With a strong rural and maritime heritage the South Hams is noted for its beautiful landscape, quality local food, culture and scenic beaches. The South Hams is a region of rural and coastal Devon much of which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, stretching as far as the edges of Dartmoor National Park and featuring one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK which spans between Torbay and Plymouth.
The South Hams has a long history stretching back to Anglo Saxon times. Since medieval times many of the villages were centred around the production of wool, and the local ports thrived on the export of local products. The strategic position of many coastal towns has meant that the Royal Navy has been a dominant presence throughout the centuries and still plays a major role in the economy and character of the region today.
Things to do
If you love the outdoors, you’ll love The South Hams. It’s a wonderful outdoor environment, with rivers, moor land, coasts and the sea offering visitors a range of activities including canoeing, walking and sailing. Heritage fans will love local attractions such as Totnes Castle and The South Devon Railway and a range of arts and food festivals keeps culture-vultures happy throughout the year. For the nautically inclined the coast has a big tradition of sailing regattas and arts events.
Food and drink
The West Country is one of the most important producers of food and drink in the UK, noted for its quality and traditional methods. Here you’ll be treated to some of the best fine dining using locally made produce. For seafood, towns such as Dartmouth and Salcombe boast award-winning restaurants, while inland gastro pubs serve excellent home cooked fare.
South Hams has many wonderful towns and villages waiting to be explored, below you’ll find a list to help you decided where to start.
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If you love the hustle and bustle of a traditional English market town, you’ll love Kingsbridge. Situated in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Kingsbridge sits on its own estuary and is surrounded by lush, green rolling countryside.
A small town almost on the eastern edge of Plymouth on the Kingsbridge Road. Mother Hubbard's Cottage is here - formerly the home of the housekeeper at Kitley House who was the model for the character who appears in Mother Hubbard Rhymes written at
Somewhat overshadowed by its illustrious neighbour Dartmouth, Kingswear has nevertheless a charm and character all of its own. The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway terminates here (you must get the ferry to Dartmouth), and it has its own castle s
A tiny village 8 miles northeast of Plymouth, on the fringe of Dartmoor. No through routes make for a quiet environment. Close to Cadover Bridge, a popular picnic spot, with easy access to the moor. Daramatic clay workings to the east of the village
Situated within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with the coastline forming part of the South Devon Heritage Coast, Wembury is a great place to visit if you fancy some rock pooling adventures or wildlife hunting.
Staverton and Landscove
A lively village on the Dart, Staverton has the best surviving medieval bridge in Devon. Cider making and slate quarrying have been a staple in the parish, the size of the quarrying community becoming so large in the 1850's that a new church was bui
A few houses, a pub, a ferry across the Avon and a huge sandy beach with clean (MCS award), lifeguard-monitored bathing make up Bantham. It is the place wind and kite surfers aim for in south devon. There is public access although privately owned, an
An interesting village with a large open space in front of the church. Originally a market area, it is now put to regular use for community events. Views from Ugborough Beacon, just over the A38 from the village, are among the best in South Devon. Th
Middling village with a curious history of smallscale manufacture and mining. Loddiswell had a copper mine, and a yellow ochre manufactory. There is a 14th Century church and the mysterious remains of a castle - at Loddiswell Rings - that does not ap
A thriving community overlooking an attractive countryside, just off the Newton to Totnes road. The village stocks are still here in the churchyard. Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes creator, stayed here at Parkhill House. The found inspirration fo
A delightful moorland village in the Dartmoor National Park with an active farm and farm shop (Holne Court) and tea shop for tired walkers. Perfect stop off point for Two Moors Way. Fishing and walking on the river Dart, crossed by two medieval bridg
Blackawton is a pretty village situated in the South Hams between Totnes and Dartmouth.
Many will drive through the village en route to Dartmouth, but few will stop. This village is well worth a stop with it's South Devon charm and friendly...
From arts and crafts to fine dining on quality local produce, Modbury is a picturesque and lively West Country holiday destination.
Dartington is a small, beautiful village located just outside Totnes and is famous for being the home of the world renowned Dartington College.
A solid granite-built village on the edge of dartmoor, a few miles northwest of Ivybridge. Focus of a huge parish, mainly of archaeology-rich moorland. Its principal livelihood is the local claypits. There is a pub, local shop and post office.
In the South Hams of Devon and dating back to Saxon times, Stokenham in the parish of the same name is one of seven settlements in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Of some 15 square miles and with approximately 7 miles of coast line.
For details on places to stay, eat and visit in Salcombe visit our Salcombe Town Section here.
If you love messing about on the water, you’ll love Salcombe. With mild weather throughout the year, Salcombe is a popular destination thanks to its...
If you’re looking for something a little more laid back and off the beaten track then the town of Ivybridge gives you a great alternative to the usual seaside holiday destinations. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and moorland, Ivybridge has a...
Originally a tiny coastal hamlet, Thurlestone is now home to a gloriously sited hotel, a popular golf course, and a variety of accommodation for permanent residents and visitors alike. The beach is sandy, the sea is safe and clean (MCS award) and ver
Attractive, well kept village on the fringe of Dartmoor, just off the A38. Remains of watermills and a windmill (on the moor). Interesting church, pubs and local shops. Bronze age remains on Dartmoor.