Although Devon is famous for its wonderful water sports, the seaside county also provides many other outstanding activities to make a holiday / long weekend out of.
Farm Wheldon is a holiday / sport centre for precisely that; offering Europe’s only commercial indoor Motocross facility. This unique centre has both an indoor and an outdoor track, offering all-year-round training facilities for all levels of skill, from the novice to the expert and providing all of the equipment if required. All year and every year, Farm Wheldon caters for the stag-do & corporate market using its onsite accommodation as the base for its activity weekends and excursions. If you have your own bike & license; Farm Wheldon provide many trial-riding bike tours of the local area, making use and utilising the 1000 or so ‘Green Lanes’ that Devon boasts.
If Motocross is a little too extreme, perhaps a Quad Bike experience would be more suited. Devon is divided into 2 Quad Biking niches, with the North specialising in racing tracks and obstacle courses, and the South offering woodland treks & excursions. The South offers an activity farm where you can try Archery, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Land Buggies and Quad Bike Racing. Quad Bike Racing here involves a 1.2km track, full body armour, 4 laps and 4 races to compete against fellow racers / friends for the chance to win a trophy.
An alternative to the motorised mayhem available in Devon can be found by truly appreciating the countryside and landscape, from above! There are 2 suppliers of Microlighting in Devon, with immensely popular flights across the Jurassic Coast and from North End to Lands End, which takes around 3 hours. The picturesque journey will take you across the rugged landscapes of the South Coast including Branscombe and Beer, as well as over the more Tidal influenced muddy shores of the North. These operators are open all year and sporadically fly around 70% of the days.
Due to the slow breaking waves at Saunton on the South Coast (making it one of the safest in the country); Surfing is extremely popular. The forgiving and slow breaking waves are an ideal starting place for all beginner to intermediate surfers, with 2 renowned schools operating all year round. There are hotels and restaurants along the 3 mile coast, making an ideal weekend break for keen non-experts. For the more advanced surfers; Croyde Beach is a world class venue with powerful waves and strong tides.
Scuba Diving in Devon has also become a popular experience, with many dives out to shipwrecks and reefs available through numerous operators. Sites include Rosehill; a flattened wreck at about 30m with plenty of sea-life and a large gun still attached. Other sites include Glen Strathallan; a luxury Royal yacht that sank in the 1970’s, Mewstone Ledges; a rocky reef at about 30m depth that is full of marine life and many more. PADI level 1 courses can be completed at the sites, as well as the more advanced courses including the PADI Advanced Open Water course.
Wakeboarding / Kitesurfing
As expected with the hospitable environment, other water sports also thrive in Devon. Wakeboarding and Kitesurfing are two of the biggest and most popular activities both here and in the country in general. Wakeboarding for all levels operates all year round from Shelley Road Lake, where you can also enjoy other great activities such as Ringo Rides, Water Skiing and other sailing experiences. Kite Surfing is very popular on Saunton Beach in the summer and has slight restrictions about how close to the coast it is allowed, to protect the surfers.
Many of the local sailing providers offer multi-activity days, with sailing just one of the many specialised experiences that have been afforded by the landscape and environment. Whilst Power Boating continues to be a popular choice, particularly from Salcombe, the holiday makers favourite of Sailing remains the most popular choice largely due to the beautiful scenery anywhere around the coast line. One supplier provides training and accommodation on a permanently moored Mersey Ferry boat in Salcombe, offering long weekend and holiday breaks. Other renowned Sailing providers are dotted around the coast, in Beer and amongst others along the Jurassic coastline.
Devon is naturally one of the most beautiful counties in the UK and is a living haven of activities in the summer months. With numerous water sport providers specialising in making the best use of their surroundings; Devon has developed into an ideal holiday resort for long weekends and for practicing adventure activities.
Check out the other great experiences in Devon, including:
Hot Air Ballooning
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