The peaceful hamlet of Didworthy is well placed for exploring the rugged beauty of Dartmoor, whilst being within easy reach of the stunning South Devon coast and countryside.
The peaceful hamlet of Didworthy on the south western edge of Dartmoor National Park enjoys an idyllic and tranquil location, whilst being only a few minutes' drive from the bustling village of South Brent with its wide range of independent shops, traditional tea rooms and friendly pubs.
Dartmoor offers visitors a rich and varied landscape, from bleak rocky outcrops, to vast expanses of heather moorland, and rushing rivers flowing through lush wooded valleys. The best way to fully appreciate the natural scenery is either on foot, bike, kayak or horseback, but if you are driving, be prepared to come across sheep in the road!
From Didworthy, there is a lovely scenic walk starting a short way upstream at Shipley Bridge, that follows the river Avon along a tree-lined section that gradually becomes more barren and windswept as your approach the Avon Dam at the top.
If you fancy a day at the coast, there are several outstanding beaches in the South Hams, including Bigbury-on-Sea, Bantham, and Blackpool Sands, as well as the popular South West Coast Path for blustery clifftop walks with breathtaking views.
A holiday cottage in Didworthy offers a peaceful escape where you can easily immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Dartmoor, and explore the stunning South Devon countryside, traditional seaside towns, family-friendly beaches and magnificent coastline.
Founded in 1895, Wrangaton Golf Club is situated on the southern slopes of Dartmoor between Ivybridge and South Brent. Today the nine hole course continues to be a rugged and raw experiences, underlined by the natural beauty of the area - the rich Devonshire countryside and the coastline and the sea 10 miles away. It is a test of any golfer’s ability, and it is said that you never play the same hole twice. Warm and welcoming, visitors are invited to attend with green fees starting at £22.50 for 18-holes. Feel free to pop into the clubhouse afterwards to have a snack, drink or perhaps a traditional Sunday lunch to round off your day.
If you have spent any time in South Devon before, chances are you’ve heard of Pennywell Farm. A petting zoo taken to another level, you can visit with the family for piggy cuddles, egg collecting, goat milking, bottle feeding orphan lambs, seed planting for home grown souvenirs, treasure hunts, pond dipping, pony pampering and deer feeding amongst other things from 10am to 5pm seven days a week. There are a variety of ticket options available and children under the age of three go for free. There’s a number of options for eating while you’re there from the coffee cabin, to Henny Penny café, ice creams and picnic tables in the summer. They have won numerous awards and for anyone on holiday with the dog they have a kennel on site which is free of charge while you potter about – just remember to bring their bed and water bowl.
In an exceptionally beautiful attraction, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies is a friendly place to visit for the whole family while you’re on holiday in South Devon. Learn about tropical butterflies in their specially designed habitat, feel the rainforest atmosphere, and see the butterflies’ life cycle unfold. Over at the Otter Sanctuary there are three species of otter to see including the native British otter, the Asian short clawed otter, and the North American river otter. The sanctuary is also home to terrapins, leafcutter ants, and reptiles with lots of events available to see throughout the year, including feeding time with the otters! It is located just outside the southern border of Dartmoor National Park between Exeter and Plymouth, there’s free parking, a café, picnic areas and lots to see and learn, all while supporting the wonderful work of a team who strive to preserve the wildlife of the planet and ensure sustainable breeding and rehabilitation of otters and butterflies. Opening times are seasonal to keep an eye on the website for more information.
A wonderfully traditional West Country attraction, The South Devon Railway (SDR) is a seven-mile former branch of the Great Western Railway from 1872. Running through the valley of the River Dart from Buckfastleigh to Totnes you can board a steam train with heritage rolling stock whatever the weather and whatever age you are. Dogs are welcome on the train for a nominal charge and seasonal charges vary. Step up the luxury on a dining train, or for really special occasions there are options to drive a train for a day or hire one for private events. While you’re there, other attractions close by include the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies, to really make a day of it.
Offering indoor and outdoor rock climbing in Devon and Cornwall, Dart Rock Climbing Centre in Buckfastleigh offers a friendly and encouraging environment to practice a skill you have already mastered, or to learn something new while you’re there. The 10-metre high climbing centre offers a diverse range of routes on four climbing walls, training boards, teaching areas and in the classroom so that you get the most out of your session, and caters to beginners, experienced climbers, families and groups. The centre is open daily but with some restrictions for private classes at the weekends and prices vary according to your requirements. Remember to wear comfortable and practical clothing and trainers.
A stylish fine dining restaurant, where Michelin starred chef and Masterchef winner Anton Piotrowski serves up exciting and creative menus, using the best local and seasonal produce. Take a cocktail in the relaxing bar, or try a whisky of wine tasting before your evening meal with the professional sommelier.
A beautiful old mill set in six acres of grounds housing a large restaurant and bar open for breakfasts, family meals, Sunday lunches and romantic dinners. Classic menus full of locally sourced, freshly produced dishes are accompanied by a carefully selected wine list and a selection of local ales, beer and ciders on tap.
A tastefully modernised 16th century free house serving a wide variety of locally sourced seafood, steaks and vegetarian options both a la carte in the restaurant or from the more relaxed Pub Menu served in the bar. All meals are beautifully presented and accompanied by an extensive wine list or range of local beers and ciders.
The Ship InnThe Square, Ugborough PL21 0NS (T: 01752 892565)
Here you’ll find quality real ales, home cooked food and a good selection of wines along with a pretty beer garden overlooking the valley. A great spot for a meal or few drinks after enjoying the walks in the area.
In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wonwell is a sandy beach on the east shore of the Erme river which joins Mothecombe at low tide. It affords visitors a large expanse to explore and is accessed via a woodland path from the road which takes about 10 minutes.
