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AS WE TURN off the motorway and into the country lanes it is like throwing our car down a green tunnel. I feel like Alice down the rabbit hole. One minute in the A30 tail back the next in England’s green and pleasant land where we can wind the windows down and actually hear the birds sing.  I love meandering around the West Country from Daphne du Maurier’s Cornwall to Devon and the stark beauty of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Dartmoor
Driving along the impossibly narrow country roads with their high hedges edging patchwork fields, you never know what you are going to find around the next tight corner. What you find is nearly always good: An old watermill, a picturesque pub, a stone village. Sometimes of course it is a tractor, in which case expect to be reversing back up said country lane and getting tangled in the hedgerows.  It is all part of the fun however and we managed it without a scratch to our shiny Mercedes, although we did get the odd bramble caught in the door. Because of course the other joy of touring is doing it in luxury.
Devon dartmoor
devon driving
devon travel
hotel endleigh
Mercedes E


With some of the country’s most impressive manor houses dotted around these counties, you just have to arrive in style. Hence the E class (see box below). Hiring a luxury car really makes a driving holiday special. And after all as the prestige car website said; “if you enjoy the comforts of business and first class airline travel, why not indulge in first class vehicle comfort when renting your next car? Yep OK, I’m sold.

Five Best Devon Driveways to make an entrance on

Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park, North Bovey, Devon
Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Okehampton, Devon
Hotel Endsleigh, Milton Abbot, Devon
Thurlestone Hotel, Thurlestone, Devon 
Combe House Hotel, Gittisham, Honiton, Devon
Five Best Driving Roads in Devon & Cornwall

Now you have your prestige car. Why not enjoy it?

B3224 Wheddon Cross to Raleigh’s Cross

If the idea of time-travelling back  50 years and roaring through beautiful countryside in an open-tourer appeals to you, then this is probably the best road in Southern England upon which to negotiate long fast bends and feel the wind in your face.  Traversing the Brendons at between 1000 and 1300 feet the two-lane B3224 really does offer motoring at its rural best.

B3306 St Ives to St Just

Always winding, sometimes narrow, the remarkable coast road which follows the northern littoral of the West Penwith peninsula is breathtakingly beautiful. Perhaps in high summer it is a road best avoided, but at this time of year you can enjoy views of the dramatic granite moors as they plunge, with much rocky ado, into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. A few squat villages, some old mines, and a number of excellent pubs along the way – what more could a motorist ask for?

B3170 Blackdown Hills

The wide open expanses of the Blackdown Hills offer an ideal hunting ground for old-fashioned wide-open roads because the A0NB is based on a high flat plateau – which is why they built so many aerodromes up there in World War II. The often empty two lane road which leads from Wellington Monument east to join the B3170 is one of the best as it curves south between its beautiful beech hedges to eventually join the overly busy A303.

B3212 Moretonhampstead to Two Bridges

Frustrating for its first few miles, this road has to do a lot of zigging and zagging as it climbs to the moors, but all the way you experience a growing sense of anticipation. Then, as you cross the cattle grid near Lettaford, it all becomes worthwhile. For now we are up onto the roof of Devon and motoring along what must be the most open road in all the Westcountry. Vast moorland and views accompany every rev and gear-change of the way, albeit at under the speed limit of 40 mph..

A39 Porlock to Lynmouth

Saving the best ’til last, we climb the steepest hill on any main road in the UK and ascend out of pretty Porlock to reach Exmoor's high coastal ridge. It’s not surprising that this dramatic stretch of the A39 has been used in many a car advert. Stunning views reveal themselves at every touch and turn. Here there are purple heather moors, now glimpses of the sea 1400 feet below. And finally, we are introduced to the vertiginous panorama of Lynmouth Bay, which may startle vertigo sufferers but delight everyone else.

Luxury Links


DriveAway Holidays

DriveAway Holidays now offers the latest prestige and luxury car hire models so you can drive your dream car! In the UK Driveaway’s Prestige  hire offers Mercedes CLA Class, SKL Class, E Class Cabrio, Vito; range of Mini Coopers - S class & countryman; Audi A5 , Q5, A7, TT; BMW 3 coupe series, 6 series & X3; Porsche Boxster, 997  & Cayman; Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB9 Convertible; Ferrari California. Vehicles are guaranteed, delivery and return are included – conditions apply. www.driveaway.com.au/prestige-car-rental

DriveAway also offers a wide range of car hire – over 8,000 locations in 130 countries with leading suppliers. The Europcar Luxury Car Hire is more flexible than the Prestige in terms of collection and returns but models aren’t guaranteed – in the UK examples are Porsche Boxsters; Mercedes S320, E class, ML250; Porsche Cayman, Audi A3 Cabrio; BMW 525.www.driveaway.com.au

Hilary Doling 15/3/15                                                              Best roads courtesy of The Western Morning News
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