Discover a World of Literature in Devon

Devon's rolling countryside and sprawling beaches have always attracted the creative soul. Famous authors have credited the landscape as being their primary source of inspiration, so it's no wonder that every year holiday cottages in Devon are filled with book lovers eager to learn more. Here are a few well-known books set in this picturesque region.

Tarka the Otter

The beloved 1927 children's book, written by Henry Williamson, was based on the Taw-Torridge Rivers in North Devon. Now referred to as The Tarka Trail, the unspoiled rivers and surrounding forestry are among the region's most popular tourist attractions; some are drawn by their love of the book, while others are introduced to it after visiting the area. Those renting holidays cottages in Devon tend to follow the Tarka Trail as it chronologically appears in the book - starting at Canal Bridge near Weare Giffard.

Lorna Doone

If you're visiting Exmoor National Park, you'll have the opportunity to stop and take in the sweeping settings of Lorna Doone, the classic Victorian novel that's inspired more than feature films. Focusing on a farmer who falls in love with the queen of the notorious Doone clan, visitors staying in holiday cottages in Devon can recreate the great romance by visiting Doone Valley themselves.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

It's widely believed that Arthur Conan Doyle based his most famous Sherlock Holmes adventure on the Devonshire countryside. Many of the book's famous locations are scattered around the county, with Fox Tor Mire believed to be the inspiration for the fictional Great Grimpen Mir, and Baskerville Hall rumoured to be the still-standing Hayford Hall or Brook Manor. Luckily, the Hounds of Devon's visitors are happier than the hound of Conan Doyle's story, with many holiday cottages in Devon being dog friendly!

Sense and Sensibility

After a particularly serene holiday in the county, Jane Austen based her 1811-penned debut novel, Sense and Sensibility, in the area. Known for her sweeping romances and sharp social satire, Austen dotted scenes from the book all over the county, setting it in the village of Upton Pyne. Visitors using holiday cottages in Devon can still visit the church where beloved characters Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars were married.

Jane Austen wasn't the only great female writer to furnish her imagination here: Agatha Christie was born in Torquay and used many of its cliffs as inspiration for her literal "cliff-hangers". The Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, while born in Yorkshire, relocated here in the sixties professing to have fallen in love with the countryside, and his later works reflected this hugely. Daniel Defoe, the celebrated author of the classic Robinson Crusoe, is also rumoured to have based many of his adventure stories on his beloved Plymouth.