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Exploring Devon’s Magnificent Seven: A Guide to the Top Castles in the Region

Devon, a county renowned for its picturesque landscapes and rich history, offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and historical exploration.

As families set up their air tents in the numerous camping sites scattered across Devon, they find themselves in the midst of a land brimming with historical treasures.

Among these are the top seven castles, each telling its own story of the past and inviting visitors to step back in time.

Let’s embark on a journey to discover these architectural marvels.

Berry Pomeroy Castle:

Hidden within a lush valley, Berry Pomeroy Castle is a jewel of Devon.

Known for its enchanting ruins and chilling ghost stories, the castle’s incomplete Elizabethan mansion and 15th-century defences offer a hauntingly beautiful sight.

The surrounding woodlands enhance its mystical aura, making it a captivating destination for those interested in both history and the supernatural.

Okehampton Castle:

Dominating the landscape from its perch above the River Okement, Okehampton Castle holds the title of Devon’s largest castle.

The ruins of this once grand motte and bailey castle are steeped in history and folklore, with tales of hauntings adding to its allure.

The nearby natural scenery, rich in wildlife, makes it an ideal spot for both history buffs and nature enthusiasts.

Castle Drogo:

Standing proudly above the Teign Gorge, Castle Drogo is a remarkable blend of medieval architecture and modern design.

As the last castle built in England, it offers a unique glimpse into the 20th century’s adaptation of ancient styles.

The castle’s gardens and the surrounding landscape provide breathtaking views, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Devon.

Dartmouth Castle:

Strategically located at the mouth of the Dart Estuary, Dartmouth Castle has been an essential defensive stronghold since the 14th century.

Its well-preserved structure offers stunning views of the estuary and beyond, while its rich history is evident in every stone and turret.

The castle’s strategic importance through the centuries is a testament to Devon’s maritime heritage.

Totnes Castle:

Overlooking the town, Totnes Castle is a classic example of a Norman motte and bailey castle.

Its commanding position offers panoramic views of the River Dart and the surrounding area.

The castle’s history is palpable, and its grounds provide a serene setting for picnics and relaxation, making it a favourite among families and history enthusiasts alike.

Powderham Castle:

This majestic castle, located beside the River Exe, is a stunning example of medieval architecture that has evolved into a family home.

Dating back to 1391, Powderham Castle is still inhabited by the Courtenay family.

Its guided tours reveal a rich history and offer a glimpse into the lives of its aristocratic residents, both past and present.

Compton Castle:

A charming mix of a fortress and a manor house, Compton Castle has been the home of the Gilbert family for generations.

Its architecture showcases a blend of medieval and Renaissance styles, set amidst beautiful gardens.

The castle’s historical significance, coupled with its well-preserved state, offers visitors an intimate look at the life of a Devon noble family.

Each of these seven castles in Devon is a gateway to the past, offering a unique perspective on the county’s rich history.

From the ghostly tales of Berry Pomeroy to the strategic importance of Dartmouth Castle, these structures are not just stone and mortar; they are storytellers of a bygone era.

As you camp under the stars in Devon’s beautiful countryside, a visit to these castles will undoubtedly enrich your experience with their historical charm and intriguing tales.

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