LEAFY Devon is the beauty of the western counties. It
has a blue sea margin north and south, bordered with
cliffs, which on the south coast are often of pink and
grey marble. Trees fringe the coast almost to the
water's edge, and the very cliffs are hung with
Much of central Devon is breezy moorland, bleak and
barren enough; and there is another stretch of moor
towards the north; but spurs from these high moors
reach the coast, both north and south, and between
these spurs are deep, shadowy combes, the valleys of
the sparkling moorland streams.
The villages nestle in these combes; and very pretty a
Devon village is, with its narrow, steep lanes,
bordered by high hedges, and its snug-looking
cottages, with thatched roofs and rosy walls of cob.
Cob is made of the reddish mud of the district mixed
with pebbles or straw. The villages often lie among
great orchards of apple trees, and myrtle grows freely
about the cottage doors.
Pleasant as the whole county is, the very garden of
Devon is the South Hams, the district south of
Dartmoor, and between the Tamar and the Teign,
This is the cider country, with orchards of apple trees
like forest trees for size. Cider making is the great
business of the autumn in the South Hams. The gathered
apples are allowed to lie for two or
 three weeks exposed to the air; then, when they have
begun to rot, they are ground in a mill; the broken
apples, or cheese as it is called, is placed under a
press, and the juice is drawn out. After one or two
more processes this juice is put in casks, and is ready
for use. Cider is the general drink in Devon.
Though so unlike Cornwall in many ways, Devon is built
on the same kind of rocky framework. The central moors
are of granite, and, like those of Cornwall, contain
copper arid tin ore, the mines and stream works being
managed in much the same way.
Though "clouted cream" is made in both counties,
Devonshire has the greatest name for this delicacy; it
is delicious cream (thick and solid enough to be cut
with a knife), which is made by scalding the milk over
a wood fire.
Junkets are another Devonshire dainty, made of cream
and spice and all things nice, but how, only Devon folk
THE combes along the north coast lie between the spurs
of Exmoor, which come down to the water's edge.
Exmoor itself is a tract of moorland rising everywhere
into dark hills, of which Dunkerry Beacon (1668 feet)
is the highest. The two Lyns, East and West, are
mountain torrents, which, when they leave Exmoor, come
tumbling along over stones, the one through a
thickly-wooded combe, the other between bare, stony
hills, till they flow into the sea by one
 mouth. Here stands the beautiful little village of
Lynmouth, shut in among the cliffs. A steep road leads
from Lynmouth to Lynton, which looks out over the
Combe Martin is a long village, also lying in a valley.
It is famous for its two silver-lead mines, which did
England good service in the reigns of both Edward III.
and Henry V., for they helped to bear the cost of the
Hundred Years' War with France. The levels of these
mines run underneath the village.
Ilfracombe, a watering-place, and Barnstaple, which has
lace mills, and Bideford, which is built on a hillside
and overlooks the Torridge, are all pleasant North
Devon towns. Near Bideford is Clovelly, a fishing
village, which seems to hang in the air. It is built on
a hill-side so steep that the only way up is by a
zigzag pavement, which ends towards the top in a flight
Lundy Island, about eighteen miles off, may be seen
from Clovelly—a granite island, bordered by granite
DARTMOOR is a great granite tableland, which measures
twenty miles each way; a waste, where there is no sound
of living thing, bird or beast, but an awful
stillness, broken only by the roaring of the winds and
the torrents. No habitation is within sight for many
miles; everywhere are billowy hills, and dark glens,
where not even furze will grow. Heather, reeds and
moss, and whortleberries are the moor plants.
 There is a large morass in the centre of the moor,
which will not bear the lightest footed creature, and
here rise many of the streams which rush as brawling
torrents across the moor, and then descend through the
beautiful combes of South Devon. The Dart, Teign, Tavy,
and the Taw all get their pure azure waters from this
morass; azure except after heavy rains, when the
torrents are red with the peat they have torn up. And
this is not seldom; for north wind, south wind, east
wind, west, every wind that blowsj seems to bring rain
to Dartmoor. When there is* not rain, a thick sea-mist
often wraps the moor for a week together. The
prospect, when it is to be had, is very fine—the wide
stretch of hilly waste, the faint tints of the hills,
and their delicate shadows.
The Tors, great granite rocks crowning the hills, of
all strange shapes, like castles, or giants, or huge
beasts, are the most remarkable things on the moor.
