Many people think of Devon and imagine white sandy beaches, luscious green meadows full of wildlife, and warm, friendly pubs where the locals welcome you like one of their own… but this county has a dark side.
Scary tales and ghost stories abound in this beautiful part of the South West – legends that would frighten even the bravest traveller. There are hidden rooms, lost ships and spirits that may have been around since Anglo-Saxon Britain just waiting to haunt you.
Here, we reveal 10 of the most haunted places in Devon:
A horror story of sibling rivalry taken to the extreme occurred at this 12th century, gothic castle. Lady Margaret Pomeroy spent nearly 20 years imprisoned in the castle dungeons at the hands of her sister, Lady Eleanor. A mysterious white lady now haunts the residence. Renowned for spirits, read here for more chilling ghost stories at this location.
Reportedly one of the UK’s most haunted pubs with a 300-year history. A secret tunnel is rumoured to connect to the nearby church, but the entrance has long been forgotten. If anyone were to rediscover the tunnel, they may find a host of eerie secrets best left hidden. The apparitions of a coachman, a young girl, and a grumpy old man have all been sighted here.
B3212, Dartmoor National Park
The eerie silence of the moors at night is enough to make anyone paranoid, but this creepy stretch of road is particularly terrifying. People claim a ghost is the cause of the unnaturally high number of driving accidents. They say a pair of hairy hands tries to grab the steering wheel of drivers and force them off the road. Beware when passing through.
Once a courtroom with a hook to hang guilty criminals, guests at this 13th-century inn regularly report seeing the ghosts of criminals swinging by their neck. In its 600-year history, this inn has seen many guests come and go. Ghostly cavaliers have been sighted standing around and a spooky woman in black is regularly seen roaming the corridors.
This Norman Manor House in Ilfracombe dates back to the 11th century. The residence is said to be haunted by a woman who, after suffering injuries in a shipwreck off the North Devon coast, sought refuge but died – her skeleton being discovered years after her death. Rumour has it the cradle in the chamber where she was found moves on its own, while a ghostly face has also been photographed…
It seems an angry spirit haunts this 13th-century pub as all kinds of unusual and frightening occurrences have taken place, including clocks being thrown across rooms and glass bowls pelted at staff. Residents have also seen a man dressed in layers of clothes hovering nearby an ancient Anglo-Saxon well in the pub grounds.
Mortehoe, North Devon Coast
Many sailors have met their end on this notorious stretch of coast. Mortehoe was home to wreckers who would lure ships into the rocks and salvage goods from the wreckage. It was illegal to claim salvage from a wrecked ship if its sailors were still alive onboard, so wreckers disposed of anyone who survived the devastating rocks of Morte Point.
Barnstaple Cinema and Guildhall, Barnstaple
Barnstaple is full of ghosts. In 1931, a man fell to his death while repairing the Barnstaple Cinema roof then after 2000, movie-goers began reporting sightings of the spirit of this unfortunate worker. Unnaturally large animals have also been sighted in town and the souls of two men are said to reside at The Guildhall, although the cause of death is a mystery.
One of our spookiest ghost stories, this castle is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who would marry men only to poison them. People claim to have seen her riding back-and-forth between Dartmoor and Okehampton in a carriage made of her dead husbands’ bones. As this castle is over 1000-years-old, she may not be the only tormented spirit sighted at this location...
This ancient country pub is 400-years-old, yet the ghost that haunts the property is believed to be relatively recently deceased - a former customer in fact! He was a taxi driver and, although no sightings have been reported as yet, there are instances of strange footsteps, moving objects and dogs reacting in peculiar ways to an unseen presence.
Now that you have uncovered the spooky secrets of Devon, you will see that this beautiful county has a dark and terrifying past.
Do you dare face the ghosts and ghouls of Devon? Take a look at our scarily good holiday cottages, B&Bs, holiday parks and hotels to pick out a spooky family stay, a dog-friendly escape or a luxurious retreat for two at Halloween.