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Rolling green hills in Devon

Known across the world for its incredible beaches, spectacular rural scenery, superb towns and cities and for the Jurassic Coast, which is a designated site of International Importance for Earth Science, Devon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

At Lyme Bay holidays, we welcome thousands of guests every single year to our Devon holiday cottages, and through helping those guests, we’ve come to learn a thing or two about the beautiful, historic county we call home.

However, there are some things even we didn’t know about until we went digging. These fun facts reveal new sides to Devon’s history, so, what are they? Join us as we share them below!

1 – Devon Invented the Cornish Pasty – Believe it or not, but the county which gives its name to the famous savoury pastry treat isn’t actually its point of origin. As a matter of fact, the pasty was invented here in 1509, a recent discovery of a 1509 cookbook has found. So, who’s up for naming it the Devon Pasty?

2- Devon Has the Only Town Named After a Book – We love our books in Devon, so is it any surprise we have the only town named after a book? Westward Ho! was named for Charles Kingsley’s novel and is also the only place with an exclamation mark in its name. Two firsts in one town, who’d have thought it?

3- Elephants Once Called Devon Home – When you think of elephants, Devon might not be the first location which springs to mind. Nonetheless, in 1833 rare straight-tusked elephant fossils were discovered in North Devon, having roamed the area before their extinction in the UK 115,000 years ago.

4- Devon Was the Last Place to Execute Witches – It’s a shameful fact, but Devon played host to the last ‘witch’ executions in the country. The practice had faded by the late 1600s and ended with executions in Exeter of Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards and Mary Trembles in 1682 and Alice Molland in 1685.

5- Jack Russell’s Were First Bread in Devon – One of the nation’s favourite dog breeds didn’t come out of thin air – it was bred by the Reverend Jack Russell. Born in Dartmouth, he attended school in Plympton. His dog Trump had stumpy legs, big ears and had a talent for digging, so he bred those characteristics in. So, next time you look at your beloved Jack Russell, think of the original man and thank Devon!

6- Devon is Home to the Only 16-Sided House – Think 4 sides is impressive for a home? Well, A La Ronde in Exmouth has a little something to say about that. Commissioned by two spinster cousins from the wealthy Parminter family, the home is an architectural marvel that reflects their eccentricity and interests perfectly. Not only does it still stand, but it’s in terrific condition and is a popular tourist destination managed by the National Trust.

Want to discover Devon’s other secrets? Well, there’s no better way than to head down for a Devonshire getaway!