Information on Devon and Cornwall starts here. This first part of our Information page on Devon and Cornwall is provided courtesy of Wikipedia.com. The Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia is a vast source of information on almost everything you can think of - a great resource whether you are researching a holiday or helping the kids with their homework.
For our own introduction to Devon and Cornwall, scroll down.
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The BBC's Devon homepage and Cornwall homepage are probably the best sources of continually updated information on Devon and Cornwall. Local news, weather, travel information and features on Devon and Cornwall.
Introduction to Cornwall
Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow or occasionally Curnow) is a county of England. It is that part of Great Britain's south-west peninsula lying west of the River Tamar, often known as the Cornish peninsula or plateau. The region has quite a distinctive culture and identity and there is a movement within Cornwall calling for greater self-rule. Some Cornish residents consider Cornwall to be a Celtic home nation of the UK, although it does not currently have this status. The revival of the Cornish language in the 20th century has boosted Cornish cultural identity, and although currently less than 0.1% of the population speak it fluently, it is taught in many schools and used in religious and civic ceremonies.
Cornwall's county town and only city is Truro, situated at 50°15'48? N 5°03'04? W. The county covers an area of 1,376 square miles (3,563 km˛), and includes the Isles of Scilly, 28 miles offshore. Cornwall has a relatively low population at 513,527, and population density at 144 people per square kilometre.
The GDP is 62% of the national average. Cornwall is one of four UK regions that qualifies for poverty-related grants from the EU (European Social Fund). Today, the Cornish economy depends heavily on its successful tourist industry, which makes up around a quarter of the Cornish economy. In particular, Newquay is a popular destination for surfers. In recent years, the Eden Project has been a major financial success.
Other industries are fishing, although this has been significantly damaged by EU fishing policies, and agriculture, which has also declined significantly. Mining of tin and copper was also an industry, but today no longer exists, and several defunct mines have applied for status as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Cornwall's population is 513,527, and population density 144 people per square kilometre, ranking the county 40th and 41st respectively compared to the other 47 counties of England. Cornwall has a relatively high level of population growth, however, at 11.2% in the 1980s and 5.3% in the 1990s, giving it the fifth highest population growth of the English counties. The natural change has been a small population decline, and the population increase is due to immigration into the county.
Cornwall's Physical Geography
Cornwall, being exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean, is composed entirely of resistant rocks, as less resistant rocks have been eroded away. The centre of the county is largely Devonian sandstone and slate. The north east of the county lies on Carboniferous sandstone. Cornwall is particularly known for its igneous outcrops, which include the granite of Bodmin Moor and the areas around Camborne and Land's End, and the dark green serpentine of the Lizard Peninsula. The granite forms high treeless moors on which sheep graze, and the characteristic Cornish cliffs.
Cornwall is the southernmost county of the British Isles, and therefore has a relatively warm and sunny climate. However, being unprotected from the Atlantic it also has more extreme weather. The average annual temperature for most of the county is 10.2 to 12 degrees Celsius, with slightly lower temperatures on the moors. The county has relatively high rainfall, though less than more northern areas of the west coast, at 1051 to 1290 mm per year. Most of the county enjoys over 1541 hours of sunshine per year.
Introduction to Devon
Devon is a county in South West England, bordering on Cornwall to the west, Dorset and Somerset to the east. The name Devonshire was once common but is now rarely used, although it does feature in some names and titles (such as the Duke of Devonshire), and is still to be seen on signposts in the county.
Like its neighbouring county to the west, Cornwall, Devon is relatively disadvantaged economically (as compared to other parts of southern England) because of the decline of many traditional industries such as fishing, mining and farming. Most of Devon has qualified for the European Community Objective 2 status. The epidemic of Foot and Mouth (Hoof and Mouth) disease in 2001 harmed much of the farming community severely and had knock-on effects on the rest of the county. The attractive lifestyle of the area is drawing in many new industries which are not heavily dependent upon geographical location; Dartmoor, for instance, has recently seen a significant rise in the percentage of its inhabitants involved in the financial services sector. Devon is one of the rural counties, with the advantages and problems characteristic of these.
