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Nov 2017

westward ho! Unknown name of a charles kingsley novel.

Population - 2,112.

Devon Coat of Arms

There's a small area of parking over from the Co-op™ and, since this is the beginning of November, the tariff's nearly half the high-season rate.

Westward Ho! - Golf Links Road

Hooray! Result! Bingo! and several other exclamations but more on that in a minute as well as a little literary enlightenment.

Any doubts about the existence of a North-South divide are put to bed within an hour although that might prove difficult in August. Not unless you get tonight's lottery numbers up...

08-17-31-47-49-52 \ 05-08-16-27-28-40. Just the one and one-off on another. That was so close, oh well, there's always next week.

Westward Ho! Eh? No! YOU ARE NOT BEING SHOUTED AT! The punctuation is straight from the name of the 1855 Charles Kingsley  novel that became a bestseller and piqued people's interest in the area.

It was partly set in Bideford, which is just down the road, so they sensed an opportunity here in North Devon. The town was built to tempt tourists, you see, the name nicked, exclamation mark and all.

Westward Ho! - Golf Links Road Westward Ho! - Golf Links Road

That'll be why it's the only place in the UK with one although Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, in Canada, has two!! Fair warning, they've got bears over there although a chance encounter with a ravenous grizzly isn't imagined to be that funny.

A few places have been heard that end with a question mark but they're usually preceded with, for example,... 'Why you going to Naples?' and often followed by... 'It's a right dump!'

 
Tea on the Green (Golf Links Road)

Award-winning café with outdoor seating and a view over to what's claimed in the name.

Westward Ho! - Near the Tea on the Green

It should, however, really be called Tea on the what's-mostly-green-but-with-a-small-paved-area-of-seating.

The name's not the only literary association,  Rudyard Kipling, no less, spent a few youthful years at college here.

Westward Ho! - Rudyard Kipling

The words to his No.1 hit  If have been paved on the lovely, long promenade but only the first verse so it's just about as fast to walk it as it is to read the rest of it, probably.

The  hotel along here isn't the original, that's long gone, but it's just about where the pier once was and would have brought some of those early visitors in. The area along here is now run by  Braddicks, who look to have as much a monopoly as the original Villa Building Company would have had in the 1860s.

Westward Ho! - 'Promenade' Westward Ho! - Tidal Pool

Two holiday parks, the hotel and bar and two more bars in the centre although the swimming pool's not thought to be theirs where there's danger of death by dying!

 
South West Coast Path

Not that you'd know it but this bit of pavement is part of the South West Coast Path, England's longest National Trail and when the caravans run out, the ruggedness resumes.

Westward Ho! - South West Coast Path

If you're walking it anticlockwise from Minehead, you're about 90 miles in so just the 540-or-so to go to Dorset. If you're coming from Dorset then well done but it's still about 90 miles to Minehead.

Some people have been heard to bang on a bit, too much, about the  West Highland Way, you know, the 100-mile long trek from Milngavie to Fort William? If you thought that was tough, this one will absolutely destroy you.

Things get colourful down on the front and Braddicks even run some of the family 'musements where you can nudge a tuppeny.

Westward Ho! - Golf Links Road Westward Ho! - Westbourne Terrace

The games are a little more adult around the corner and no, not that sort saucy, just the big 'fruities' that you need to be 18+ to play.

Although this has just nudged into November, this could, by anyone's standards, be considered summer and quite a few others are similarly shaking their head at the calendar.

Westward Ho! - Beach

Dog walkers, mainly, since they're now allowed, out of season, onto the magnificent, two-mile stretch of Blue Flag beach that runs north to the top of Bideford Bay.

Thrillseekers are still out there surfing and Westward Ho! is one of Devon's destinations for those not wary of the wave but not brave enough for Newquay.

Westward Ho! - Surfers Westward Ho! - All Decked Out Westward Ho! - Pirate Boats

The small seafront, funfair has shut up shop for the season which is a shame since this pair might have been up for a Westward Yo-Ho-Ho! go on the Pirate Boats. That will have to wait until next July and August when the estimated three thousand available beds here will be all just about booked up, they say.

Things have been quite traditional so far but if you're imagining most of those beds to be in the static caravans or in quaint guest houses or in holiday cottages named after some old smuggler's something or other, here's a surprise.

They've thrown any planning regulations out of the floor-to-ceiling window and it's a modern, curvy free-for-all with this chap not quite able to believe it, neither.

Westward Ho! - Beach Apartments Westward Ho! - Horizon View

They've not stopped there with at least one more going up and this is currently one of North Devon's property-investment hot spots with most of these new, glassed developments being sold as 'Serviced Apartments'.

That's six months of the year they'll be sat here empty then although that's an opinion based on a near-Arctic perspective.

It's only just been realised today, however, they still have summer in November down here.

 
Horizon View (Bath Hotel Road)

A two-bedroomed, serviced apartment in Horizon View can set you back £1,200-a-week during the peak. If that all sounds a bit pricey, you can always check the prices for the other 2,998.