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Hemyock Castle
Ancient Heart of the Blackdowns

Spring and Autumn: Off-season Attractions

Devon and the West Country are well known as popular Summer holiday destinations. However, for a quieter holiday outside the main season, Devon has much to offer, including:

Special Beach Sports

The wide variety of cultural, entertainment and sports facilities within easy travelling distance include popular surfing beaches. When the Summer crowds have gone, there is more room for sports such as kite surfing. Local firms can supply all special equipment and training.

Spring Flowers and Autumn Tints

Devon's mild climate and traditional farming practices have led to a profusion of wild flowers and trees in the country lanes, fields, and woodlands of the Black Down Hills. The Spring Flowers are especially attractive. The Blackdowns have inspired generations of artists and writers.

Photo of Grimspound in Winter
Grimspound, Dartmoor in Winter
(Haunt of the Hound of the Baskervilles)

In Autumn, often during an "Indian Summer", the countryside becomes an endless range of greens and browns – each variety of tree and bush adopting a different hue.

Photo of Exmoor Deer in Winter
Exmoor, Wild Deer in Winter

Illuminated Autumn Carnivals

Each Autumn, between September and November, towns in Devon and Somerset host spectacular cycles of carnivals. The Bridgwater Carnival early in November, is reputedly the largest illuminated carnival in the world. The Somerset Carnival website provides a list of events throughout the UK.

Originally probably based on celebrations after the Harvest, these West Country carnivals now contain an extraordinary variety of decorated floats and dancers, ranging from individual efforts to huge articulated illuminated floats taking months to build and costing thousands of pounds. It is hard to believe that hidden somewhere under these lavish decorations are the basic compulsory building blocks: Humble farm tractors and trailers! Carnivals are highly competitive with prizes awarded in several classes.

Major carnivals can take three hours to snake slowly through the towns, collecting for local charities. The streets are packed with friendly local people.

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Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
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