Devon's Physical Geography
The Dartmoor National Park lies wholly in Devon, and the Exmoor National Park partly so (the remainder is in Somerset). In addition Devon is the only county in England to have two completely separate coastlines. Both the North and South coasts offer dramatic views: much of both coastlines is named as Heritage Coast, and the South West Coast Path runs along the entire length of the both. The inland of the county has much attractive rolling rural scenery, and villages with thatched Cob cottages. All these features make Devon a popular holiday destination for many Britons. The variety of scenery and habitats means that there is an exceptional range of Dartmoor wildlife. A popular challenge among birders is to find over 100 species in the county in a day.
The landscape of the south coast consists of rolling hills dotted with small towns, such as Dartmouth, Salcombe, Totnes etc. The towns of Torquay and Paignton are the principal seaside resorts on the south coast. The north of the county is very rural with few major towns except Barnstaple, Great Torrington and Bideford.
What we think of Devon
Most people have their own vision of Devon. Perhaps it's the fine, rolling countryside which captures your imagination. Or the pretty villages with thatched "chocolate box" cottages. Or traditional seaside holiday haunts including Torquay, Exmouth and Ilfracombe.
Devon has all this, and much more besides. The county is great for summer holidays and short breaks, but for many the best time to visit is winter. In the quieter winter months, the vast open moorlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor are an obvious attraction, particularly for those with a passion for walking, fishing, or just enjoying fine country pubs, real ales and warming log fires.
Devon has all this, and much more besides. The county is great for summer holidays and short breaks, but for many the best time to visit is winter. In the quieter winter months, the vast open moorlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor are an obvious attraction, particularly for those with a passion for walking, fishing, or just enjoying fine country pubs, real ales and warming log fires. For those nomadic souls looking for a new home, Devon has definite potential, especially for those who marvel at scenic views and outdoor attractions. There are also insurance companies like Aviva to attend to your insurance needs.
Devon's cities - Plymouth and Exeter - are also well worth a visit for shopping and sightseeing.
Visit Devon for a day by all means - but do consider a longer stay so that you can really immerse yourself in Devon. Top-quality hotels, holiday parks with all the facilities, and family-friendly farmhouse bed and breakfasts offer something for everyone.
Another accommodation alternative is timeshare rental – available throughout Devon and Cornwall, you will find spacious accommodation for your next holiday. Whether you have a taste for luxury or prefer casual rooms in the countryside, there is a timeshare for rent that's perfect for you and your travelling companions.
What we think of Cornwall
Until quite recently, Cornwall was seen as very much a traditional family holiday destination. In many ways, it still is. Good value accommodation, including holiday centres, caravan parks, cottages and family hotels are still here in abundance, coupled with a range of simple pleasures including fine sandy beaches, pretty coastal villages and family-friendly tourist attractions.
However, contemporary Cornwall now has even more to offer. Traditional hotels have reinvented themselves as chic resorts or luxury hideaways. And destinations such as Newquay now fully exploit the potential of traditional sports such as surfing coupled with the latest "extreme sports" from kite surfing to sand-buggying and everything else imaginable in, on, or near the water.
When you first cross the Tamar Bridge which separates Cornwall from neighbouring Devon, you are entering a fabulous holiday and short break destination which literally has something for everyone. Family holidays, romantic weekend escapes and exhilarating beach-based sporting breaks are just a few options. Coastal walks (from a gentle stroll to a full coastal circuit) are an obvious attraction.
The advent of low-cost flights to Newquay Cornwall Airport has opened up Cornwall to a new generation of holidaymakers for whom, until recently, Cornwall has been just too far away.
Useful links to even more information on Devon and Cornwall
We have hand-picked a collection of website links which we hope you will find useful. Visit our Simply Devon and Cornwalllinks page.
Simply Devon and Cornwall. Hotels in Devon. Hotels in Cornwall. Devon information. Cornwall information. Devon days out. Cornwall days out. Devon webcams. Cornwall webcams. Eating out in Devon. Eating out in Cornwall. Devon holidays. Cornwall holidays. Simply Devon and Cornwall.
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