They all have names of their own, and give their names
to the hills they crown. Yes Tor (2050 feet) is the
highest; a good deal higher than the Cornish Brown
Willy, than which, indeed, nineteen of the Dartmoor
Tors are higher.
Cawsand Beacon and the Great Lynx, with its Tor like a
ruined castle, and many others are visible from Yes
Tor, which is itself a desolate hill, with streams of
loose granite down its sides.
Fur Tor, Hound Tor, Rough Tor, Brent Tor, and Hare Tor
are among the chief heights. Sheeps Tor, which is full
of caverns and hollows and queer hiding-places, is the
favourite haunt of the small folk of Devon, the Pixies,
invisible to mortal eyes. Indeed, it is said that the
Pixy king himself holds court among these dark hollows.
 Perhaps you have never heard of the Pixies, but if you
were Devon born you would know well enough about the
small green people who sport in the dark levels of the
mines. Many a traveller, so the country people tell,
has been Pixy-led far out of his way under cover of the
mist, to be lost at last in a morass. These Pixy fables
are amusing, though we know they are not true.
There is a large prison on the moor, where more than a
thousand convicts are confined; they are made to
cultivate the moor about the prison walls.
The mines lie chiefly between Dartmoor and the Tamar,
that is, in the Tavy Valley, and about the well-to-do
town of Tavistock, where Sir Francis Drake was born.
Copper, tin, lead, and other metals are found in this
district. The two great copper mines, Devon Great
Consols and Huel (Cornish for mine) Friendship, are
among the richest in the world. The country about these
is dark with smoke, and bristles with engine chimneys
rising from among the huts of the miners.
PLYMOUTH AND THE EDDYSTONE
PLYMOUTH, Stonehouse, and Devonport, all on the
Plymouth Sound, are in fact one great town. Plymouth
is the city, the trading place, full of shops and the
stir of business; Devonport, built on higher ground, is
the fashionable West End; and Stonehouse is filled with
hospitals and manufactories. Plymouth
 is supplied with water from Dartmoor, by a leet, or
artificial channel. Sir Francis Drake had this leet
brought into the town, and when the work was finished,
people, Mayor and Corporation, went out to meet the
stream, and followed it through the town with music and
the firing of cannons.
In Stonehouse are the Naval Hospital and the
Victualling Yard for the ships. The last is an
enormous place, with a beef-house where there are
always many thousands of pieces of salt beef in store;
there are stores for vegetables, for books, for
clothes, for bedding, and a long wing of the building
for corn and baking. Within the bakehouse all the work
is done by an invisible giant, a mighty fellow, who
does the work of a thousand bakers at once; grinds the
corn, kneads the dough, spreads it ready for biscuits,
cuts it up, and has a sack of flour ready for the oven
in two minutes. Steam is this rapid workman, who is
employed in all the stores.
The great show in Devonport is the Dockyard. In the
Building Slips ships are to be seen at every stage,
from the skeleton frame to the finished vessel. Near by
are kilns where planks for the ships are steam-boiled
to give them the proper curve. Then there is the
blacksmiths' shop with its forty-eight forges, always
filled with smoke and with a terrible din; in it too is
Nasmyth's great hammer, heavy enough to pound a house
down, yet so delicately managed that it can crack a nut
without crushing the kernel. These are only a few of
the things to be seen in the Dockyard, which is open to
The Sound is a great station for our ships of war; but
the southerly winds made it unsafe until Mr. Bennie, a
famous engineer, invented a way to keep
 the breakers outside of the harbour. He found that the
action of the water had itself raised shoals of sand to
a height little short of the top across the mouth of
the Sound, and he thought that if rubble—rough blocks
of stone some tons in weight as well as smaller
stones—were cast into the sea, the waves would arrange
it in the best shape to keep out the breakers. His plan
was adopted; many men were employed in quarrying, and
many vessels in carrying the stone and casting it into
The Breakwater has answered perfectly; the waves coming
in and going out fixed the stones at the proper slope,
and now, however stormy the outside sea is, the waters
within the Sound are always calm.
A terrible danger to home-bound ships was the
Eddystone, a narrow rook about fourteen miles from
Plymouth, which is daily covered by the tide. A Mr.
Winstanley, a brave gentleman of Essex, raised a
lighthouse here to warn the ships of the hidden danger.
It was a most difficult undertaking, for as fast as the
foundations were laid at low tide, high water washed
The work was finished with much toil, but it had not
stood more than a couple of years when lighthouse and
architect were engulfed during a great storm (1703).
