South Devon has fourteen fabulous new reasons to visit its shores, rolling countryside, beaches and estuaries in 2017, ranging from new food and drink trails to off-grid bushcraft camps and sea kayaking for all the family. For news on these and a host of other new experiences go to www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk
1. Taste of the Teign food and drink trail
This brand new self-guided trail takes visitors on a journey of culinary discovery around the beguilingly beautiful Teign Estuary in South Devon. The trail takes in: Old Walls, the steepest vineyard in England; the Red Rock Brewery, renowned for its craft beers and real ales; Shute Fruit and produce, where you can pick your own fruit and even learn how to make preserves; Milltop Orchards, where you can enjoy seasonal fruit, apple juice and cider; and Luscombe Farm Shop, where you can buy seasonal vegetables picked from the fields above the estuary.
On the tour you’ll discover the location of the Teign Estuary’s world renowned mussel and oyster beds, and you’ll be taken to a host of local cafes, restaurants and pubs surrounding the estuary where produce from its fields and waters, alongside fresh fish and crustacean landed at Teignmouth Harbour, can all be enjoyed.
Created for foodies hungry for a new destination to discover, the trail has emerged from the Taste of the Teign food and drink festival, which is devoted to celebrating produce caught, raised or harvested in and around the Teign Estuary, thought to be one of the most bounteous estuaries in the country. The 2017 festival starts on 25th September and lasts through to 01 October.
The trail will launch in 2017 in readiness for summer. A map of the trail, which has been produced by local artist Laura Wall, will be available to download from http://tasteoftheteign.org.uk
2. South Devon’s barbeque battle-royale launches – ‘Smokeinteignhead’
Also new for this year will be ‘Smokeinteignhead’, South Devon’s first, biggest and best barbeque competition. Overlooking Dartmoor and the Teign Estuary the event will see experts pitted head to head in a barbeque battle royale featuring some of the country’s finest flame grillers, including Simon Dyer – winner of ITV’s BBQ Champ programme in 2015. Entertainment, food demonstrations, live music, trade stalls, and activities for the kids will all be included. The final date for this ‘smokin’ September event will be announced in 2017. www.tasteoftheteign.org.uk/smokeinteignhead-premier-south-devon-bbq-competition/
3. Off-grid bushcraft camp and kayaking in South Devon
www.seakayakdevon.co.uk is launching a new bushcraft camp for 2017. The camp is located in South Devon, a 10 min walk into the woods at the Raleigh Estate on the banks of the River Dart. The camp, which was trialled and built throughout the summer of 2016, can comfortably cater for up to 25 people.
You’ll learn how to build shelters, light fires and collect and cook wild food. You’ll also learn how to sea kayak, exploring the coast and fishing the shores for you dinner. Stand Up Paddle boarding will also be available on courses for 2017.
The living shelter area can comfortably fit 25 people and is made from canvas stretched over locally collected timber. It has a log stove and a kitchen capable of catering for all guests. Gas lanterns and candles are used for lighting; there’s no electricity or mains running water, drinking water is taken to the camp in a barrel and there are dry toilets on sites. This is true off-grid bushcraft. In total there are four sleeping shelters, which sleep about 8 people in each.
Groups can stay for one or two nights. The camp is fully catered but guests can opt to self cater if they prefer.
The new bushcraft camps will operate from March through to October 2017. Prices including bushcraft and the sea kayaking experience with all equipment and instruction provided:
1 night 2 Day self catered camp: Child £135 – Adult £175 (arriving at 09:30 on day one, leaving 16:00 on day 2
1 night 2 Day fully catered camp: Child £160 – Adult £215 (arriving at 09:30 on day one, leaving 16:00 on day 2
1- 2 night 2 Day fully catered camp: Child £160 – Adult £270 (arriving at 16:00 on day one, leaving 16:00 on day 3)
Sea Kayak Devon’s instructors are all highly qualified and experienced. The owner of the business spent 12 years running a survival training school on a chain of remote uninhabited Scottish islands.
4. New artisan pizza restaurant and facilities at Coast View Holiday Park, Shaldon, South Devon
Award-winning South Devon restaurant and cafe business Ode ‘true food’ has opened a new concept in pizza restaurants, Ode&Co ‘true pizza’, at Coast View Holiday Park in Shaldon, ready for its first full season in 2017.
