Field Family

A perfect country bolt hole where you can slow down and enjoy nature in a beautiful and peaceful environment. Great for both adults and families.

Field FamilyAugust 2016
Dan,Victoria & Lily

The cottages are in the most peaceful and relaxing of settings. Are in a location that is perfect as a Base for exploring south devon. We’ve had a warm welcome and amazing stay every time.

Dan,Victoria & LilySeptember 2016
Prager Family

Lovely Cottages and surrounding land. There are a few other cottages but they in no way intrude on your privacy or peace. We were looking for somewhere quiet, safe for the dogs and baby and with good surrounding walks and this was perfect.

Prager FamilyJuly 2016
Manners Bell Family

The cottages are as cosy, clean and comfortable as they were when we first visited over 10 years ago. Our boys love the grounds, playing cricket on the games area. The dogs enjoy the walks and we just unwind!

Manners Bell FamilyMay 2016
Gray Family

We enjoyed 2 cozy nights by the log fire. Wifi was good and beds were comfy. House rules were clear and it was easy to keep the cottage tidy ….Would highly recommend these cottages. Families and dogs made very welcome.

Gray FamilyMarch 2016
Robin & Ros Priestley

The Owlery and Willows Cottages work so well. Our 10th visit to Dittiscombe and memorable times with grandchildren in Devon. Thank you.

Robin & Ros PriestleyEaster 2016

Family Friendly Dittiscombe

Watersports South DevonWith miles of perfect beaches and well-trodden footpaths, hidden coves and tumbling surf, indoor play and historic sites, there is something for children of all ages and interests. Walk, play, swim, sail, fish, and discover – it’s all here in the South Hams.

At Dittiscombe we have a selection of family friendly cottages sleeping 6, 4 or 2 guests plus cots, all with private gardens. We welcome dogs in these cottages too. Some of our cottages are attached with connecting gardens and extending dining tables for easy meals. Children have access to our exclusive wildlife areas for nature safaris and walks with the Dittiscombe Wildlife Detectives Pack to help identify those all-important finds. Fine out more about our conservation valley by reading Ruth’s Blog: In Pursuit of Spring.

Children will love the fresh air and freedom here. There is a play area set under the trees with a picnic table, swings, slide, small climbing wall and a woodland area, and there is a separate flat area for ball games. We supply crabbing lines, balls, games and bodyboards.

Nearby there is a selection of award winning beaches – from rockpools and wide shingle beaches, to fine sandy bays and coves; and Slapton Ley Field Study Centre in Slapton, just 2 miles from Dittiscombe, organises weekly events staged from May to September including a Badgers and Bat evenings, family fun with mini-beast adventures, and guided walks within the sanctuary areas of the nature reserve.

Easy outings with small children

There are a number of outings you can take with small children:
Park at Beesands, walk along by the shore towards Torcross, back inland next to South Milton Ley to watch theFamily holidays South Hams waterfowl, stop off at the small park for a go on the swings, then to the Cricket Inn for a cream tea.

Park at Torcross and check out the old Sherman Tank to find out about the D-day landing practices, watch or feed the wildfowl in the Ley, pop down to the beach for a paddle, then back to the Start Bay Inn for the best fish n’chips in the family room.

Park at Strete Gate and have a paddle on the beach, then try out the orienteering trail situated in the walled nature and picnic area.

Park at South Milton Sands and walk along the wooden walkway over the small stream, down the steps to the beach, and back to car park in time for an ice-cream at the Beach Hut.

Park in the Totnes Pavilion Leisure Centre and walk towards the river and weir; visit the South Devon Steam Railway for an enchanting ride along the Avon river on a steam train. On your way back drop into the Dartington Cider Press Centre for tea, followed by a stroll through the beautiful Dartington Estate gardens.

Time spent just playing on the beach building sandcastles and dams are the breath of life to children on holiday. There are some very special places to go to. Yarmer Beach at Thurlestone is great for rock-pooling as it has a good area of rocks to explore at low tide. For fine sandy beaches both Hope Cove, Mill Bay opposite Salcombe (read Julie’s Blog: No Passports Required!), and Bantham are perfect for sand sculpture. Blackpool Sands is ideal for a family day out with excellent facilities on site including award-winning Venus cafe, toilets, and water-sports hire and instruction.

Other great, clean beaches with facilities include Bigbury, Bantham (excellent for surfing and body boarding), Salcombe North Sands and Slapton Sands/Torcross.

For more information about beaches and facilities please visit the Good Beach Guide website.

Check out the Wildlife at Dittiscombe

Nature trail at DittiscombeTo encourage our young and not so young visitors to understand and enjoy the wildlife around them we provide a wildlife pack in each cottage called Dittiscombe Wildlife Detectives. Take a stroll around our ponds and woodland with the identification books provided – here is a sample of wildlife you might see:

Little Owls can be seen during the daytime around the old long barn, and perching on the stone ruins and apple tree guards in the orchard – they often see you before you see them as they are so well camouflaged.

Butterflies and Moths from as early as April through to September. Some live here, but others, like the Clouded Yellow butterfly and Hummingbird Hawkmoth, come from other countries to spend the summer here.

Tiny Frogs and Toads emerge from the ponds into the long grass in May and June, and later Dragonflies dance around the water.

Mushrooms and Toadstools can be found under trees and in the long grass from the Spring onwards, but especially in the Autumn.Ducklings, Moorhen and Little Grebe babies hide in the rushes in the ponds from May to August.

In early May the fox cubs are out playing with each other and learning to hunt. Early morning and evening are good times to look for them.From April onwards you may be lucky enough to see the Barn Owl hunting over the long grass at dusk. They won’t come out in wet weather as their feathers are not waterproof. Large white splashes in the trees and in the grass below the branches can tell you that a Barn Owl has been perching there.

On a warm evening Bats emerge around dusk and feed near trees and over the ponds. A good area to watch bats is in the hedge ‘corridor’ at the back of the cottages. These are usually Pipistrelles and Noctule bats.

And for Rainy Days

There’s still plenty to do on a rainy day and here are some ideas:

Steam train ride on the South Devon Railway starting at Totnes (combined with a visit to the Totnes Rare Breeds Centre), which follows the River Dart and ends at Buckfastleigh.South Devon Railway

Spend a day at Woodlands Leisure Park (just 5 miles from Dittiscombe) in their indoor play zone, or find the action zone, toddler zone and water slides.

Take the family to Dartmouth Golf & Country Club for a swim, sauna, jacuzzi and gym using our Privilege Plus membership at a reduced family price.

Make a visit to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth which is open all day and has a daily programme of activities and events for children.

A firm favourite with our guests is Paignton Zoo where you can close to over 2,000 animals from grand giraffes and cheetahs to the cheeky meercats and monkeys, plus an indoor play area and a Jungle Express train. A great day out for all the family.

  • Lots to do for children of all ages

  • Surfing, paddle boarding, sailing and kayaking

  • Perfect sandy beaches for those all important sandcastles!

  • Dittiscombe has swings, slide and flat area for ball games

  • Dittiscombe Detectives Nature Safari on site

  • Zoos, Aquariums, Castles and Fun Parks to explore