North Devon

North Devon

Coordinates: 51°04′52″N 4°03′29″W / 51.081°N 4.058°W / 51.081; -4.058

This article is about the region of England. For the breed of cattle, see North Devon cattle.
North Devon District
—  Non-metropolitan district  —
North Devon shown within Devon
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South West England
Non-metropolitan county Devon
Status Non-metropolitan district
Admin HQ Barnstaple
Incorporated 1 April 1974
 - Type Non-metropolitan district council
 - Body North Devon Council
 - Leadership Leader and Cabinet (Liberal Democrat / Independent)
 - MPs Nick Harvey
 - Total 419.3 sq mi (1,085.9 km2)
Area rank 23rd (of 326)
Population (2010 est.)
 - Total 91,500
 - Rank 250th (of 326)
 - Density 218.2/sq mi (84.3/km2)
 - Ethnicity 99.0% White
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 - Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
ONS code 18UE
OS grid reference SS5586233371

North Devon is the northern part of the English county of Devon. It is also the name of a local government district in Devon. Its council is based in Barnstaple. Other towns and villages in the North Devon District include Braunton, Fremington, Ilfracombe, Instow, South Molton, Lynton and Lynmouth. The district was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the Barnstaple municipal borough, the Ilfracombe and Lynton urban districts, and Barnstaple Rural District and South Molton Rural District.

The wider geographic area of North Devon is divided between North Devon District and the district of Torridge, based in Bideford.



North Devon is popular with retired people. The 2001 census showed 15 454 (18%) people aged 14 years and under, 54 413 (62%) aged 15–64 and 17 651 (20%) aged 65 and over. For comparison, the same age distributions across England are 19%, 65% and 16% respectively. People over 65 helped to live at home is below the national average. Life expectancy for men, at 76.9, is close to the national average, and increasing more slowly than throughout England. Female life expectancy is good at 82.1; and rising in line with England. There is a gap of 6 years in the life expectancy of people in the highest fifth of wards and the lowest fifth.


North Devon District Council is elected every four years, with currently 43 councillors being elected at each election. From the first election to the council in 1973 to 1987 the council was controlled by independents. This was followed by a period under Liberal Democrat control until the Conservative Party took control at the 2007 election. Following the most recent election in 2011 however the Conservatives lost their majority and a coalition between the Liberal Democrats and independents took control of the council. As of the 2011 election the council is composed of the following councillors:-[1]

Party Councillors
  Conservative Party 18
  Liberal Democrats 14
  Independent 11


The area is well served by transport in relation to its neighbours to the east and west, Torridge and West Somerset. The rump of the post-Beeching railway network has left a branch line to Exeter. The region is linked by three A roads. The primary link is the A361 (known locally as the Link Road) which was constructed between 1986 and 1989. It heads north-west from the M5 motorway, past South Molton, to Barnstaple, with the classification continuing then northwards along older roads to Ilfracombe. The modern Link Road continues westwards from Barnstaple as the A39 where it is designated the Atlantic Highway. The eastern section of the A39 links Barnstaple to Lynton, then traverses the northern coastal hills of Exmoor into Somerset.

The other two A roads are the A399, a minor local route between Ilfracombe and South Molton (used as a de facto Barnstaple-bypass to Woolacombe), and the A377, which is the main road between Barnstaple and the county town of Devon, Exeter.

Due to significant peak time traffic delays in Barnstaple, coupled with severe congestion at both peak and non-peak times in the summer when tourist traffic is at its busiest, the Barnstaple Western Bypass was opened in 2007.


Due to the historically agricultural nature of the economy, many areas of North Devon were considered deprived. The average income for the district is 73% of the average for the United Kingdom as a whole.

The largest employers in the area are the National Health Service, mainly through North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, and the Ministry of Defence, at Royal Marines Base Chivenor and Arromanches Camp, Instow, and North Devon Council.

Ilfracombe, seen from 447 feet (136 metres) above. The viewpoint (Hillsborough) is part of the South West Coastal Path


Barnstaple is on the River Taw estuary, and functions both as the main service centre and the administrative centre for North Devon Council. The population of 34,000 excludes the exurbs of Bickington, Landkey, Ashford and Shirwell, suburban villages outside of the main urban area of Barnstaple itself but that are dependent on the main settlement for services and employment.


The region is one of the most homogenous in England, with 99.0% of the population putting their race on the 2001 census as White. This means North Devon is ranked 318 out of 354 where rank 1 has the lowest percentage of white people and rank 354 has the highest percentage of white people.

See also


External links

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