North Devon Food Trail app helps put the region's dining destinations firmly on the foodie map
PUBLISHED: 16:40 08 October 2019
North Devon is officially a delicious place to be. A successful app and trail is making dining in the region easier than ever, as CHRISSY HARRIS discovers
Exploring a new destination is about sightseeing, taking in the stunning views - and eating, preferably every two to four hours.
The North Devon Food Trail lays it all out on a plate for you. Wherever you are in the region, from Hatherleigh to Hartland, you can find places to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between at the touch of a button.
The food trail website and app features more than 200 restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars on its interactive maps and listings, with at-a-glance information about dietary options, disabled access and kid friendly menus.
Reassuringly, many of the eating out suggestions have come from locals, the people perfectly placed to tell you where to enjoy such delights as homemade steak and kidney pudding in the Duke of York in Iddesleigh or Thai fish curry from the Rockleigh Takeaway in Mortehoe.
"The aims have been to drive people that are coming to the area to have the best experience and to showcase the incredible independent food and drink businesses that we have here," says Emma Parker Reynolds, spokesperson at the North Devon Marketing Bureau, the organisation behind the trail and app.
"Lots of users have told us they really like the app. A few local people are using it, as well as visitors to the area. They might have 'x' amount of money and a budget for three meals out that week and they want to know where they should go."
Launched last year, the website and app is divided into locations, so people can search by area for everything from high-end cuisine to seasonal street food.
There is also information about local producers and the latest food events, plus a list of themed trails for visitors to try out.
Families holidaying in Westward Ho!, cyclists en-route from Barnstaple to Instow or romantics on Exmoor are all catered for with comprehensive lists of what to do and where to eat on the way.
Local businesses say the success of the trail, app and website - viewed by people all over the world - shows that North Devon is securing its place as a top foodie destination.
'There are pockets of really good things happening here," says chef Bjorn Moen at Pattard Kitchen in Hartland. He believes schemes such as the food trail can help raise the profile of the region's independent restaurants and cafes.
"It's the little guys who are doing a lot of the most interesting and innovative stuff. Things like the trail and app are great. It's getting exposure without any great costs."
Hannah Miller, co-owner of One Market Street Café in Hatherleigh, agrees that North Devon has a lot to offer, if you know where to look.
"The app is a great way to find those independent places to eat and drink that are a bit different," she says. "I know when I go on holiday, I plan my break around where I'm going to eat. You want to find somewhere that's going to be worth the calories."
Locals are also being encouraged to use the resource to discover new places to eat and drink, as well as nominating their favourite haunts.
If they spot somewhere that's not yet listed, they can fill in the details via the website and ask for it to be included.
The plan now is to get even more businesses on board and help make the app - initially supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the North Devon Marketing Bureau - more self-sustaining.
"This is just the start," says Nick White, chair of the North Devon Marketing Bureau, speaking at the launch last year. "We want to evolve the app over time, with greater functionality and more features."
Sounds like a recipe for success.
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT NORTH DEVON'S FOOD SCENE:
- They all scream for ice cream: Long established North Devon firm Hocking's is a firm favourite up here. It's thought 65 per cent of customers live within a 15-mile radius of the company's 16 distinctive yellow and red vans.
- Silver darlings: The village of Clovelly holds a herring festival every November to celebrate 'the silver darlings' of the sea. The village has always depended on the harvest of herring, with fishing records going back more than 400 years.
- Posh nosh: There are two Michelin Starred restaurants in North Devon: The Olive Room in Ilfracombe and the Masons Arms, Knowstone.
- Seet nectar: Quince Honey Farm in South Molton has been producing quality honey since 1949. You can visit the farm and taken part in a tour or even have a go at beekeeping.
- Plastic free: Many restaurants, bars and food shops are helping North Devon's villages and towns to turn the tide on single-use plastics. Braunton, Georgeham and Croyde in North Devon have all been awarded the prestigious 'Plastic-Free Coastline' status by national charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).
WHERE TO VISIT:
- Take a clifftop walk in the stunning Hartland Peninsula. There's a lighthouse to spot and zigzag rock formations to explore along the miles of gorgeous coastline.
- RHS Rosemoor is a must if you're up this way. The gardens are beautiful, whatever the season.
- Go for a stroll along the three miles of golden sands at Woolacombe Beach, recently named fourth best in the UK, according to the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards.