Meet the team
Meet the South West 660 Team – a group of people who love the west country and all it offers. We are all passionate about encouraging responsible, sustainable tourism in our beautiful corner of the UK.
Mark Godfrey FIH MI, Director and Founder
Mark has 30 years’ experience and knowledge of the hospitality industry – working his way up from a trainee manager with De Vere Hotels back in the late 1980’s to his current position as Executive Director and shareholder of the Deer Park Country House.
Mark loves to walk and has completed an Everest Base Camp trek, a big trek in the Andes to Machu Pichu and is currently walking the 670 miles of the South West Coast Path…
Ruud Jansen-Venneboer, Director and Founder
Born in the Netherlands, but a true ‘Devonian’ since 2007, Ruud Jansen Venneboer has an abundance of hospitality experience.
Owner of Mazzard Farm holiday cottages just outside Ottery St Mary, Ruud has chaired many a tourism committee, as well as co-founding both Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival and Taste East Devon Festival.
Ruud loves sport, travel and photography, as well as lifting a pint in one of the South West’s beautiful pubs.
Chris Jackson, Director and Founder
Chris has owned and run businesses all his life. He founded HAS Technology and was Chief Technical Officer for 15 years, while the company grew from a startup to £15m turnover.
He now renovates period properties to create wonderful homes, and is Treasurer of The Beehive, a charity to support vulnerable girls in Kenya.
Chris moved to Devon with his family in 2009 and loves the South West and all that it encompasses.
Lauren Heath, Communications Manager
Born in South Africa, and after immigrating to the UK in her early teens, Lauren found her way to Devon in 2013 as she felt it offered everything she enjoyed during her wild and free outdoor childhood.
She has been writing about food and drink online and in print for 7 years and has been writing blogs for South West 660 since 2022.
She loves the South West and enjoys adventuring in her electric car, and finding any excuse to wild swim whilst sniffing out the best local food and drink especially good coffee or English wine.
Gary Holpin, Photographer
Gary is a professional Devon photographer, as well as being the in-house photographer for SW660 with many of the photos on the website being his.
He only got into photography whilst walking the amazing South West Coast Path in 2010, but is now a well published photographer and author, and widely recognised for his vibrant landscape photos.
Gary specialises in landscape photography showing the beauty of the region, as well as providing commercial photography to businesses across Devon and the wider South West. www.garyholpin.co.uk
Simon Heptinstall, Freelance Writer
Former taxi-driver, cider-maker and Top Gear writer Simon Heptinstall has lived, worked and driven all over the west country.
Now an award-winning travel and motoring writer, he wrote the SW660 route and continues to be involved behind-the-scenes, planning, writing, promoting and drinking St Austell beer.
He likes Exeter City, scallops and Volvos.
Favourite bit of the SW660: driving across the third-of-a-mile Teignmouth to Shaldon bridge at high tide, sun flickering on waves just a few feet below the carriageway.