Part of a major renovation project at Coast View, which includes the complete renovation of the existing café, the bar, restaurant and terrace areas, the new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art building will also include a gymnasium, swimming pool and spa, all ready for the 2017 season.
The new Ode ‘true pizza’ restaurant is a 100-seat venue with views across Lyme Bay serving artisan sour dough pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven, fresh pasta and grills from an open kitchen.
The pizza chef is Mario from Naples, who has spent the last three years in London at one of the capital’s top pizzerias. www.odetruefood.com/ode-and-co/
5. Haldon Belvedere folly revamped for 2017
One of the most dramatic and delightful self catering and wedding venues in Devon, The Haldon Belvedere (Lawrence Castle), is looking forward to a new season in 2017 following the renovation of this stunning tower in 2016. Built in 1788 at the height of the Romantic Period of the Georgian age, this 18th century turreted folly sits 882 feet above sea level near Haldon Forest, only a few miles Exeter.
It has breathtaking panoramic vistas over the Devon countryside and a rooftop terrace that provides astonishing night sky views of the constellations. On a clear day you can see Portland Bill and due to its incredible 360 degree views, you can see every sunrise and every sunset from its elevated position.
Its luxurious penthouse apartment is perfect for romantic couples. It has a lofty ceiling, Georgian gothic detailed doors and windows, a separate bathroom with bath and shower, and a fully fitted kitchen built into the two turrets.
For couples looking for a truly special wedding venue, the folly is available to hire for ceremonies, holding up to 50 guests. www.haldonbelvedere.co.uk/
6. Summer Events at River Cottage HQ: Preserves – Summer (new for 2017)
Get stuck into seasonal jam, pickling and bottling, with a day of perfect preserves with chef and cookery writer, Rachel de Thample, at the River Cottage Cookery School. Costing £195 per person the day-long course includes four preserving sessions and a two-course lunch of local, seasonal fare featuring a smattering of favourite preserves. This seasonal series of preserve courses will equip you with all the techniques and tips you need to feel confident bundling your precious produce into cordials, jams, chutneys, pickles, liqueurs, homegrown tisanes, gut-friendly ferments and more. www.rivercottage.net/preserves-summer
7. New Glamping Pods and Beach Shack at Ladram Bay, Devon
Ladram Bay’s big new unveiling for 2017 is its brand new Beach Shack located on the park’s private beach, which forms part of the dramatic Jurassic Coast.
Set in a stunning waterfront location with dramatic views across the bay, the new café, which is open to the public, will serve a variety of food and drink with tasty barbeques throughout the summer. It will even have its own Seafood Shack where you can purchase the local catch of the day. Additional facilities include a shop where you can hire kayaks and water sports equipment.
2017 will also be the first full season for Ladram Bay Holiday Park’s brand new ‘Coco Suite’ glamping pods. Offering all the fun of camping but with the benefit of a little luxury, these cute pods sleep up to four people. www.ladrambay.co.uk
8. New Seaton Tram experiences for summer 2017
Three new Seaton tram experiences are being launched for 2017 taking visitors on a journey of discovery along three miles of idyllic, unspoilt countryside passing through no less that two nature reserves:
On 28th July and 26th August families can join the ‘Seaton Pearl’ setting sail along the Axe Estuary to discover hidden pirate booty at Colyton Station. Entertained by Captain Nick, passengers will be in for a swashbuckling time alongside fellow pirates – aaarrrgghhh!
Dinosaur Tram Adventure
On 16th and 23rd April, 1st and 28th May, 23rd and 30th July, and every Sunday in August, plus Bank Holiday Monday, families and children can immerse themselves in an adventure filled tram ride with music, stories and a dinosaur fossil dig at Colyton Station. Uncover the secrets of a land that time forgot with Professor Percival the Palaeontologist and fulfil a mission to make contact with forgotten species.
