THE SOUTH HAMS DEVON
THE SOUTH HAMS OF DEVON is an area of exceptional beauty and contrast
with river estuaries,rolling hills and thatched cottages surrounding the lovely
old towns of Dartmouth,Totnes,Kingsbridge,Salcombe,Modbury and Ivybridge.
Also the villages of Bigbury,Thurlestone,Torcross,Beesands. Noss Mayo,Newton Ferrers.
It has one of the mildest climates in Britain.
Spring arrives early,long summers,warm autumns and mild winters.
Anytime is the time to visit the South Hams.
Its sixty miles of spectacular coastline and beaches are a delight.
The inland scenery is just as fantastic with the majestic rugged Dartmoor
on its northern borders.
The South Hams is a unique area worthy of its national status as a
designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There are an excellent variety of places to stay from countryside
camping and carvanning sites to coastal cottages,
FANTASTIC BEACHES.What's your favourite kind of beach? A great sweep of flat golden sand such
as Bigbury or Thurlestone, or a sheltered cove like Hallsands?
Perhaps you would prefer spectacular Slapton Sands, backed by the
extraordinary freshwater lagoon or the wooded sun-trap of Blackpool Sands?
THE SOUTH HAMS is a great location for family holidays with museums,castles and adventure parks as well as farms and gardens to explore.
You can enjoy the fantastic coastline with its cliffs, sandy beachesand many inlets and coves or explore the many old towns.
It is idyllic for food lovers with a wide variety of fresh locally produced food and drink. You can sample succulent freshly caught seafood, local wines, organic apple juice delicious cheeses, dairy ice cream and sumptuous clotted cream.
Enjoy smoked salmon, fish, chicken, farmed venison, lamb, pork and beef.
Small local bakeries provide many tasty morsels.
Lots of local hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes pride themselves on serving locally produced food wherever possible.
TOTNES with its historic castle and main street filled with manylocally owned individual shops.
Totnes is a great place to explore if you are interested in history, as the town's past is clearly visible in its streets and buildings.
In 1206 the people of Totnes acquired a charter of independence from King John,giving them control over their own affairs.
The first MP was sent to Parliament in 1295, and the list of mayors begins in 1359.
Totnes is very proud of its long civic tradition, although borough status was lost in 1974.
The beautiful red sandstone church of St Mary, famous for its tower and stone roodscreen, was rebuilt in the 15th century.
In the Tudor period, Totnes became the 16th wealthiest town in England, thanks largely to the export of Dartmoor tin.
Over 60 merchants' houses from this time remain in
Fore Street and High Street, often with elaborately carved ceilings,though many are hidden behind more recent facades.The Museum at 70 Fore Street is a perfectly restored example.
During the Civil War both sides used the town as a base at different times,with Prince Charles(later Charles II)Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax all visiting.
Since 1925 the various activities of the nearby Dartington Hall Trust have helped to make Totnes the diverse, socially varied and creative place it is today.
Every Tuesday from May to the end of September, you can step back in time and enjoy the famous Elizabethan Charity Market by the Civic Hall,and see townsfolk in colourful costumes going about their daily business.
In August, look out for the unique Orange Race organised by the Elizabethan Society. This event commemorates a visit to the town by Sir Francis Drake in the 1580s, when he presented 'a fair red orange' to a little boy in the street.
Now contestants chase their oranges down the hill.
KINGSBRIDGE is a vibrant working town, not just a holiday centre, and has a wide selection of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs, which are open all year.
DARTMOUTH with its narrow streets, half timbered houses and a deepwater natural harbour a haven for yachtsmen and visiting tourists alike. Nowadays offering fine restaurants, galleries, marinas, antique shops and fine places to stay. Dartmouth is an extremely popular boating centre with a famous regatta, also a fishing port with fresh catches landed on the quayside at Kingswear daily. This town is rich in buildings of historic and architectural interest such as the 17th century Butterwalk. Art galleries and lots of individual shops are to be found in Foss Street .The Britannia Royal Naval College, prominent on the hillside is still training Naval Officers and offers guided tours. Pleasure boat trips can be had on the river with trips to medieval Totnes, to Agatha Christie's former summer house at Greenway, or why not go seal watching along the coast. A visit to Dartmouth Museum and the Newcomen Engine House is a must; Dartmouth also has numerous restaurants, cafes and bars with locally produced food and drinks a speciality. The Dartmouth area has several small and beautiful villages such as Dittisham, Blackawton, East Allington, Stoke Fleming, Strete, Kingswear, Torcross and Slapton.
MODBURY is a small attractive country town, rich in character with many fine buildings. Its steep streets with close-knit frontages give the town a pleasant and dignified air. It is by virtue of its ancient charter that Modbury calls itself a town that has all the attributes of a thriving village with a strong sense of community. The villages of the SOUTH HAMS are quaint and picturesque with a wide range of interesting shops and eating-places.
SALCOMBE with its sheltered waterways, Salcombe is the most southerly seaside town in Devon, and is one of the South West's best loved sailing centres. Salcombe has everything; beaches, coastal walks, watersports, interesting shops tucked up tiny streets and wide choice of pubs and restaurants. The climate is so mild that, in some gardens alongside the estuary, you'll actually see lemon trees bearing fruit.Salcombe is a seaside town, surrounded by beautiful countryside, award winning beaches and a Ria (landlocked salt water), designated a Local Nature Reserve. The area encompasses the nearby villages of Thurlestone, Hope Cove, Bolberry and Soar, with a 2 minute passenger ferry ride to East Portlemouth.Salcombe is surrounded by tranquil countryside with a magnificent scenic coastline. The town lies beside the Kingsbridge estuary, which provides a natural sheltered harbour. You can visit the Salcombe Maritime Museum and learn some of the history of the town. Many restaurants use local produce when available, the locally caught fish and shellfish are a real gourmet delight.Salcombe and its surrounding coastline is perfect for all kinds of watersports. Sailing and motor boats are available for hire. IVYBRIDGE The old mill town of Ivybridge is right on the doorstep of 368 square miles of the Dartmoor National Park - stretching north from Ivybridge to Okehampton and east from Tavistock to Bovey Tracey. Proof of its fascinating and ancient history lies scattered over the land in the form of Bronze Age settlements and burial grounds, whilst the remains of Iron Age hillforts skirt the edge of the moor. Many granite tors loom up from its surface. Wild flowers grow in abundance and with its vast moorlands, woods, rivers, streams and reservoirs, Dartmoor is a haven for the many animals that live there. Buzzards and rabbits are easily spotted, but not so easy to see are the timid deer and the shy otters splashing in the streams and rivers. The ponies that roam freely are not wild but belong to local farmers with grazing rights. Being the southern gateway to Dartmoor, Ivybridge is a brilliant centre for walkers to explore the beautiful Erme Valley and continue along the Erme Plym Trail to Plymouth or the South Devon Coast. It is also the start or finish, depending on your point of view of the Two Moors Way, the 102 mile trail which crosses Dartmoor to the north of Exmoor. Easily reached from the A38 Devon Expressway, Ivybridge offers good shopping facilities and a leisure centre with both indoor and outdoor pools.