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Explore the South Hams

The South Hams is a local district council area located in South Devon between Torbay and Plymouth with the Dartmoor National Park on our doorstep. We have some of the finest sandy beaches, picture postcard villages and scenery to take your breath away.

Visited by thousands of people every year, our website demonstrates why this area of South Devon is a UK holiday destination of choice !

Attractions & Places to Visit

Attractions & Places to Visit

We have plenty of attractions and places to visit in the South Hams, South Devon. These include Dartmouth CastleTotnes Castle and Berry Pomeroy Castle, the South West coast path, Start Point Lighthouse, Bolberry Down and Burgh Island. Whether walking, exploring or sight seeing, there is lots to see and do …

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Beaches in the South Hams

Beaches in the South Hams

There are over 30 beaches in the South Hams, some of the finest in South Devon and the UK. Situated along the South Coast between Plymouth and Dartmouth, the popular beaches include, Bigbury on Sea, Bantham, ThurlestoneHope Cove, Torcross, Sunny Cove and Blackpool Sands ...

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Towns in the South Hams

Towns in the South Hams

A bit of history, interesting facts, things to look out for in the main towns of the South Hams. Including Kingsbridge, Salcombe, Dartmouth, Totnes, Ivybridge and Modbury. There are too many lovely villages to mention here, so come and visit the South Hams in South Devon and explore for yourself …

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Ayrmer Cove

Ayrmer Cove

Ayrmer Cove is a beautiful sandy beach which is situated close to Ringmore and The Journeys End Inn. The access to the cove is limited, there is a 20 minute walk from the parking area or on the opposite side of the valley through Ringmore village and a woodland track. As there is no easy access, this prevents over crowding and as such, nature is the real attraction.

Bantham Beach

Bantham Beach

The Bay itself is shallow and sandy with the River Avon flowing into it. Bantham at low tide is a lovely wide open sandy beach, ideal for picnics and sunbathing, kite flying or sand castle building. At high tide the sea comes almost up to the Dunes. At low tide it exposes lovely shallow sandy pools that warm quickly in the sun and are ideal for toddlers. At the far end of the beach (away from the river and towards the life guard station) there are lots of great rock pools to explore.

Beesands

Beesands

Beesands is a mile long beach backed by fields and a large fresh water lake (Widdecombe Ley). It is a very peaceful location and the village has hardly changed in years. The road to it is slow and windy so take it carefully.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy Castle

A fantastic place to visit on a gloomy spooky day.

Bigbury Beach

Bigbury Beach

Bigbury beach at Bigbury on Sea is a great sandy beach which all but disappears at high tide. It is one of the South Coast's best locations for windsurfing and dramatic coastal walks.

Blackdown Rings

Blackdown Rings

The remains of a prehistoric hill fort, (from around the 12th century) on the hill west of the River Avon close to Loddiswell. Unusually Blackdown Rings also has the remains of a Norman Motte and Bailey built within the prehistoric embankment. Nationally there are only about 200 but Blackdown Rings is one of only 60 which also has a Bailey.

Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands beach near Stoke Fleming and Dartmouth is one of the most beautiful beaches in the South Hams. Privately managed and sheltered in a bay surrounded by evergreens and pines with absolute perfect turquoise blue sea. It feels positively Mediterranean, even down to the sunbathing raft moored in the bay during July and August!

Bolberry Down

Bolberry Down

As well as being a wonderful walk for all ages and abilities due to the flat terrain Bolberry Down is a fabulous place to fly a kite!

Burgh Island

Burgh Island

Burgh Island is a small tidal island near Bigbury on Sea. At high tide a sea tractor, operated by the hotel, takes guests back and forth. At low tide you can access by foot.

Challaborough Beach

Challaborough Beach

Challaborough beach is just behind Bigbury on Sea beach and accessed via Challaborough Holiday Park. It's a horseshoe shaped cove, surrounded by hills. It is sheltered and has sensational views over Burgh Island.

