Regional England : The 4th D

Devon is a county in south west England that sees Cornwall to the west and Dorset and Somerset to the east. It derives its name from Dumnonia, which, during the British Iron Age and Roman Britain, was the homeland of the Dumnonii Celts.

There is evidence of occupation in the county from Stone Age times onward and during the Roman period it was a civitas. Following the Roman departure it emerged as a separate kingdom for nearly 300 years.

The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain during the 8th and 9th centuries resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the Kingdom of Wessex.
Devon was constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England thereafter, with the River Tamar forming the boundary with Cornwall as set by King Æthelstan in 936.

The economy of Devon has always been largely agriculture based, though many of the coastal towns and villages grew into tourist resorts and grew rapidly with the arrival of the railways in the 19th century.

Examples of such include Dawlish, Exmouth and Sidmouth on the south coast, and Ilfracombe and Lynmouth on the north.

Devon, archaically known as Devonshire, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south.

It is a part of South West England and is distinguished as the only county of England to have two separate coastlines; one to the north, the other to the south, both of which are peppered by lofty cliffs and sandy shores.
Devon’s bays are typically used as fisheries, ports or seaside tourist venues.

The inland terrain of Devon is broadly rural and hilly, and has a low population density in comparison to other counties of England. Dartmoor, the largest open space in southern England at 954 km2 is indicative of the Devonshire uplands, covered with wide moorland and underlying granite geology.

During the Napoleonic War a prison was built on Dartmoor to hold French and American prisoners of war and it remains in use today. Daniel Defoe published an account of a personal tour through Devon in 1724 and 1727. South Devon impressed him but be thought that north Devon was wild, barren and poor.

In the valleys and lowlands the soil is fertile, traversed by rivers such as the Exe, the Culm, the Dart and the Otter.

The city of Plymouth is a historic port now administratively independent while Exeter is  the county town, and Torbay, the tourist centre.

In the 17th Century, the City of Plymouth experienced a period of growth that led to it becoming the largest city in Devon. This was mainly due to the naval base at Devonport to the west. Later Plymouth played an important role as a naval port in both World War I and World War II with South Devon serving as both a training and assembly area for the D-Day landings.

A memorial was erected here to remember the many soldiers who were killed during one particular rehearsal off Slapton Sands.

Both Plymouth and Exeter suffered badly from bombing during the war and the centre of Exeter and vast swathes of Plymouth had to be largely rebuilt during the 1960s.

Devon has experienced great changes with the rise of the tourist industry to become the so-called English Riviera. It has become famous for its clotted cream and cider while Dartmoor and Exmoor have both become National Parks.

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