Relax in our unique and tranquil South Hams valley near the beautiful beaches of South Devon

Come and enjoy the retreat of Dittiscombe Estate & Cottages set in a spacious 20-acre rewilded valley,
situated 3 miles from Start Bay beaches in the beautiful South Hams area.

Read on to find out more!

Aerial view of Dittiscombe Estate & CottagesStone barns, Cottages and the old Farmhouse set amongst woodland, meadows and rewilded gardens and grounds, Dittiscombe is just a few minutes’ drive to Slapton Village, Slapton Ley and the unspoilt beaches of Start Bay. Nearest towns Kingsbridge (6 miles), Dartmouth (7 miles), Salcombe (9 miles), Totnes (11 miles). See the map here.

Across the pond in the valleySix stone barns and cottages comfortably converted, sleeping 2 – 6 guests, all individually laid out and designed around the original farm buildings with private gardens. Wifi and TVs with streaming in all cottages, log-burners,  and access to the nature trail and unique valley of Dittiscombe. Read more on the individual cottage pages.

Dogs welcome to play on the flat area at DittiscombeDittiscombe is super dog friendly with 20 acres for dogs and their owners to enjoy from the cottage door. The surrounding villages and towns, beaches and activities are all dog friendly too. Find out more here.

Dittiscombe Estate & Cottages videoBook Direct with us for the best price, commission free. Follow this link to check the calendar and make a booking here.  We are real people and happy to answer your questions, so drop us an e-mail on [email protected].

Dittiscombe Estate & Cottages, South DevonPlenty of safe, green space to enjoy and experience from your cottage door, surrounded by 20 acres of woodland, meadows, ponds and nature trail with a thriving community of wildlife within the valley. Find out more about Rewilding at Dittiscombe and the Nature Experiences which are offered on selected dates.

ditbeachesbanthamoct2-18There are plenty of beaches to choose from, a wide range of watersports to take part in, and lots of walking opportunities. Find out more about watersports here, and walking here.

Dittiscombe sits in the heart of the South Hams, somewhere special within the South Devon National Landscape. The gentle rolling hills, unspoilt coastline, beaches and river estuaries, offer plenty of walking routes, watersports and relaxation for a truly memorable holiday.

To experience the tranquility and natural surroundings of the valley, we are offering visitors nature-themed experiences, so start your journey at Dittiscombe here!

FBAutumn1 23Forest Bathing, traditionally known as Shinrin Yoku, translates to “Forest Shower” and relates to total immersion. Donna McCheyne will guide you through the magic of our woods to help build resilience from within, deepen your appreciation and gratitude for nature, boost your immune system, and increase balance, focus and clarity in your life.

Booking for 2024:
Sunday 2nd June 10 – 1pm
Sunday 1st September 10 – 1pm
Saturday 9th November 10 – 1pm

Each 3-hour session costs £25 per person.
Book direct with Donna here or call her on 07941 508004.
Sorry no dogs.

Family Nature Walks at Dittiscombe Estate & CottagesWe offer nature walks for all on selected dates in the school summer holidays. Dates to be confirmed.

A Sunday stroll around Dittiscombe valley revealing nature in all its glory with local ecologist Ken Neal. He will help to deepen your understanding about nature, and what you can do to encourage wildlife into your own gardens and green spaces at home. Be prepared to be hands-on and ask questions!

Sweep nets and bug pots provided.

Bring binoculars and sensible footwear, clothing for changeable weather and own refreshments.

Please book your place with Ruth Saunders on 07821 260787. (Free to Dittiscombe guests).

Great team work with the volunteersWe welcome volunteers here to help create diverse habitats for wildlife. The work usually takes place over the Autumn and Winter and can involved coppicing, hedgelaying, brash weaving and dead hedge making, pond work and general tidying.

If you are interested in taking part as a volunteer in helping to create new wildlife habitats please get in touch with Ruth on [email protected] to register your interest.

Ruth will take you on a guided tour around the valley to see how the landscape at Dittiscombe has changed over the last 26Rewilding walks and talks at Dittiscombe Estate years, and how the wildlife has benefitted from a hands-off approach.

The land was farmed at one time but was gifted back to nature by Ruth & Jon in 1998. It now supports a mosaic of habitats for wildlife. The valley has evolved into a new-look landscape through natural processes, and you’ll be able to see that being a bit messy is good for wildlife!

If you have booked a cottage with us and would like a free rewilding walk with Ruth, please get in touch on 07821 260787 or e-mail [email protected].

If you are a business and wish to book a team event at Dittiscombe to include a rewilding tour with Ruth Saunders and habitat creation with Ken Neal, please contact Ruth at [email protected].