Coastguards Beach

Coastguards Beach

Coastguards beach near Holbeton is owned by the Flete Estate and remaining unspoilt and unchanged for centuries. This large beach has 2 parts. Coastguards Beach has free public access however it is important to note that the other section, Mothercombe is only open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Dartington Hall

Dartington Hall

Originally set in a 1,200 acre estate near Dartington, this medieval hall was not built until around 1388, however, there are records from the Royal Charter of 833 AD that mentions the Manor of Dartington during the Roman occupation.

Dartmouth

Dartmouth

Home of the Britannia Royal Naval College since the mid-1800’s, Dartmouth has a resident population of circa 6,000 and, due to its location at the mouth of the picturesque River Dart, it is one of the foremost holiday and sailing destinations in the South West.

Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth Castle

These complex defenses were started in 1388 by a John Hawley. Dartmouth Castle is considered to be the most beautifully located fortresses in England and for over 600 years they have guarded the entrance to the Dart Estuary and the vibrant port of Dartmouth.

Gara Rock Beach

Gara Rock Beach

Gara Rock beach is very beautiful and fairly gentle 10 minute walk gets you to this large sandy beach. This is a southwest facing beach between East Portlemouth and East Prawle. The path can be steep in places so it is best for families that do not need to carry too many belongings!

Hallsands Beach

Hallsands Beach

Hallsands beach at Hallsands is a nice pebble beach that due to its geography is often extremely private. There is a good walk which takes you along the coast to Start Point where there are tours of the lighthouse available. We advise you telephone prior to arriving to avoid disappointment.

Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach

Hope Cove actually consists of two villages, Inner Hope where the old lifeboat station with the slip way gives boat access to the beach and Outer Hope which has access to Harbour Beach and the other known as Mouthwell.

Ivybridge

Ivybridge

With a population approaching 13,000, Ivybridge is the largest town in the South Hams, South Devon. Largely due to easy access to the A38 and the quick commute to Plymouth nine miles to the west. It lies at the southernmost tip of Dartmoor and, for this reason, is also a popular centre for walkers and year-round tourism.

Kingsbridge

Kingsbridge

Kingsbridge (population circa 5,700) is the third largest settlement in the South Hams behind Ivybridge and Totnes, and lies roughly mid-point between Plymouth to the west and Torquay to the east. Due to its central location, it makes an ideal base for both business and holidays alike.

Lannacombe

Lannacombe

Lannacombe beach near East Prawle has relatively difficult access and a very small parking area so by default is unspoilt and un crowded. The area is wild and rugged with large rocks and stunning scenery. The small beach is accessed by a short slope. It is one of the few beaches that is completely dog friendly year round.

Mill Bay

Mill Bay

Mill Bay beach is on the East Portlemouth side of the Salcombe Estuary. It is a privately owned and sheltered beach, very popular with families and brilliant for making sand castles and sunbathing.

Modbury

Modbury

Modbury (population circa 1,500) is a bustling former market town which lies at the mid-way point between Plymouth and Kingsbridge. The attraction of its elegant Georgian facades, comprehensive range of amenities and accessibility have made it a popular commuter town and firm favourite for both retirement and vacations in the South Hams.

Mothecombe

Mothecombe

Mothecombe beach on the Flete Estate near Holbeton is open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Privately owned and maintained by the estate, Mothecombe is known locally as the perfect beach.

Mouthwell Sands

Mouthwell Sands

Mouthwell Sands Beach is in Outer Hope in Hope Cove and is accessed by a slip way which leads down to a beach perfect for families, the steep cliffs provide shelter from the wind and you can be assured of a peaceful sunbathe as this is a kid's dream. There is a big stream that drops onto the beach, like a waterfall and runs down the beach providing endless damming opportunities. Children make new friends and play safely and happily together all day stemming the flow.

New Bridge (Bowcombe Bridge)

New Bridge (Bowcombe Bridge)

Kingsbridge was developed around a drawbridge which was built in the 10th century. Dividing the land between the Royal Estates of Alvington to the west and Chillington to the East; hence the name Kingsbridge!

North Sands

North Sands

As with most of the South Hams beaches this is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The North Sands beach is an easy level walk from Salcombe town along Cliff Road (about 15minutes). Stunning views of the Salcombe Estuary, Sunny Cove on the East Portlemouth side and out to sea past Wolf Rock.