Alternatively, there is a slipway from the road to the shore of the river and at low tide you can walk along the edge to the beach itself, so make sure you get your timings right to make the most of this one.
Parking is limited at Wonwell Beach so keep that in mind when you’re heading over. Road parking allows for around 20 cars depending on their size and there aren’t really any facilities around, although there are toilets nearby. This does mean you need to be prepared if you’re heading there for the best part of the day, but also makes for a very peaceful experience whether it’s lounging about on the sand with a picnic in the summer, or a stroll in the cooler months, simply taking in the atmosphere.
Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round so it’s the perfect place to take them for a run around. Something to be careful of – do keep an eye on the tide to avoid getting cut off when it comes in and getting very wet en route back to dry land!
Glorious beach at the mouth of the Erme. Narrow lanes and very limited parking. No toilets, cafes etc - wonderful! Turning circle for cars just before the beach but expect to have to reverse back up the access lane to allow cars that are leaving to go back. A nightmare on Bank Holidays - parking almost impossible and expect to have to negotiate very tight spaces.
Roughly one kilometre (20 minutes depending on your pace) from the National Trust car park at Ringmore, and with a selection of footpaths to get to it, Ayrmer Cove is a quiet secluded beach on the South West Coast Path.
For anyone on holiday in South Devon it’s a peaceful place to sit and contemplate the natural scenery amongst the shingle, pebbles and rock pools, admiring the cliffs. It makes for a beautiful destination to walk to from Ringmore itself, which is a small village (population 230) with views towards the cove itself as well as Bigbury Bay – it makes for a wonderful holiday cottage destination in South Devon as well as a place to visit as part of your day.
Walking to the beach allows you to discover the surrounding woodland, wildlife and history of the area – taking in old smugglers’ routes and hedgerows that have been in situ since the 1800s.
It is a little tricky to get to so it’s not ideal for wheelchairs, and there aren’t any toilets or facilities at the beach itself so if you want to stay for a little while don’t forget to take snacks or a picnic if the weather is right. This is all about enjoying the environment that’s such a proud part of the National Trust – it’s everything a holiday in Devon is about, and yes, dogs are permitted all year round and will very much enjoy the walk!
One of South Devon’s quieter beaches, Mothecombe is a large and unspoiled, privately owned stretch of sand that’s open every day, all year round. Having won an award from the Marine Conservation Society for its clean sea and sand, you can be assured that relaxing here and pottering about in the water is going to be a happy, healthy and pleasant experience for all in this sheltered corner of Devon. For those wanting to try out water sports, Mothecombe offers the ideal conditions for windsurfing, kayaking, body boarding and generally enjoying the water, particularly for beginners as it’s a comparatively gentle environment in which to give it a go. Given its pristine nature, it will probably come as no surprise that dogs are not allowed on the beach in high season, so keep an eye out for signs for more information, but best to steer clear with furry friends from May to September. There is a car park from which you can access the beach down a narrow path, so it’s not ideal for wheelchair users, but is otherwise conveniently close by. There’s also a tea house in the car park for drinks and snacks and there are toilets nearby as well, so pending the tides you can spend a good day here enjoying the natural scenery and all the fun that it brings with it, whether that’s for the whole family, on a romantic afternoon in the summer sun, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet of this less populated park of the coastline.
Close to Kingsbridge, Challaborough Bay is a sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that’s perfect for enjoying all the seaside activities nature can afford.
At low tide the beach is ideal for visiting families to build sandcastles and explore the rock pools, while the swells and shore breaks also attract surfers and bodyboarders. There are some beautiful walks along the coast path that surrounds it, heading towards Bigbury on Sea in particular.
Making it an ideal spot to spend the day, the beach has toilets, a café and a beach shop close by, although access is via steps and small paths so accessibility isn’t wheelchair friendly. There is a car park but it’s rather small, so it’s good to know that a 15-minute walk to Bigbury will see ample parking available – seasonal charges apply so remember to bring cash with you.
While four legged friends are welcome in the winter, they are not allowed on the beach between May and September, so do plan their walks with that in mind. It’s a lovely spot along the coast path to bring them to, you can even beach hop from one to the next!
At the mouth of the Avon River, Bantham beach is easy to reach from Salcombe, Kingsbridge and our other favourite holiday home locations, as well as being a beautiful area to stay in its own right.
The beach looks out over Bigbury Bay and offers a wonderful view of Burgh Island, which is famous for its art deco hotel of the same name that has hosted Agatha Christie and Noel Coward amongst its illustrious guests an can reach by sea tractor.
Bantham beach has a popular reputation amongst both novice and advanced surfers, and as such there are lessons available from the Bantham Surfing Academy, which operates from the beach. They also offer other water sports including paddle boarding, and a day pottering up the Avon River on one of those when the tide is right, is a day well spent.
When the tide is out at Bantham the sandy beach reveals rock pools and great swathes of space so you can happily set up a picnic and stay there for the whole day. If the mood strikes, why not walk along the coast path towards Thurlestone around the corner, and South Milton Sands beyond that, particularly as it’s also a popular beach for dog owners? Just keep in mind that from 1st May until 30th September restrictions apply, so look out for signposts with more information.
If you’re spending the whole day on the beach it’s worth popping to the Gastrobus which is open seasonally in the car park, offering everything from freshly made baps to coffees, teas and cakes, or for a larger meal head the short walking distance to The Sloop Inn gastropub.
There is plenty of parking available by Bantham, with charges from £3.50 per day, so make sure you have change on you as it’s a bit tricky to find parking otherwise. There are toilets in the car park, and from May to October from 10am until 6pm there is also lifeguard cover on the beach. All in, Bantham has something to offer everyone throughout the year and is one of many beautiful locations to spend time while you’re in South Devon.