What our guests say about us

HoneysuckleoutsideMay1 22

Our stay in Honeysuckle at Dittiscombe could not have been better. From the warm welcome, the incredible wildlife friendly surroundings that are Ruth and Jon’s lifelong passion project, and the lovely cosy cottage perfect for a couple and their dog. If you’re looking for a break away from the business of our modern lives then this is the perfect tonic – highly recommended. We shall definitely be back to see how the rewilding continues to progress.

SUP at Frogmore

We loved our stay at Dittiscombe. The location is absolutely beautiful and the grounds are an absolute pleasure to walk around. Our elderly dog had a new lease of life and enjoyed her stay as much as we did. We we welcomed by Ruth who walked us to our accommodation and showed us around. Everything that we needed was there and very clean. The kitchen very user friendly and the newly fitted shower room a super luxury.

Honeysuckle Cottage at Dittiscombe Estate

We are a young couple. This was our first holiday away together. It is an absolutely beautiful place – we loved it so much that we stayed an extra night! Honeysuckle cottage was so cozy and a perfect get-away. Thank you for a lovely holiday!

Aerial View of Dittiscombe Estate, South Devon

We really enjoyed our stay in such a beautiful, tranquil setting. We felt very welcome, and nothing was too much trouble. Our dogs loved the space in the cottage to stretch out, and private garden. We wish we could have stayed longer and will definitely book again.

Read on for Dogs Friendly Activities, Food & Drink, Local History, Rewilding and more

Forest Bathing at Dittiscombe Estate & Cottages

Rewilding Reflections by Ruth Saunders

As the conversations around rewilding grow and widen, we can all revisit the lost skills of observation, patience and trust to help us understand, appreciate and re-engage with the natural world.
The future look - rewilding the landscapeRewilding Britain

Rewilding at Dittiscombe by Ruth Saunders

We started rewilding at Dittiscombe in 1998 which became a journey in understanding a new set of nature's rules and learning to love a different type of landscape.
Cricket Inn, Beesands, South Devon

Memorable Eating Out Places in the South Hams, by Ruth Saunders

Holidays are of course memorable for many reasons, but sometimes those stand-out moments might just be the simple pleasure of eating and drinking in a beautiful place. Ruth finds some of the most memorable places to eat in the South Hams.
Aerial view of Dittiscombe Estate in 2007

Could Messy Gardening Save the Planet?

Can we help the planet by doing virtually nothing in our own back gardens? At Dittiscombe Estate we've been rewilding a previously farmed valley for over 20 years. Find out if the proof is in the oak tree!
Splashing and swimming in the sea

South Hams Adventures with your Dog, by Ruth Saunders

Try a new holiday experience with your dog while you are on holiday in the very dog-friendly area of the South Hams in South Devon.
Dogs welcome at Dittiscombe South Devon

A dog friendly welcome to South Devon by Ruth Saunders

Bring your dog for a truly dog-friendly holiday to South Devon. Ruth and her faithful companion Kes the Collie can vouch for many great walks, and dog-friendly beaches, cafes, pubs and restaurants in the area.
Wildflower bank in Devon

The Secret World of a South Devon Hedgerow by Ruth Saunders

Devon hedgerows burst with wildflowers between April and July, so it's a perfect time to enjoy these abundant displays. But they are also wonderful wildlife corridors and areas of true biodiversity. A walk or cycle along a Devon green lane will be a journey of discovery!

An Exotic National Trust Garden with Sea Views, by Ruth Saunders

The National Trust's Overbeck's garden and museum is tucked into a belt of woodland high above Salcombe estuary and beaches, and is a stone's throw from dramatic and spectacular views around Starehole Bay at Bolt Head on the the South West Coast Path.
Memorial Tank at Torcross, South Devon

Michael Morpurgo’s war time story set in Slapton

Michael Morpurgo's book The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, of the D Day Landing practices which took place at Slapton Sands near Dittiscombe, is for both children and adults.
South Devon Lanes

Devon Lanes and the Art of Mindfulness

The lanes are a very special feature of our South Devon landscape. The transition from fast roads to single-tracked lanes is the sign that your holiday has really started!
Start Bay Information Board

The Great Short Break Escape!

This is a great time to take a short break. Prices are lower, beaches are empty, and the logs are piled high ready for an evening snuggled up in front of the woodburner with a good book!

Enter the Enchanted Tamar Valley

The National Trust house of Cotehele in the Tamar Valley of Cornwall is set in a tranquil place and it's easy to lose yourself in the gardens and ancient woodland.
Boats at Hallsands beach

Start Bay: Stories Old & New

Ruth Saunders took a closer look at the sweeping beaches of Start Bay near Dittiscombe and found a wealth of interesting geological formations; secret wartime stories; piracy; the lost village of Hallsands, and wild weather.
Sherman tank at Torcross

Exercise Tiger – a visit to Torcross

'Exercise Tiger' was one of several assault rehearsals conducted…

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