Devon named as England’s greatest county by The Telegraph

Impressive on “Natural Wonders” but poor on “Peace and Quiet”

The Daily Telegraph released a list of the top ten counties in England – and it is no surprise that Devon was far and away at the top of the list. Devon amassed a score of 828 points which meant an impressive 79 point lead beyond second place Cumbria.

Jake Holden

The list was based on ‘science’ as each of the 48 counties was compared across 33 criteria over four main categories: ‘Natural Wonders’, ‘History & Culture’, ‘Luxuries’, and ‘Peace & Quiet’. Devon came in at the top of the ‘Natural Wonders’ category and third in ‘History & Culture’.

The top ten were: 1. Devon, 2. Cumbria, 3. North Yorkshire, 4. Somerset, 5. Cornwall, 6. Kent, 7. Hampshire, 8. Greater London, 9. Norfolk, 10, Dorset.

Devon boasts an impressive 369 points to win the ‘Natural Wonders’ category thanks to, The Telegraph reports, two national parks and five AONBs, 13 Blue Flag beaches along its 495km of coast (this alone meant 46 points, second only to Cornwall). Nine RSPB reserves, an RHS garden and a vast 9.9% woodland coverage across the county mean, as the Telegraph says, Devon: “Simply put, it has everything.”

In the next category ‘History and Culture’ Devon secured third with 212 points. The list says there are 177 museums and galleries in the county, 34 National Trust listings, 13 English Heritage properties. In Exeter alone there is the beautiful Cathedral as well as Premiership Rugby to enjoy. Greater London managed to top this category with 323 points.

Devon was still ranked pretty well for the ‘Luxuries’ category coming in at seventh with 98 points. There are 4 Michelin-starred restaurants which lend themselves to this score as well as two 5 AA Red Star hotels: Gidleigh Park in Chagford and Bovey Castle in Moretonhampstead. Greater London also won this category, however, with 153 points.

In the final category ‘Peace & Quiet’ Devon did not do so well coming in at 24th with 79 points. This particular category was based on population density, the number of Certified IDA International Dark Sky Parks and Reserves and bonuses for having smaller towns and airports and no motorways. Tourism has made Devon a busier place so even the best county in England cannot be entirely perfect.