People from Devon tend to have a reputation as being a fairly friendly, welcoming and easy-going bunch.
Howard Lloyd www.devonlive.com
But, as with anywhere in the world, there are certainly a few tender areas that it’s best to avoid if you don’t want to rub a Devonian up the wrong way.
It takes quite a lot to trigger people from down here, but be warned – there are definitely one or two that will do a proper job of winding people up.
Second homes, grockles and – inevitably – putting jam on a scone first will easily do the job.
But there are a few others which are a bit more obscure which will prove just as effective.
If you are not from around here, you may wonder why they can rub people up the wrong way. We have decided to provide a little explanation next to each one, but you are probably better off just taking our word for it and not putting any of them to the test.
You have been warned!
1. Where can I get a cheap beer?
The Admiral Collingwood Wetherspoons pub in Ilfracombe – pictured prior to the coronavirus pandemic (Image: CAMRA)
This is really annoying for us locals – believe it or not, a burger and a beer at your local ‘Spoons in Devon is pricier than in most other parts of the country.
This is particularly annoying as Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin started out in Devon. How’s that fair?
According to a recent survey, The Admiral Collingwood in Ilfracombe on the North Devon coast is the priciest location in Great Britain for this particular deal.
2. Life is sooooooooo boring in Devon
Rod Stewart enjoying the view over the River Dart at Salcombe
Yep – legendary rock ‘n roller Rod Stewart looks really bored as he relaxes on a short break holiday at Salcombe. Why would anybody want to spend time doing absolutely nothing in boring Devon?
3. Do you like my second home?
Many of the most expensive homes sold in Devon are in the Salcombe area
This is likely to get you run out of town in many of Devon’s most picturesque seaside areas – especially around Dartmouth, Salcombe, Croyde, Woolacombe and Kingsbridge. One in every 11 residential properties in the South Hams is an unoccupied second home for much of the year.
4. Jam first
Boris Johnson puts jam first in Cornwall
If you mistakenly think it’s jam first on your scone, with cream on top, it means you should be in Cornwall (see Boris Johnson above – I rest my case). Don’t forget – this is the county where the Devon Cream Tea originates, so what does Cornwall even know about the subject?
5. Is Plymouth the capital city of Devon?
This may start a fight.
Exeter is the capital. It is a cathedral city. But it is also the county town of Devon, and the administrative base of Devon County Council.
But Plymouth is bigger, has its own city council and is known as the Ocean City.
6. Do you know Matt Bellamy from Muse?
Muse frontman Matt Bellamy paints a sheep guitar near his home in Teignmouth
For a county that conjures up images of farmers fields and sheep, there are actually a lot of famous people with connections to Devon.
And no, we don’t know Matt Bellamy or fellow Muse band members Chris Wolstenholme and Dom Howard (although I do know his mum and she’s very nice). Also we are not all on first name terms with Chris Martin from Coldplay, Damien Hirst, Kirstie Allsop, Will Young, Joss Stone or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
7. Do you know the way to Lighthaven?
A scene from the BBC’s The Coroner
Daytime TV crime drama The Coroner is filmed on location all cross South Devon – including Totnes, Dartmouth, Hope Cove and Brixham.
But the village of Lighthaven is not real! The stunning views filmed from a drone over the Devon coastline are real though – as is this shot of the River Dart with actress Claire Goose.
8. What happened to the motorway after Exeter?
It’s called the A30/A38 or the A39 and it’s dualled (in places).
Yes, there are daily snarl-ups and we deserve better but just remember how bad it used to be.
On a serious note, Devon does have some of the most dangerous roads in the country.
The A39, A361 North Devon Link Road and A38 are renowned accident hotspots that regularly feature among the worst in Britain.
9. Cornwall is so much better
Ridiculous! Enough said.
