Family Holidays at Dittiscombe

Family Friendly Dittiscombe

Stone balance art on Slapton Sands, South DevonThere are miles of perfect beaches and well-trodden footpaths, hidden coves and tumbling surf, indoor play and historic sites, so there is something for children of all ages.

Children will love the fresh air and freedom at Dittiscombe.  There is a flat area for ball games and plenty of space to run and play.

All cottages have private gardens and access to our wildlife valley with ponds, woodland and meadows to play and explore in.

At Dittiscombe we have two family friendly cottages sleeping up to 4 guests.  You can bring the family dog too to complete the holiday!

Nearby there is a selection of award winning beaches – from rockpools and wide shingle beaches, to fine sandy bays and coves. Have a look at our Beaches page to find out more about local beaches.

Check out the Thomas Family’s Top Tips for things to do:

  • Horse riding just at the top of the road from the cottages (Dittiscombe Equestrian Centre)Superb meal at the Cricket Inn, Beesands
  • Swimming at Slapton Sands/Torcross and Blackpool Sands
  • Although not cheap the Rib rides from Salcombe were great fun
  • The nature walk at Dittiscombe with Ken was really interesting with lots of fun facts
  • Paddle boarding and kayaking with Salcombe Watersports was great then leave your car walk to the passenger ferry which takes you into Salcombe

Easy outings with small children

Memorial Tank at TorcrossPark 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 local village cafes for fish and chips or an ice cream.

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 Beachhouse Cafe.

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 Walks with Ken Neal at DittiscombeThis year we’re offering nature walks with local ecologist Ken Neal who will bring a little ‘wild’ in to a wildlife walk around the Estate to deepen your understanding about the simple things you can do to help nature. The walks are free to Dittiscombe guests – please book your place with Ruth on [email protected]  once you’ve booked your cottage.

With the rewilding work which has been going on here since 1998 we now have a wonderful variety of wildlife to (maybe) see:

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.

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.

Nearby at Slapton Ley, a nationally important nature reserve, families can join the Rangers at the Field Studies Centre to learn about bugs, beaches and bats on their bookable wildlife safaris.

Rainy Days and Other Outings

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

Kingsbridge Miniature Railway is a delightful ride along the embankment for small children (and accompanying adults!). It starts near the Kingsbridge Tourist Information Centre £1 for a one way ride.

Taylored Games is a is a specialist board, card and tabletop games shop in Kingsbridge. It’s  friendly place to visit with games of all kinds which can be played in the shop or bought and taken home.

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.

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

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.

The Soft Play Zone at the Quayside Leisure Centre in Kingsbridge could be combined with a trip on the miniature railway (see above).

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  • Guided Summer Sunday Family Wildlife Walks at Dittiscombe

  • Surfing, paddle boarding, sailing and kayaking

  • Perfect sandy beaches for those all important sandcastles!

  • Zoos, Aquariums, Castles and Fun Parks to explore

Celandine carpetting the woodland floor at Dittiscombe Estate, South Devon

What a wonderful place to stay – so much nature all around, literally outside your door. Easy access to different walks, dog friendly, supermarket delivery is easy, facilities are great. Really lovely place. Great place from which to explore the South Devon coast. Would recommend for sure and look forward to a return visit soon.

One of the recent rescued hedgehogs arriving at Dittiscombe

A very enjoyable stay with 2 children and a dog. The guided tour on Sunday was extremely enlightening and a must as a starting point for our stay here. Very relaxing atmosphere.
Loved the bats.

Dittiscombe Estate rewilded valley in South Devon

Beautiful location and surrounding countryside and the re-wilding at Dittiscombe is inspiring and very much what we need as a country. Ruth and Jon were excellent hosts. There are so many spectacular walks in the countryside and on the coast. Thoroughly recommend.

Rewilding at Dittiscombe Hills Estate & Cottages

Great location for short drives to beautiful beaches, watersports activities, trips to the castle, zoo or aquarium. We booked trips prior to the holiday to save disappointment as everything was otherwise fully booked. Lots to explore around the area and with wonderful accommodation we shall be booking here again next year!

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