In 1757 Smeaton planned the present lighthouse. It is
said he looked about for a model of perfect strength,
for some natural form which stood firm in the most
furious gales, and he fixed upon the trunk of an oak,
with its curve inward, and then its slight outward
swell towards the top.
The building is of granite; the foundations, of
marvellous strength, solid blocks of granite
dove-  tailed and clamped with irons to the rocks below and to
It has stood for more than one hundred years, sending
its light out a distance of fourteen miles; and the
event has proved that the foundations were firmer than
the very rock they were raised on* The sea has beaten
against the rock beneath the building until it is
nearly worn away; the old lighthouse must come down,
and a new one is being built at a stronger point.
THE DART AND TORBAY
THE Dart, with its rapid course and sudden bends,
deserves its name (which, however, is derived from the
Celtic word Dwr, which means river); these sharp turns
make it look like a chain of lakes, for bit after bit
of the river seems to be shut in by land. It begins on
the moor, flows, a mountain torrent, through rocky
defiles, through the ancient oak forest of Holne Chase,
past quiet Ashburton and old Totnes. The valley
becomes more fair and fertile as it reaches the sea;
rich meadows, studded with trees, and apple orchards
border the banks of the river, and at its mouth is the
ancient town of Dartmouth, with its projecting upper
Dartmouth fishers were among the first who went after
Newfoundland cod, and Sir Humphrey Gilbert who took
that island for Queen Elizabeth was a Dartmouth man.
Torbay, a beautiful bay with blood-red cliffs, lies
between the Dart valley and that of the Teign. Torquay
is under its north headland; it is a pleasant
bathing-  place, with a mild climate, where delicate people
winter. Brixham, to the south of the bay, is a fishing
town, the place of the Devonshire trawlers, who catch
whiting, haddock, and other fish in a net about seventy
feet long, shaped like a bag, with a beam at the mouth,
which they trawl or drag along the bottom.
Most memorable in the history of Torbay are those July
days of 1588, when the great war ships of the Spanish
Armada ventured slowly past Berry Head. The little
English ships, under the valiant "sea-dogs" of Queen
Elizabeth, dashed in and out among them, sinking one or
two, disabling many, firing a broadside and away again
before the big Spaniards had time to turn round; while
the English people stood in crowds watching and praying
upon the shore.
The most famous of Elizabeth's captains wera Devon men;
Sir Francis Drake, who was the first to sail through
Magellan's Straits and round the world, attacking the
Spaniards everywhere; Frobisher; Sir John Hawkins; Sir
Humphrey Gilbert, the "most learned and pious of them
all"; and, not least, Sir Walter Raleigh, his
Farther north is Teignmouth, a large watering-place at
the mouth of the Teign.
EXETER AND THE OTTER VALLEY
EXETER, the Queen of the West, stands on the Exe; a
city on a hill, and with hills around it. The cathedral
with its two high old towers built after the Norman
fashion, was the work of the Normans.
 Crediton, where shoes are made, and Tiverton, where
there are lace mills, are higher up in the Exe valley.
Dawlish, in a sheltered valley, and Exmouth, on a hill,
are two bathing-places near the mouth of the estuary.
The beautiful and costly Honiton lace, the manufacture
for which Devonshire is most famous, is made chiefly in
the Otter Valley. It is a snug valley, sheltered by
hills on each side, well-wooded hills, from whose tops
the pink marble of Devon crops up. The cottages lie
among the orchards, and the lace-makers may be seen at
work at their cottage doors. This delicate fabric is
made altogether by hand. The lace-maker sits on a stool
with a hard cushion on her lap; the pattern is sketched
on a piece of parchment which is laid upon the cushion;
pins are put through the pattern to mark it, and the
worker forms the mesh and makes the pattern with many
small bobbins on which threads are wound, fine threads
for the meshes, coarse for the pattern. Though the lace
is costly, it takes so long to make it that the workers
are not very well paid.
Lace is made in the numerous lanes which wind about
Budleigh Salterton, a delightful little watering-place,
set in apple orchards; it is also made in the large red
village of Otterton, in Ottery St. Mary, and in most of
the villages in this neighbourhood. It is sent to
Honiton or to Exeter for sale. Colyton, on the Axe, is
another lace-making place. Axminster, on this river,
was once a famous carpet-making place, but its trade
The vale of Honiton is as famous for its butter as for
its lace; there, and in the Exe valley, the best
Devonshire cream and butter are made.