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Enterprising Environment


North Devon is renowned for its scenic beauty, whether it is the 50 miles of Heritage Coastline or the beautiful countryside, rivers and moors further inland. It is less well recognised as the location where products such as chipboard, Dartington Crystal, fire engines, electronic switch gear, pharmaceuticals, cotton wool and ships are manufactured or built.

Many multi-national companies discovered the advantages of North Devon during the Seventies and early Eighties, attracted by Government financial help under the Assisted Area Status designation. Now, again, much of North Devon has this government assistance for new and existing businesses engaged in manufacturing.

The area stands ready to welcome newcomers with a range of greenfield and serviced sites, together with a choice of new and used built units and factories.

Many companies find that they can source a great deal of their bought out items and services from other local businesses. This has given the area a measure of self sufficiency, as well as producing a well integrated business community.

Retail and Industry

Whilst major industrial and retail development has been focused upon the regional centre of Barnstaple, both Councils are providing serviced sites and built units in Barnstaple, Bideford, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe and South Molton.

All major settlements have centres of industrial activity, most with expansion potential and a number with serviced sites. English Partnerships and the Rural Development Commission have provided workshop units in many smaller communities. Bideford remains a working port and nearby Appledore, with its centuries long shipbuilding tradition, boasts the largest covered dry dock in Europe. In contrast, Bideford is also the location of the UK's principle manufacturer of domestic size snooker and pool tables. Torrington is home to the renowned Dartington Crystal, so well loved at home and abroad.

The industrial base of North Devon is broad, as are the range of skills of an acknowledged loyal workforce.


Agriculture is the traditional industry of North Devon and the progressive changes and difficulties which have beset the farming communities are well known to most. Holsworthy and South Molton are ancient agricultural centres, still having weekly cattle markets. However, here too, machine tool, chipboard and aerospace companies are now to be found.


Tourism has become a major contributor to the local economy and a profile of North Devon countryside is shown later. The natural beauty of North Devon has proved a powerful magnet for businesses whose location is less significant to their success.

This is not a slow and sleepy backwater but an outstanding natural environment where the potential for industrial success has been proved by many and where, on inspection, communication will be seen to be far more convenient than might have been imagined. Recent developments in electronic communications have further reduced considerations of the periphery.

Come and see for yourself.

Contact information

Economic Development
North Devon Council
Civic Centre
North Walk
Devon EX31 1EA

Telephone: 01271 388368
For Typetalk: precede with 18001
Fax: 01271 372196
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