Devon is the only English county with two separate coastlines, the North coast on the Atlantic/Bristol Channel, and the South coast on the English Channel. Around 65% of this coastline is named as Heritage Coast. Devon is characterised by beautiful and dramatic coastline, with rolling hills. There are two National Parks, two World Heritage Sites, and five Areas of Natural Beauty (AONB). In fact, over half of Devon's land has environmental protection. The variety of habitats means that there is a wide range of wildlife. The wildlife of Devon is protected by the Devon Wildlife Trust.
The main towns in Devon are the historic port city of Plymouth, the county town of Exeter, and Torquay which is part of the Torbay area (Torquay, Paignton and Brixham) otherwise known as the English Riviera. Other tourist resorts include Dawlish and Exmouth on the south coast, and Ilfracombe and Westward Ho! on the north coast.
The North Devon Coast offers many rugged cliffs. Indeed, the Exmoor coastline has the highest cliffs in southern England, the largest of which is the Great Hangman near Combe Martin Bay, a 1000ft hill culminating with a 800ft cliff-face. There are also sandy beaches mainly between Ilfracombe and Bideford. The coastline also has quaint harbour villages such as the famous Clovelly. Bideford Bay and the Hartland Point peninsula are both Atlantic facing coastlines; this means that the easterly wind and Atlantic swell produce some of the best surfing conditions in the UK at resorts such as Woolacombe, Westward Ho!, and Bideford Bay.
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