BITE Focus


Kate Cox, CEO of Bray Leino takes us off piste as she explores the creativity of Devon, from the surf-bashed beaches, to the entrepreneurial buzz and the area's distinct digital culture.

Kate Cox, Bray Leino



I’m taking you off-piste, which is exactly what Devon is all about. It’s not a city, it is an inspiration. Creativity can be found in surprising places.

Dismantle your concept of a skyline. Devon is defined by coastlines, undulating hills, craggy tors on windswept moors, bare-faced sheer drops to shipwrecking rocks, a dual aspect outlook across the Channel or the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, a night sky shot with stars.

The south of the county is defined by long esplanade beachfronts, sailing, sophistication, Drake’s port city of Plymouth, and historic Exeter. Dartmoor, with its free-roaming ponies, deep, wooded valleys and steep, rocky outcrops, divides south from north Devon, an altogether wilder affair; Exmoor dominates much of the coastline, giving way to surf-bashed beaches and plunging cliffs. The lifestyle is calm, inspirational and active.

The people here are unique too. Devon entices those with an independent spirit, a confidence of mind and the desire to do things a little differently. There is an entrepreneurial buzz. Devon has developed a distinct progressive and digital culture, as those tired with a clone like existence elsewhere come here to be unique, be who they want to be and to really shine.

Everyone, it seems, owns a pair of wellies. Our commutes feature rogue pheasants and our traffic jams tend to be tractor or cow related. When we’re not working, we’re usually outside, taking advantage of the natural surroundings: walking, surfing, climbing, cycling.

Creativity springs up unexpected, for the finding. And that’s what makes Devon so rewarding: the genuine sense of discovery. There’s open space and room to think, inspiring landscapes and down-to-earth people. It’s grounding, and so very refreshing.

There’s a freedom here. It is very, very special indeed.

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Castrol Ambassador Club

Big global distributors are powerful. $millions of Castrol sales worldwide depend on them. It was clear that a big idea was needed to forge a partnership with these influential business owners: Bray Leino created The Castrol Ambassador Club. A global members’ club whereby the top distributors earned an invitation to be part of an elite group that had access to things money can’t buy, market insights, business gurus and incredible events.

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Go Here

This was a tough call. All the beaches in Devon are wonderful, with their own individual charm. Exmouth attracts kite surfers in their droves, Saunton is a magnet for sunseekers and nature enthusiasts (check out Braunton Burrows, the designated Biosphere) and Dartmouth for sailors. But Croyde beach ticks all the boxes: a compact, sandy beach with rockpools and dunes, carved into glorious green countryside. It’s great for water sports and attracts surfers from around the globe. The beach gets busy in summer, but that just adds to the energy. If beaches aren’t your thing, head to Darts Farm, near the beautiful town of Topsham, for one of finest retail experiences in the UK, or Salcombe for a leisurely stroll around the picturesque village exploring foody delights, before hopping aboard to sail to the next idyllic mooring.

Go Here:
Croyde Beach

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For international brand Tefal, their problem was how to launch a breakfast range targeting an urbanite, savvy audience that didn’t have the brand in their sights. This audience were decidedly more interested in social media and blogging than toasters and kettles. So, Bray Leino commissioned food artists and bloggers Fresh Heather to recreate great works of art. Using toast. Sales popped as a result and the range quickly sold out in the UK and overseas.

Eat Here

Barricane Beach cafeOn summer evenings, locals and in-the-know visitors head to a sandy cove, accessed via a breathtakingly steep series of steps, to enjoy authentic Sri Lankan curry on the beach, watching the sun set. It’s gluten-free, with options for vegans. Don’t forget to BYO. 

Lympstone Manor & The River Exe CaféFor something a little more refined, Michael Caines MBE is now serving some of the finest food and drink around at this riverside country house hotel in East Devon. The food speaks for itself, earning a Michelin star within six months of opening. From the wonderful grounds, you can also spot the River Exe Café, a floating restaurant in the middle of the Exe estuary for some incredible local seafood, only accessible by boat! 

The Pig at CombeI can’t get enough of The Pig restaurants and the Devon offering, a sprawling Elizabethan pile nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Otter Valley, really delivers. The 25-mile menu means anything which isn’t produced on the grounds is locally sourced, so there’s plenty of fresh seafood and meat available. And what a treat to accompany aperitifs with a pre-meal spa treatment!

Eat Here:
The Pig at Combe
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Milk & More

Plastic isn’t fantastic, that’s why Bray Leino brought the good old-fashioned milkman back with a bang, and a clink. A project we were personally passionate about, keen to change consumer habits, we focused on delivering glass bottles to front doors across the country. Alongside this, we communicated the full artisan offering: “The Best of Britain, bottled”.

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