Castles, Forts & Caves in Devon
As you might expect from a county with such a rich and diverse history, Devon has got plenty of castles, forts and caves to explore. From wealthy land owners and prominent families using the county to build grand castles to pirates who used the rugged landscape to hide their plunders, the evidence of Devon's history can be easily uncovered by a visit to one of the region's castles. Some of Devon's castles and forts are many hundreds of years old, whilst others are interesting because of their relative youth; some are in great shape whilst others are now fascinating ruins. In fact, England's youngest castle can be found in Devon, as can one of the most haunted castles in the UK!
And it isn't just castles you can discover, you can find forts dating back to the bronze and iron age and caves that have seen some of the world's best known pirates creeping through them. Some Devon caves are maintained and open to the public, like those that served the Romans as a quarry and provided the stone for Exeter and St Pauls' Cathedrals, whilst some are more hidden and waiting to be discovered.
Fascinating Devon castles
There are far too many castles to list here but there are a couple that really stand out in terms of their fascinating heritage. Totnes Castle for instance, which overlooks the town can still be seen today and was originally built in the Norman era before being redesigned in 1326, while nearby Dartmouth Castle was built by John Hawley, who not only served the town as mayor but also worked as a privateer! The castle was in use up to the end of the second world war! Another castle in this part of Devon is Berry Pomeroy Castle which at one time was home to the Seymours - yes the same ones that married into the Tudors through Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife. The castle is believed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK and is home to two particularly vengeful spirits, so keep an eye out should you visit!
Powderham Castle is one of many castle buildings near Exeter, and there are several ruins to explore but Powderham Castle is one of the most exciting because it remains the family home of the Courtenay family who have been the Earls of Devon for generations. The castle is a tourist attraction and holds regular events and activities for the whole family.
Interesting Devon caves
Much like the county's castles, the caves that can be found here have many a story behind them. Beer Quarry Caves in East Devon is the main source for Beer Stone which has been quarred for over 2000 years and was loved by the Romans. Several of Britain's best loved cathedrals, including the one in Exeter and the famous St Paul's in London have been built out of this type of stone and it now runs as a visitor attraction, along with Kents Cavern which can be found on the outskirts of Torquay. Kents Cavern is where the earliest evidence of homosapiens was found in Britain - so it isn't just the Jurassic Coast that has secrets to unveil!
You'll also find a fascinating cave system in Shaldon where you can journey along a former smuggler's tunnel to get to one of the more secluded beaches! If you can, we recommend it!
Take a look below to see what interests you and spend a day amongst Devon's history.