What not to tell a Devonian – 16 sure-fire ways to annoy the people of the county

As our capital recently won the title of ‘Friendliest Town’ in England, you’d be hard pressed to find things you don’t like in our glorious county.

But while we are a laid back bunch here in the Southwest, we find ourselves inundated with visitors and others desperate to experience our laid back lifestyle.

One thing to keep in mind when visiting Devon is that we are not just a tourist destination – real people live here and we are quite protective of our quiet paradise.

Read more: Exeter crowned friendliest city in England in new survey

You might think you are on the set of Hot Fuzz where swans are the worst police fights, but you couldn’t go more wrong.

So if you’ve just moved to Devon or are planning to visit this summer, consider this a mandatory training session on how not to piss off locals.

There is only one way to go with cream and jam on scones

If you don’t go further down the list, here’s what you need to know: If you put jam on your scone first, you’ll be kicked out of the county with fork-wielding Devonians.

Would you put butter on the jam when making a sandwich? No you wouldn’t, so why would you want to put cream on the jam?

Scientifically speaking, the more dense spread should go on the bottom, which is cream.

With taste, biting into a drop of cream ruins the whole cream tea experience.

You need to sink your teeth into a layer of jam first to get that sweet hit before the richness of the cream.

It’s a hill I’m ready to die on.

Make sure to say thank you when driving

It is ordinary courtesy.

We’re a friendly bunch in Devon, but surely it’s not too much to ask to just put your hand or thumb up behind the wheel and say thank you if another driver does a favor?

The next time someone is waiting on a narrow road or letting you turn right, be sure to give them a polite gesture to let them know you appreciate them.

Don’t – and I mean DON’T – criticize our beaches

Believe it or not, someone left Saunton Sands a negative review on TripAdvisor because the beach was “too big”.

They wrote, “When the tide is low, the sea is just too far away. It takes an age to get there.”


The North Devon coast has a huge tidal range, but is that a reason for slate miles of pristine sand?

Our very own Woolacombe appears frequently in lists naming the best beaches in the world, and it absolutely deserves this accolade.

Forget to ask where is the best place to buy a second home

While we are more than happy to have new neighbors, we are in the midst of a huge housing crisis here.

People who grew up in the area are constantly refused purchase, and the few rental properties on the market are instantly understood.

So think carefully before you decide to buy a vacation home here to live there part of the year and rent it out to tourists the rest of the time.

And on top of that, please don’t ask us for advice on the best place to buy.

Read more: North Devon rental market a ‘joke’ as demand soars for holiday homes

Telling us that the police probably have nothing to do

The Devon Police are always busy, and it’s usually not because they’re chasing the swans either.

We have real crime here in Devon – we have murder, drugs, sexual assault, violence – living in the countryside doesn’t mean our police sit and do nothing.

One of our biggest problems is the county drug operation targeting our young people.

Of course Devon is significantly safer than many places in the UK, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with crime at all.

Learn about crime where you live www.inyourarea.co.uk/crime

Using inflatables at sea

It is simply dangerous.

You might think we are “spoiling the fun”, but the Coast Guard gives the same advice every year, and every year it’s ignored.

Tidal and inflatable incidents are the main reason the RNLI is called for help.

They can also hamper surfers, which can cause serious injury.

They’re whimsical and a lot of fun, but they’re designed for pools or beaches with little to no tide.

All it takes is a rising tide or a surfer gone bad and you are in serious danger.

If you are going to use them, make sure you are aware of and heed the RNLI warning.

Drive your caravan on our small country roads – no, no, no

Not only are some of our roads a bit cramped, but a lot of them have grass growing between the tarmac, they’re so rural.

But they are not the only option.

We have main roads, they just take a little longer because they don’t go through the hills.

If you are in a caravan, please stick to A routes.

It is a nightmare trying to overtake giant caravans who often have no idea where they are going.

If there is absolutely no other option available, please at least stop frequently to allow traffic to flow more easily.

It may not be intentional, but the return of caravans to back roads is unbearable for a Devon resident who has places to go.

Respect our unique traditions

We are a unique group here.

London kind of abandoned us and we developed a very distinct culture full of weird and wonderful traditions.

Our tar barrels generate criticism every year from people who talk about “health and safety”.

The Great Torrington Cavaliers love to spend years building great structures just to burn for charity.

They might be a bit out there, but you don’t have to understand why we do these things to appreciate them.

You do not like him ? Don’t go look!

Please make sure you know how to reverse

If you’re going to be using our back country roads, and let’s face it, they often have the best view, so of course learn to reverse first.

The roads are generally not wide enough to accommodate two cars at a time and it may be necessary to back up on a wider part of the road or passing bay.

Going backwards on half a mile country roads is in our blood, but we understand that not everyone needs to learn it from such a young age like us.

The least you can do is hone your reverse skills before you drive so we don’t have to do all the work.

Don’t assume we’re all farmers

I think it’s safe to say that we all know at least one farmer here.

Maybe we went to school with them or they are a family friend, there is no denying that farming is an integral part of Devon’s economy and culture.

But there are many other careers outside of the farm.

Confuse us with Cornwall – this one is especially important!

We know Cornwall is famous for its beaches, but if you see a photo of Woolacombe and assume it’s Cornwall, we won’t be happy.

On the beach side, Devon has as much beauty to offer as our neighbor to the south – and we bake our scones as they should.

Also, just to let you know, Newquay and Torquay are not in the same place.

Pick up your litter

I mean, come on.

You would think this is common sense, and the amount of funds allocated to awareness campaigns each year is staggering considering how few people pay attention.

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Our beaches, our fields, our moors, our rivers, all our exceptional natural sites are ravaged by waste after busy weekends and school holidays.

We’re tired of cleaning up after everyone else, and while we have some amazing garbage collection charities that try to minimize the damage, that shouldn’t be left to them.

Our wildlife and marine life is more important than the inconvenience of bringing your trash home.

Asking if we’re all related

No, we are not.

The joke has been made a thousand times.

You can stop this now, please.

Drive aimlessly on a rainy day

There is no longer any need for it.

Look, we got it, you came to Devon with the promise of a beautiful outdoor camping trip or an AirBnB stay, and now it’s pouring rain and there are no forecasts of sun for days.

But I promise you that driving while trying to find something to do is not the solution.

Go to TripAdvisor before you leave home or plan ahead.

It may sound like a tropical paradise, but we are always at the mercy of the UK weather so take that into account and have a back-up plan.

Believe it or not we have to use these roads to get to work and family, if you drive slowly looking for activity we will get mad.

Don’t ask us why we don’t havehave an accent

Not everyone in Devon has the strong Westcountry accent that has become a caricature of life here.

Of course, we love to sing the Wurzels (they’re from Somerset, but we love them nonetheless) with a pint of cider on a sunny day, and it’s hard to remove the ‘me lover’ twang then, but for many between us, it is not a permanent element.

Also, unless you grew up that way, chances are you wouldn’t understand us if we were fluent in Devonian anyway, we are really doing you a favor.

Tell us Devon is too “cut”

We are not at all isolated here – we have everything we need.

Of course, our biggest cities are Exeter and Plymouth, and depending on what part of the county you’re in, it can take up to two hours to get there.

But maybe we’re just not that worried about city life?

We have canals, Exmoor, Dartmoor, woods, beaches – anything a nature lover could want.

There is so much to offer, it’s just a little bigger than places like Bristol or Machester – but when your county is as beautiful as Devon, we really don’t care.

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