Two and a half years ago I moved from Yorkshire to Devon with my partner John and two cats in tow. The move was prompted by a desire to live by the sea and the realisation that the North Sea off the Yorkshire Coast was just a little too cold for comfort.
I sold my eco-bag business in Sheffield, licensed my giftware brand to Judge Sampson in Hastings and set out life as an illustrator for hire and map maker extraordinaire! We settled in Exmouth, a sleepy seaside town on the South Devon coast that’s seen better days but under the direction of British design guru Wayne Hemingway is about to be thrust into the 21st Century, which will hopefully make the most of its natural resources. Exmouth has two miles of golden sand and clear blue sea, which is warm enough to swim over half of the year if you enjoy the salty brine as indeed do I.
Having been brought up in the Midlands and spent most of my adult life in a northern industrial city, living by the sea is a novelty and not a week goes by when I’m not walking on the beach. Artists have been drawn to Exmouth for centuries, lured by the amazing sunrises and sunsets that bathe the town at both ends of the day. We often wake up or wind down under a magenta pink sky.
The sea is a draw for me however another of the area’s wonderful assets is the Exe Estuary, home to thousands of migrating birds, which I’ve discovered and come to love since I moved to Devon. I now know my Avocet from my Oyster Catcher and have come to admire the stunning stamina of the Bar Tailed Godwit! My Exe Estuary design for local food retailer and lifestyle store Darts Farm captures some of the local wildlife and scenery. I often get the bus to Topsham and walk the seven miles home, with a couple of pub pit stops on route!
It is true to say that we eat like kings in Devon. Exmouth is famous for its mussels. Fish is straight from fishing boats at Budleigh Salterton beach.
Vegetables are home grown and summer fruit is from the hedgerow or trees in our garden. Indeed virtually every house in Devon is home to at least one apple tree! I’ve also discovered the delights of Devon Apple Cake but when it comes to Devon Scones I’m a traitor … it’s jam first for me!