10. Nothing exciting ever happens in Devon
Teenagers run through the crowds with a burrning barrel soaked in tar on Ottery St Mary
Anybody who thinks life in Devon is tame has never been to the Ottery Tar Barrels, when residents carry burning barrels soaked in tar. The 400-year-old event at Ottery St Mary sees competitors and even teenagers run with burning barrels on their backs through the village, until the barrel breaks down.
11. Are you a grockle?
North Devon has a huge reliance on the tourism industry
This is the worst insult you can use on a Devon person.
Just so you’re aware, ‘grockle’ is a slang term for holidaymakers coming to the county. It is definitely not a term to apply to locals!
12. It’s fun to play in the waves
Huge waves at Paington last night (Image: Samantha Louise Mee)
Please learn how dangerous the sea is and save a call to the RNLI and our hardworking coastguards.
13. Are you attracted to sheep?
Snow near Exeter in 2010 (Image: Douglas Sims)
We just have a lot of farms. Nothing suspicious with that.
14. You don’t have any decent sports teams
The Exeter Chiefs Tribe
Premiership and European champions Exeter Chiefs not good enough for you?
15. The Devon accent makes you sound thick
Josh Widdecombe before the Sky Bet League Two match between Plymouth Argyle and Leyton Orient in October
There’s nothing wrong with ‘ow we sound, just like the rest of the South West. As long as you can understand us, what’s the big issue?
16. Is Plymouth in Cornwall?
Granted, Plymouth is pretty close to Cornwall. It is practically in spitting distance across the River Tamar. But ‘No’ it is 100 per cent Devon.
17. I’ll just bury my plastic/barbecue on the beach
Take it with you please, our Devonshire toes and environment are very special to us. Just remember at the beach: take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints. That’s our rule. Please stick to it.
18. Why is the beach so small today?
One of the six people getting airlifted from rocks at Putsborough in North Devon (Image: Wendy Nicholls/Imagination Photography UK)
Learn about the tides at the beach. Every year our emergency services save countless lives caused by ignorance of the basic rules of the sea.
19. What time is the last bus home?
If you are anywhere outside of a handful of main towns, it’s too late – you’ve probably already missed it. Public transport is pretty non-existent at night in many rural parts of the county.
Devon has more road mileage than any other county in England so covering them all with transport links is impossible.
20. You’re all inbred
How bleddy dare you! I’ll get my husband-brother-cousin on you.
21. I’m looking for a job with a starting wage of £30,000+
Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Sorry. Hahahahahahahaha!
23. Why don’t they widen the lanes for 4x4s?
I will have you know that the famous ‘Devon banks’ which line our lanes date back around 4,000 years. The historic hedges often mark boundaries going back to the Bronze Age.
It needs skill to drive on our roads and if you can’t reverse your Chelsea tractor, perform a 99 point turn and head back to Knightsbridge.
24. Where are the best dogging spots?
Moving swiftly on.
25. I’ve just come down on holiday and am about to give birth, where’s the hospital?
Torbay Hospital (Image: Andy Styles)
Please, please, please, if you’re coming to Devon in the summer and are suffering from rabies or have a limb hanging off, DON’T visit our hospitals. They are stretched to breaking point already and you’re causing havoc. If you are having a baby, cross your legs and go home.
26. Why is there a tractor holding up the road?
Who doesn’t like a tractor (Image: Matt Gilley/Plymouth Live)
This is a rural, farming county. Have some respect and expect to get stuck behind tractors/sheep/cows/horses.
27. Devon and Cornwall are practically the same place
One flag has plenty more history than the other…..
We love our slightly curious Cornish cousins over the border, but there’s nothing worse than telling someone you’re from Devon and them saying “oh, you must know Brad Pengelly in Newquay then”.
Wrong county, mate.
28. Why is the petrol so expensive?
Given what we’ve already said about poor public transport and the biggest road network of any county in England, this also drives us mad.
You’d think a county that relies so heavily on cars would get a break when it comes to filling up the tank.
On the contrary, Devon has some of the highest fuel prices in the UK – simply not fair.