"I grew up in the countryside before moving to London and overseas.
When I moved back to the country it occurred to me how hard it is to meet people.
Whether you’re on a family holiday, a couple’s retreat or an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, there’s countless things to do in North Devon. Sip in the sunshine in a beer garden, or cosy in front of an open fire if the weather turns. Bring a taste of North Devon home by visiting one of the many farmers’ markets for tasty, fresh local produce and gifts.
Here’s an ‘at a glance’ guide to 20 things you simply cannot miss when in North Devon… Have a proper Devonshire cream tea – warm scones slathered with thick clotted cream, with a good dollop of fruity jam on top.
"I'd never go to one on my own," Charlotte says, "but as long as I have a wingman, I'm fine." This is exactly the right approach, according to dating expert Mary Balfour.
"Find a dating buddy; someone who is in the same situation as you," she says.
Look out for one of the famous vans around the region and enjoy with clotted cream and a flake. Say hello to Verity, Ilfracombe’s bronze lady on the pier, gifted to the town by world-famous artist Damien Hirst. This alien world will see you take on daring rides and the clone zone – if you dare. Watch the skilled craftsmen at Dartington Crystal conjure up magical creations and even have a go at blowing glass yourself. Take in the astounding North Devon coastline by walking sections of the South West Coastal Path across cliffs, seaside towns and beaches. Drive down the winding, tree-lined road to Bucks Mills to reveal a picturesque bay, hidden away from the hustle and bustle. Get close to the adorable lambs at the BIG Sheep in Abbotsham and even have a go at feeding them – a great one for the kids. Take a trip to Lundy Island – North Devon’s remote paradise. You’ll have an un-bee-lievable time and pick up some deliciously sweet souvenirs. Walk the grounds and gardens of the beautiful Hartland Abbey, built in 1159 with sweeping views and a tantalising history. Pop into Barnstaple Pannier Market or Ilfracombe seafront and try some of the infamous Roly’s fudge – you haven’t tried anything like it. Step back into the land of the dinosaurs at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park."The internet has opened up a fun and less embarrassing way for people to meet new people in their area." Young country dwellers also organise their social lives on Facebook. I tell as many people as possible about the website now." But the internet can't solve the problem of geography."It's how you hear about hunt balls, Young Farmers meetings and parties, and you can see who is going," says Vittoria Pannizon, 27, who lives in Gloucestershire. "After that we kept bumping into each other and eventually went out for supper in Cirencester." Vicky Cooke, 34, a teacher living in a village near Rugby, met her fiancé, Richard Jones, 33, from Sutton Coldfield, on My Single Friend. "Dating in the country is always a problem due to distances," Mary Balfour says.It turned out my parents knew his parents and I was friends with his brother." However, in the past five years, social networking sites have revolutionised rural dating."When I think of traditional dating agencies in the countryside, I imagine women in spectacles wearing tweeds and lots of underwear," says Sarah Beeny, founder of dating website My Single Friend."Single friends will also give you moral support if you're feeling depressed about meeting the third frog in a row." If you've been brought up in a country community, the chances are you will already know a lot of the people living locally.