The quiet village of Rattery is conveniently situated for enjoying the delights of Dartmoor, the beautiful South Hams countryside, and the stunning South Devon coast.
Easily accessible from the main route through South Devon to Cornwall, Rattery is a quiet village with a cosy pub, close to the southern edge of Dartmoor. You may be pleased to hear that its name is believed to have derived from the words “red tree” rather than having anything to do with rodents! Rattery village is well-placed for exploring the moors, the beautiful rolling South Hams countryside, and stunning South Devon coastline beyond.
Being so close to Dartmoor you will, no doubt, want to get out and about to make the most of the vast and varied landscape of the moors, from bleak rocky outcrops, to swathes of heather moorland, and rivers rushing through deep wooded valleys, there is no better place to get close to nature and enjoy far-reaching rural views. A haven for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, Dartmoor is perfect for those looking for an active holiday outdoors.
You'll also discover that Dartmoor is home to many picturesque towns and villages with their quirky antiques shops, traditional tearooms and cosy pubs. There are so many places to stop, have walk or simply enjoy the view, but be sure to dress appropriately as the weather is notoriously changeable on Dartmoor!
Head south to visit vibrant and characterful market town of Totnes, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays when the markets are held. Or if you fancy a day slightly further afield, then why not explore the historic waterside towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe, or venture to the beach and walk the scenic South West Coast Path at Slapton, Torcross, Bantham, Thurlestone or Bigbury on Sea, to name just a few of the stunning beaches less than an hour's drive away.
A holiday cottage in Rattery is conveniently situated for enjoying the delights of Dartmoor, the beautiful South Hams countryside, and the stunning South Devon coast.
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.
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 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.
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.
Dartington is a very special attraction in South Devon, just outside Totnes. Welcoming more than 800,000 visitors from across the world every year, they offer events, courses, festivals and gardens to explore, as well as arts, crafts and artisan shops. It is many things to many people, but underpinning its appeal is its goal to stimulate new thinking and create a sustainable, enriching world. Visit to learn new skills, or simply to explore and do a spot of shopping, either way you will find a heart warming and welcoming experience with real value at its heart… and a very good lunch as well.
Set on Riverford Organic’s Wash Farm, the Riverford Field Kitchen serves delicious, freshly picked seasonal produce with organic meat and fish options all in a relaxed, friendly environment. Guests share tables with dishes passed around to share.
This historic thatched inn has been welcoming guests since 1320, and today serves good food including delicious all-day Sunday roasts, accompanied by local ales and wines from around the world. Family run with a great atmosphere.
The Cott Inn Cott Lane, Dartington, Totnes TQ9 6HE (T: 01803 863777)
A relaxed and friendly café serving wholesome vegetarian menus whatever the weather. Sit inside in the laid back kitchen on cooler days, or make the most of the outdoor seating area and surrounding gardens during the summer.
Cranks Kitchen The Shops at Dartington, Dartington TQ9 6JB (T: 01803 862388)
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!
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!
Between Dartmouth and Slapton, Blackpool Sands is a beautiful shingle bay on the South West Coast Path, surrounded by evergreens and pine trees. It really is a treasure of a beach to visit while you’re in the area. Award-winning, the privately owned, blue flag beach boasts a sense of being in the Mediterranean on a good day in the summer, although a good jumper never goes amiss in this part of the world! You will no doubt not be surprised to hear that it is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, however it also boasts ample facilities and things to do. There are showers, toilets and disabled facilities, as well as paddle board, kayak and wetsuit hire available for those wishing to earn their visit to The Venus Beach Café, where light bites and refreshments are served. The Venus Shop also sells all the bits and pieces you might want for fun and games on the beach if you have forgotten them or are in need of extra buckets and spades. The water at Blackpool Sands is known for being clean and clear and tested by the Environment Agency, and lifeguards are on hand in the summer (July to September) so there’s every reason to pop in for a dip. However, dogs are not allowed on the beach in the high season (12th March to 30th October) so keep the walking for the cooler months. There is parking available at the beach with seasonal charges, and you can find out more information on those from the Blackpool Sands information line on 01803 771800. This beach is easy to get to and quite literally fun and games for the whole family, as well as a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year to take in the view!
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.