Overbecks Sharpitor

Overbecks Sharpitor

Often referred to as Overbecks, perched high on the cliffs of Salcombe, this is a hidden paradise of subtropical gardens with all sorts of fascinating things to explore inside the house as well.

Salcombe

Salcombe

Salcombe (population circa 1,900) lies at the southern-most tip of Devon and, due to its breathtaking scenery, wonderful sandy beaches and sheltered sailing opportunities, is one of the principle tourist destinations in the South West.

Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley behind Slapton Sands near Torcross is the largest natural freshwater lake (1.5 miles long) in South West England. It is separated from Start Bay by a shingle beach. These lagoon conditions were created around 5000 BC with the freshwater lake forming thousands of years ago.

Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands

Slapton sands beach near Slapton is a long stretch of beach which runs from Torcross past Slapton all the way to Strete Sands or Strete Gate. At the very northern most point is Pilchard Cove, wildly regarded as one of the most beautiful nudist beaches in England!

Soar Mill Cove

Soar Mill Cove

Soar Mill Cove beach is a small but beautiful cove which remains unspoilt due to the difficulties in getting to it! Should be avoided if you have to carry many things or little people as it is a steep 30 minute walk back to the car or facilities!

South Milton Sands

South Milton Sands

This is a long sandy beach with lots of rock pools and a sand dune behind. It's probably the most popular beach as it has easy access and its perfect to build sandcastles, skim stones, play in the sea or sunbathe. A great family day out or a dog walk.

South Sands

South Sands

South Sands is actually part of a cove so you’re really sheltered from the sea winds and it is often an amazing little sun trap if you just want relax and sunbathe. Locals often use the expression 'Sunny Salcombe' that's because the Devon climate is almost Mediterranean and golden sandy beaches like this, with crystal clear waters, are perfect for family seaside holidays.

Starehole Bay

Starehole Bay

Starehole Bay is only accessible by boat or by a beautiful walk from Salcombe past North Sands, South Sands, along the coastal path via Sharp Tor. Seriously impressive views and landscape! Walking down to the beach there is a small cove, with plenty of rocky areas. The bay is very sheltered and it usually has extremely flat water.

Start Point Lighthouse

Start Point Lighthouse

The Start Point Lighthouse stands on one of the most exposed peninsulas on the whole English Coast, she has safely guided vessels for over 170 years.

Sunny Cove

Sunny Cove

Sunny Cove is accessed either by boat or by a 10 minute walk through the woods from the parking at Mill Bay.

Thurlestone Sands

Thurlestone Sands

Thurlestone Sands is sheltered within the bay with fine shingle sand which gives the sea the clarity of Mediterranean turquoise and makes swimming sensational.

Torcross Sands

Torcross Sands

Torcross Sands at Torcross is a long stretch of beach that has a different name depending on where you stand on it!

Totnes

Totnes

The market town of Totnes (population circa 8,500) is the second largest settlement in the South Hams behind Ivybridge. It lies at the head of the River Dart, occupies a central location within the South Hams and is home to South Hams District Council.

Totnes Castle

Totnes Castle

The first castle on this site was built around the time of William the Conqueror in 1068 to control the area around Totnes. It is one of the first 3 stone castles in Devon and was built by the Breton Juhel of Totnes, this was probably wooden. On the death of King William I, Juhel lost all his lands (he probably supported the rebellion of 1088).

Wembury Beach

Wembury Beach

Wembury Beach near Plymouth is perfect for a great family day out or a longer holiday in the surrounding area. The waters are award winningly clean and are also fairly shallow, so the kids can enjoy an unsupervised splash-about. Wembury is also dog friendly and welcome all year.

Wonwell Beach

Wonwell Beach

Wonwell beach is on the Erme Estuary, an area of outstanding natural beauty. At low tide there is lots of lovely golden sand to build sand castles on and sunbathe. The access road to the beach via Kingston is narrow and there are only a few car parking spaces and a tight turning circle. Any vehicle larger than a family estate is not recommended.

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