South Devon and Dartmoor

Local, characterful guides to Britain's special places

Book Description

This new second edition of South Devon and Dartmoor is part of Bradt's distinctive ‘Slow travel' series of guides to UK regions, offering in-depth exploration of one of England's most popular areas, a part of the country that has deep, historic ties with the USA. Written by resident experts Hilary Bradt and Janice Booth, it is the essential companion guide to discovering not just the obvious and most popular sites, but also for getting off the beaten track.

South Devon has many links with the USA. The port city of Plymouth is where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from on the Mayflower in 1620 (a wide range of events is in the pipeline to mark the 400th anniversary in 2020). The region was also the birthplace of several US-connected sons, including Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, while in more recent times it was the site of the ill-fated and little-known ‘Exercise Tiger' during World War 2, in which up to 1,000 American lives are thought to have been lost. And for family history enthusiasts, the guide's detailed descriptions of village churches are used by visiting genealogists searching for ancestors from Devon.

Colourful and witty writing, along with the authors' enthusiasm for their subject, makes reading the guide a pleasure. Much of the information has appeared in no other guidebook as the authors uncover the lesser-known charms of the region and different aspects of the more popular places, together with colourful characters from the past, folk history, and literary links from Agatha Christie to Conan Doyle. Discover the region's new whisky distillery; learn what really goes on at a wassail gathering; find out what you should do if you're harassed by pixies on Dartmoor; and discover unique local events like the annual Orange Race held in Totnes.

The guide has a special emphasis on car-free travel: walking, cycling and river boats, as well as local buses and trains. Local food is covered, while accommodation and places to eat and drink have been hand-selected with additional advice from a Devon-based tour operator, from idyllically located campsites to stylish boutique B&Bs.

About Bradt, Hilary

Hilary Bradt co-founded Bradt Travel Guides in 1974, but now lives in semi-retirement in Seaton, East Devon. After 40 years of writing guidebooks to Africa and South America, she has embraced her chosen home to the extent of insisting that such a large, varied and beautiful county deserved three Slow guides, not just one. A keen walker, she has covered many miles of the South West Coast Path and inland footpaths, as well as enjoying Dartmoor on someone else's legs – those of a horse. Most Saturdays see her taking part in one of Devon's Parkruns (5k, but she's appropriately slow) and during the summer a swim in the sea, just a few minutes away, is always a pleasure. She is a productive member of the South West Sculptors' Association and lectures regularly on travel-related topics at libraries and literary festivals, both in Devon and further afield.
Janice Booth considers Devon her 'home county' and settled here in 2001, after many decades in various other parts of Britain. As a wartime toddler she lived briefly in Colyton (East Devon), where her mother took her 'to the seaside' at Seaton via a branch of the old Southern Railway that ran where the Seaton Tramway now rattles to and fro. On family holidays she tasted her first clotted cream in Sidmouth aged eight, rode on the Burgh Island tractor aged ten, and rock-hopped along the shore near Wembury in her early teens. She's fascinated by Devon folklore, has co-written (with Hilary Bradt) Bradt's Slow Guide to East Devon & the Jurassic Coast, and – further afield – is co-author of the Bradt's Rwanda. She lives within sound of the sea in Seaton, where she runs two poetry-reading groups and enjoys exploring the area on local buses.