The Fairy Special
On the 8th April, 29th May, every Friday in August and 1st September, families can embark on a truly magical trip where children can brush up on spells as the Fairy Godmother takes them on an enchanting journey to the “Fairy Kingdom”. Filled with music and stories and accompanied by a scrumptious tea party fit for a fairy queen, this tram ride will be packed with spellbinding activities and fairy fun. www.tram.co.uk /01297 20375
9. New Dates for Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink
The Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink is moving to the early May bank holiday weekend (Saturday 29th April 2017 to Monday 1st May), and for the first time will include the Monday. http://www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk . Falling on the same weekend as Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival at Powderham (Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April 2017), this will be a great opportunity for visitors to Exeter to experience a weekend of food and gardening.
10. New acts, rides, activities and attractions at Crealy Adventure Park and Resort, Devon
Crealy Adventure Park near Exeter in Devon has a host of new attractions, rides and facilities for 2017:
Throughout the summer Pop in the Park will take place each Sunday featuring tribute acts to Olly Murs, Adele, Katy Perry, One Direction, Robbie Williams, Kylie, Jessie J and many more.
Direct from the USA comes an astounding high dive act featuring divers freefalling in perfect synchronicity from an 80ft high platform into a pool less than 3 meters deep. The act will perform throughout the Summer, Monday to Saturday, three times a day.
New rides include the launch of The Giddy Galleon pirate ship and a junior driving school ride, where kids have to tackle a tricky course beset with traffic lights and much more.
For families staying on site Crealy is opening the new Base Camp clubhouse and bar, which will be open in the school holidays and at weekends.
Finally, Crealy is introducing Crealy Active for kids, with a host of art and craft sessions for younger children and activities including Nerf Wars, junior archery, paintballing and go-karts for older kids and teenagers. http://crealy.co.uk/
11. River Dart Country Park pump track opens for first full season in 2017
There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors! And, set in 90 acres of beautiful Devon countryside, the award-winning Ashburton holiday and adventure destination, River Dart Country Park, is the perfect place to enjoy it.
Just in time for 2017, the park has launched its new and exciting pump track, which is expected to pull in scores of visitors over the summer.
The purpose-built track is open to all ages and skill levels, featuring small dirt rollers and berms to help them gather momentum without pedalling, and is a great way for keen bikers to improve their confidence levels. The track has already been a huge hit amongst the few who have been lucky enough to try it, and best of all, it’s free to use for River Dart Country Park campers and day visitors all year round!
The track is just one of the exciting attractions to have recently launched at the park, with an educational eco trail meandering through scenic woodland also making its debut. Over two miles long, the trail follows points of ecological interest including those that have helped to win River Dart Country Park a host of environmental awards. Visitors can see green technologies such as the Hydro Dynamic Screw, a turbine that uses water from the river, as well as the biomass boiler. http://riverdart.co.uk/
12. Hot tub holiday caravans come to the English Riviera
Beverley Holidays is responding to the hot tub holiday revolution with its largest ever investment in a brand new range of luxurious caravans complete with bubbling spa baths. The family run group of three holiday parks on the English Riviera has invested more than £1million in a state-of-the-art fleet of ‘glaravans’ that transport guests to hot tub heaven. The holiday park has jumped on the spa bath bandwagon following the news that a third of bookings taken by travel agent Hoseasons in 2016 have been for ‘hot tub holidays’. http://www.beverley-holidays.co.uk/
13. New for 2017 is Sea Life: Glimpses (13 May-17 Sept).
A wonderful new exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is due to launch in 2017. Featuring a stunning aquarium, illustrations by Gosse – the original Victoria rock pooler – and installations by contemporary artists, the exhibition lifts the lid on fascinating wildlife in and around Devon shores and teaches families how to get out there and experience it for themselves. Free admission. http://rammuseum.org.uk/visiting-us/shop/
14. New life for old trees – a new play park for kids made from enormous oak trees felled in winter storms
The National Trust’s Knightshayes house, just off the M5 at Tiverton, has created a large, natural woodland play area from four large oak trees, felled in winter storms.
New for the 2017 season, it includes a tree house, tunnels in the trunk and plenty of places to swing from. The play area is part of the Gothic mansion, Knightshayes, which boasts lots of walking opportunities – including many formal gardens, parkland and woods too. There’s a kitchen garden too and a wonderful on-site cafe which serves up hearty food all year round. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knightshayes