Countyfile: Devon - In the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, go west
Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.
Sunday 14 October 2012
Celebrate the season today at the 30th Autumn Festival and Apple Pressing event, which takes place at the Sharpham Estate (01803 732542; sharphamtrust.org; free) between 11am and 4pm. The 18th-century Palladian villa overlooking the River Dart at Ashprington provides a fine setting for this celebration of the apple harvest. But, thanks to the poor weather, the organisers need a little help this year, so take your own windfalls for turning into juice to help boost the estate's slim pickings. There'll also be an Apple Olympics and live music.
The Two Moors Festival (01643 831370; thetwomoorsfestival.com; various prices) features concerts in churches across Dartmoor and Exmoor until 21 October. The event began in 2001 as a way to encourage visitors to return to the moors after the devastation of foot-and-mouth disease. Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Holst and Bach are among the composers whose works will be played in a busy programme.
Devon is brimming with Halloween events this month. Escot Camp Wild (01404 822188; escotcampwild.co.uk; £80), at Ottery St Mary, will be hosting a Halloween Camp at its yurt village on 30 and 31 October for children aged eight to 12, filled with spooky fun such as a night walk with lanterns and ghost-catching games. The BIG Sheep (01237 472366; thebigsheep.co.uk; £7.50), a theme park at Bideford, is throwing three Halloween parties on the evenings of 31 October to 2 November, featuring pumpkin carving, fancy-dress competitions and a haunted house.
Take in the views of Torquay and the surrounding coast on the English Riviera Wheel (0844 474 2233; englishriviera.co.uk; £5) before it closes for the season on 31 October. Formerly part of east London's Olympic attractions, the wheel gives a gentle 12-minute ride via 40 gondolas.
Yet more thrilling is the Hatherleigh Carnival (01837 810618; hatherleighcarnival.co.uk; free) on 10 November, where locals parade through the streets with burning tar barrels.
Book a table at the newly opened Crab Quay House (01803 858120; crabquayhouse.co.uk; two courses from £19) in Brixham. The restaurant and bar with harbour views, open from breakfast to dinner, serves locally caught fish and seafood as well as meat reared at nearby farms.
Stay at the county's latest lodgings, The Magdalen Chapter (01392 281000; themagdalenchapter.com; doubles from £135), which opened in June in Exeter. The hotel offers dining overseen by Simon Hopkinson and a spa.
For further information, go to visitdevon.co.uk
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