There is a certain satisfaction to be taken from others marvelling in the surrounds in which you live. If a West Countryman’s home is his castle then the land around it is his territory and he is well entitled to strut about it, with canine companion, like Lord of the Manor, breathing in the splendour of his empire and only waking from the illusion when passing another Lord, of the same Manor.
Hence, when arguably the most famous film director in the world waxes lyrical about the West Country we collectively sit back in our chairs, take a deep breath of satisfaction, try not to look too smug and say “we know!”.
Steven Spielberg brought Hollywood to Dartmoor last summer to make the film adaptation of War Horse. Already a smash hit in the West End, the seasoned director took a slice of the region and put it on the big screen to world-wide acclaim. Spielberg said of his time on the historic moor, “I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor”, praise indeed for Southern England’s largest area of open country.
It doesn’t stop there mind you; 2011 saw a string of the acting world’s biggest names descend upon the South West, led by directors keen to make the most of this vast and varied landscape. Pulses in Devon and Cornwall were set racing and women all over the region gave new credence to forgotten dreams of being whisked away by Messrs Depp and Pitt as both the Hollywood heart-throbs arrived on location to work on separate films; Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Marc Forster’s World War Z respectively. Depp was to be found shooting sceneson South Devon beaches whilst Pitt and family spent time in and around Falmouth and along the Cornish coastlines.
As well as playing a star role, the West Country has also provided inspiration to movie makers in recent times with titles such as We Bought A Zoo, starring Matt Damon and due to be released in March this year, recounting the story of Benjamin Mee and his purchase of a dilapidated zoo in Devon;Dartmoor Zoological Park now stands proudly as one of the county’s best attractions.
So the secret’s out and, fortunately for our average reader, you don’t have to have your name on Hollywood Boulevard to enjoy the benefits of a holiday in Cornwall or Devon, neither do you have to be married to someone who has. With holiday cottages in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset, Toad Hall Cottages have one of the largest portfolios of self-catering properties in the area so you’re sure to find the right place, in the right location, at the right price to make your very own West Country based blockbuster… just don’t forget your camera, there may well be some A-listers around.
Discover more famous film connections in our previous blog, On Location in the West Country.