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Christmas cheer and Devon beer

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The cold weather brings its own beauty to Devon. After a long Autumn, where the leaves stayed on the trees for longer than usual, we are now enjoying the winter landscape of nearly bare trees standing darkly against the lovely winter skies. The air is filled with the smell of smoke escaping from chimneys. It’s a beautiful time of year here and the calendar is full of special events and seasonal celebrations.

This year, we’ve already attended a great Edwardian Christmas Fair in Okehampton. The Christmas lights were switched on and carols were sung around the town’s large Christmas tree, led by the Mayor and the town’s silver band. We took our places in a convivial queue of people waiting to try the hog roast. (It was delicious by the way!). Shops were open, some offering chocolates, sherry, wine and mince pies. The prizes for best costumes were won by the staff at the gentlemen’s outfitters who looked fantastic in their Edwardian-style morning suits and Edwardian frock, complete with bustle and bodice.

Anyone visiting in December is spoiled for choice with Christmas evenings and carols at all the local towns; the Dickensian evening at Tavistock and many other celebrations at Chagford,  Hatherleigh , Moreton Hampstead and elsewhere too.

Devon’s largest Christmas Market is held on the Cathedral Green of Exeter Cathedral and this year is open until 18th December. This German-style Christmas Market will be playing host to over 100 chalet-style stalls and there will be entertainers and lots of food and drink to enjoy (deep fried Christmas pudding, anyone?!). A local brewery (Crossed Anchors) will have its own bar at the Christmas Market and has been developing a special Cathedral Beer for visitors to try. Visitors will also be able to visit the Cathedral free of charge throughout the season.

Traditional seasonal winter activities around here include the collection and burning of a bundle of sticks taken from an ash tree (an ‘ashen faggot’) and of course wassailing early in the new year to ensure successful apple harvests. One Christmas tradition we will not be adopting is the Christmas Day swim at Crooklets Beach in Bude. Every year, hundreds of people take a dip in the waters on Christmas morning (no wet suits are allowed by the way). The event is hosted by the Bude Life Saving Club and there is full lifeguard coverage for those tempted to participate.

Make staying in Beaworthy your new winter tradition. You can check for available dates here or speak to me (Ian) on 01409 221501.