Start Bay, South Devon

Welcome to the South Hams

Map of the South Hams

Map of the South Hams

We are lucky enough to live in arguably one of the prettiest and most unspoilt parts of Britain. The South Hams lies in the southernmost part of Devon and within it you’ll find both a stunning coastline and rolling countryside.  Much of the South Hams is under the protection of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the National Trust. There are sandy coves overlooked by rugged cliffs, pretty villages surrounded by rolling countryside, secretive estuaries and dark night skies.  Many of our repeat visitors tell us that there is always so much more to discover every time they stay at Dittiscombe.

For keen walkers there are plenty of routes to choose from on the South West Coast Path: dramatic headlands; steep coastal valleys; and more gentle stretches too – always with great land and seascapes to look at along the way. You can take in the pretty harbours of Dartmouth and Salcombe, stride out along the exhilarating Atlantic coast at East Prawle and Gammon Head, or relax beside a pretty river estuary and snuggle your toes into the soft sands of Bantham or Bigbury-on-Sea.

For a some messing about on the water you might like to kayak or paddle-board along the quiet estuaries of the three rivers, the Avon, the Dart or the Erme, and discover the secretive wildlife of these special areas.  Sailing is of course a popular past-time with boat hire and tuition available in both Salcombe and Dartmouth harbours. Less challenging activities might include rock-pooling at Thurlestone or crabbing off the harbour at Kingsbridge, or a relaxing ferry ride between Dartmouth and Totnes or Kingsbridge and Salcombe.

Many of our local beaches have awards for water and beach quality.  There are approximately fifteen beaches within a 20 minute drive of Dittiscombe, most of which are dog-friendly.  Some have stunning rock formations and warm lagoons to swim in at certain times of the day, some are sweeping bays with uninterrupted views, some are tucked into small hidden coves.

Slapton village

Slapton Village

If you like exploring villages, then our local village of Slapton is typical of the South Hams, and just a 10 minute car ride from Dittiscombe. Filled with quaint old buildings, sunken winding lanes (drivers take note), ancient walls, and roses round the doors, it’s just half a mile from the sweeping beaches of Start Bay. But what sets Slapton apart from any other village in the area is Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, just on the doorstep. The Ley is a very special freshwater lagoon of national scientific importance as it sits behind a shingle bar, and is protected from the salty water of the sea.  It’s managed by Slapton Field Study Centre, located in the centre of the village, and they offer coastal walks, bird, bat and badger days, guided tours and nature safaris in and around the area.

With a verdant backdrop of farms, and sheltered valleys of vineyards and orchards, the South Hams boasts many artisan food producers and award-winning chefs. Kingsbridge, Totnes, Salcombe and Dartmouth all have a wide selection of eating out to suit different tastes and budgets, with farmer’s markets, quaint tea rooms and excellent restaurants to visit.  And along the coast you’ll find shacks offering the freshest locally caught seafood, and village pubs serving food and drink from the area.

South West Coast Path at Ayrmer Cove

Ayrmer Cove

So a visit to the South Hams will be your jumping off point for both exploring and relaxing in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain.

Come and have a taster break at Dittiscombe out of season:  a 3 night weekend or 4 night mid-week stay is from £250, fully inclusive.  Visit the How to Book page and select your dates, or Short Breaks for a 3 day suggested itinerary.  To ask about special requirements and dates ring Ruth & Jon on 01548 521272.