28 APRIL 1939, Page 41

Travel Notes


IF there be a man who has visited Devon and returned with disappointment in his heart I have yet to hear of him. On the other hand, it is sometimes wet, even in Devon and when it is wet, the visitor needs the amusements of a town, even if when it is sunny, he would avoid a town as instinctively as he would shun a leper. Well, Devon will satisfy both these cravings, for it has four ex- cellent centres awaiting the visitor's choice. Plymouth, Torquay, Exeter and Ilfracombe. You can stay in any of these without risk; communication is good, and you can feel isolated without having to endure the fact of isolation. You will find Nature far more beautiful than you expected; the people hospitable; the food appetising. A ticket to Exeter will bring you many surprises, and all of them plea- sant. The city itself is crammed with interest for the historian and the anti- quarian; the cathedral, with its Norman towers and carved western front, holds Captain Scott's sledge flag, and the neigh- bourhood of the Close is worth careful exploration; so, too are Stepco:e Hill and Smythen Street. The famous Priory of St. Nicholas should not be missed, for it was once the principal monastery in the city. The Guildhall has a magnificent Eliza- bethan portico, and houses the Sword of Edward IV, wrapped in crepe to com- memorate the execution of Charles I. The city walls are still to be traced in Bartho- lomew Street; but almost any part of the city will bring memories of the great families of Devon, or matters of historical interest.

The River Exe will lead you into the very heart of Devon; to Tiverton, one of the most ancient of Devon towns; Bamp- ton famous for its pony fair; to Winsford with its seven bridges, and Exford, in the heart of Exmoor. Sheltered from East winds by Woodbury Hill, on the mouth of the river, is Exmouth, its hard sands popular for bathing. It is a good fishing centre and a lively seaside resort. Wood- bury Castle is worth a visit, if only for a magnificent view of South and East Devon.

From Exeter one can make a very in- teresting circular tour through Axminster to the borders of Lyme Regis, and back along the white cliffs. This route takes you through Broadclyst, burnt by the Danes in root. Axminster itself is an old and lovely town just above the junction of the Axe with the Yarty. Turning south-east to Uplyme in Devon, to Lyme Regis, in Dorset, brings one through furze-covered commons, great woods and sunny, open fields. Few visitors will pass Lyme Regis without crossing the border for a closer view of its stone pier, with its memories of Jane Austen. Exeter, however, is but one of many centres, each of which has its own beau- ties: the Valley of the Dart; Plymouth, Dartmoor, Lynton, Ilfracombe, Clovelly, Barnstaple, Torquay, all of them offering variety for every mood. If you go to Devon take your camera; you cannot bring back Devon but you can bring back pictures, and ;hey in turn will bring you back to Devon.