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Sidmouth

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Arms of Sidmouth Town Council
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Arms of Sidmouth Town Council
Sidmouth during the folk festival
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Sidmouth during the folk festival

Sidmouth is a small town of 14,400 on the east Devon coast in south west England about 15 miles south east of Exeter. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is on the Jurassic Coast world heritage site and the South West coast path, a long distance footpath that skirts almost all of the coast in the West Country of England. The principal income of the town is from tourism.

The town holds an annual folk festival in early August attracting musicians and tourists from around the world.

The town is also popular as a retirement community, with about 60% of the population being over retirement age.

Sidmouth has many independent retailers, including a surprisingly big department store. There are several pubs, restaurants, coffee houses and tea rooms. The town also boasts an indoor swimming pool, a college, sports hall, cinema, and golf course.

History

once a relatively small fishing village and failed port, Sidmouth became a fashionable resort for the gentry in the early 19th century. The town's numerous fine Georgian and Regency villas and mansions are now mostly hotels, but have lost none of their charm in the conversion. The Lockyer Observatory and Planetarium, completed in 1912, fell into disuse and ruin but was saved from demolition by the appeals of local enthusiasts to East Devon District Council. The observatory now operates as a science education project and is regularly open to the public.

At one time Sidmouth was connected to the railway network by a branch line, but this was dismantled under the Beeching Axe in the 1960s.

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