Guest Blog Post - Toad Hall Cottages

So often it’s the sparkling South Devon coast that grabs all the attention and with good reason. However, the region is also blessed with beautiful rolling countryside and woodland that shouldn’t be missed whilst on holiday here, especially if staying with your four legged friend in one of Toad Hall Cottages many dog friendly cottages. 

From riverside strolls to forest glades awash with bluebells, here are six of Toad Hall Cottages’ most memorable woodland walks …..

Ermington Woods, near Modbury

This magical leafy setting lies just off the banks of the River Erme as it wends its way down the Erme Valley and during springtime is carpeted with bluebells.  Part of the Erme-Plym Trail; a stunning seventeen-mile route that takes in the southern fringes of Dartmoor before heading cross country to Wembury Bay, Ermington Woods are an enchanting place to enjoy a family walk or picnic. You can park up in the village of Ermington where you can also enjoy of cold drink or some hearty pub grub at the Crooked Spire inn.

Yealm Woods, near Noss Mayo & Newton Ferrers

On the banks of the Yealm River, skirting the waterside villages of Noss Mayo and Newton Ferrers lies one of the region’s most captivating woodlands. Set in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, these ancient broadleaved woods - also known as Newton Wood and Hollacombe Quarry - offer sun-dappled glimpses of the River Yealm as it wends its way towards Wembury Bay. Keep an eye out for the contorted shapes of the old Monterey pines which look like something straight out of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Follow the trail round the peaceful waters of Newton Creek where you’ll find three inviting harbourside inns; The Dolphin, The Swan and The Ship. You’re also in easy reach of the South West Coast Path as it winds round the headland past Gara Point. This beautiful corner of the South Hams makes for the perfect romantic stroll.

Andrew’s Wood, near Loddiswell

This thriving woodland and nature reserve on the upper fringes of the Middle Avon Valley is a haven for flora and fauna, with far-reaching views across the rolling hills all the way to the rocky tors of Dartmoor. The wood is largely made up of lowland mixed oaks and ash trees and is another leafy haunt swathed by bluebells throughout May. The surrounding butterfly meadows play host to a variety of wild flowers including the heath lobelia, a rare and native herb that blossoms during the summer. The woodland wildlife is also rich and diverse and the pastures around Andrew’s Wood are home to a herd of Exmoor ponies which have grazed the land for years. Dogs are welcome here provided they are well behaved and kept under control. There’s a small car park area just off the main road at the top of the short stretch of bridle path that runs towards the woods. Refreshments can be found at the California Inn; a 14th century free house only a mile north along the B3196, and also the Loddiswell Inn; a lovely pub set on the village green that’s only a short drive in the opposite direction.

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Avon Valley Woods

This gorgeous riverside walk follows the old sleepers of the Victorian steam railway known as the ‘Primrose Line’, which during days gone by was considered one of the most scenic stretches of line in the country. The woods lie in the heart of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty not far from the bustling market town of Kingsbridge and the hillside village of Loddiswell. Spring walkers can enjoy blankets of bluebells beneath a canopy of oak, beech, sycamore, sweet chestnut and wild cherry all budding to life, and if you’re lucky you might catch sight of otters and kingfishers along the riverbank. The Avon Valley Woods were the Woodland Trust’s first ever purchase and remain one of the most beguiling pockets of woodland in the region.

Raleigh Woods, near Dartmouth

Between the flamboyant maritime town of Dartmouth and the riverside village of Dittisham lies the Raleigh Estate, home to the beautiful Raleigh Woods made up of native broadleaved trees and Japanese larch. The woodland can be found along the popular Dartmouth to Dittisham path as it winds its way past Fire Beacon Hill, so called as it once was home to an Elizabethan fire beacon ready to warn of the arrival of the Spanish Armada. The Ferry Boat Inn makes for a pleasant stop if you venture further into Dittisham, whilst the many pubs and restaurants that line the historic streets of Dartmouth provide a range of delicious food and drink to perk up even the weariest of walkers.  Leave your car at either of these locations or alternatively parking can be found at Old Mill Creek.

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Dartington Hall Estate, near Totnes

Folded into the verdant countryside, between the sparkling South Devon coast and the dramatic wilds of Dartmoor, lies the Dartington Hall Estate. Within this venerable estate ancient woodlands can be found, home to a spectacular array of wildlife including the fallow deer which freely roam. There are a number of circular walks through the woods for all abilities and walkers can reward themselves with a meal at the Green Kitchen on the estate or at the nearby Cott Inn, every inch the traditional country pub with its thatched roof and delightful garden.

‘A West Country specialist, we offer more than 400 self-catering holiday cottages across South Devon. Whether you are looking for a luxury cottage break, a romantic getaway for two, a dog- friendly self-catering cottage or a family holiday, Toad Hall Cottages offer an unrivalled range of sought-after properties. To talk to our friendly booking team, call 01548 202020, or visit www.toadhallcottages.co.uk

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Toad Hall Cottages

Over 350 picturesque holiday cottages set in coastal, waterside and rural locations throughout South Devon.

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