Looking to find the most haunted places in Devon? Read on if you dare…

Halloween is almost upon us and it’s that time of year when all the spooky stories come to light about ghosts, myths, legends, and other mysterious happenings. With its vast wealth of history, it's no surprise that South Devon has plenty of haunted castles, spine-chilling stories and eerie ghouls that lurk around old pubs, hotels and attractions. So with that in mind, we’ve picked out a selection of places across the region that are known for their creepy and peculiar tales…

Powderham Castle

Located just outside of Exeter, in a village named KentonPowderham Castle was built during the 14th century and drastically renovated and expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries. Allegedly during work in the 19th century, the remains of a women and baby were discovered in a hollow wall; legend has it they were bricked up alive! It is believed that although their remains were moved to the nearby Powderham Church, their spirits stayed behind. But that's not the only ghoulish story about this popular attraction in Devon, the Grade II listed manor house is also supposedly haunted by the Grey Lady. Many believe her to be Lady Frances, wife of Viscount Courtenay, and that her apparition is a bad omen, forewarning the death of the head of the Courtenay family.

The Cridford Inn

A beautiful and charming thatched tavern on the outskirts of Dartmoor National ParkThe Cridford Inn in Trusham could possibly be one of the oldest pubs in Great Britain. The building itself dates back to 825AD and is a beautiful ancient structure in the heart of the Teign Valley. With an inn this old it is no wonder that a couple of ghosts are said to haunt the premises. One of these apparitions is apparently a Nun and the other is believed to be a cavalier involved in Trusham’s conflict with the nearby village of Ashton during the civil war in 1642 – 1646. For a spooky pint or haunted stay in Devon, this could be the place for you, if you're feeling brave!

Saltram House

Overlooking the beautiful river Plym sits Saltram House, a grand, Tudor building on the outskirts of Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City. Dig below its ornate plasterwork and hand-painted wallpaper and you will discover the chilling tales of Saltram’s resident ghosts, the murder maid and the ghostly child. Legend has it that a kitchen maid was murdered in the house, but the motive and perpetrator are truths that have been buried in the past. Despite these unknowns, the ghost still roams the house, dressed in a hooded cloak and glides mysteriously down corridors and through walls. When visiting Saltram House be sure to look in the bedrooms, as it is common knowledge amongst locals that an estranged child was found sitting at the foot of a residents’ bed. Saltram House was donated to The National Trust in 1957 and open house tours are available Thursday – Monday. Enjoy a refreshing cream tea, browse some great gift ideas or explore their magical gardens.

Buckland Abbey

Situated near Yelverton and owned and managed by the National Trust, Buckland Abbey is 700 years old and was originally a Cistercian abbey. The house was most notably home to Sir Richard Grenville the Younger and also Sir Francis Drake, it is the latter who is believed to haunt the grand building. Although often considered a national hero, locals in the area were scared of Sir Francis Drake and some thought that he made a pact with the Devil when he defeated the Spanish Armada.

Okehampton Castle

Okehampton Castle is perched on the northern border of Dartmoor National Park and was converted into a home during the 14th century by Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon after its purpose as a motte and bailey castle with a stone keep. Much like the rest of the ghost stories of Dartmoor, the ghoul associated with this castle is shrouded by mystery and there are many versions. Although all include the ghost of a lady who rides across the moors in a carriage of bones led by a black hound with red eyes, it is the stories that surround this white lady that differ. Most can agree it is Lady Frances Howard, but some say the bones are that of her husband’s whom she murdered, others suggest that she was not in fact as awful as many believe, but that it was her father’s evil which over the years has turned the tragedy of her life into something much more sinister. Either way, the condemned murderess is said to travel to the castle each night to pluck a singular blade of grass and only once all the grass is gone will she be able to rest easy.

Old Church House Inn

The Old Church House Inn is in Torbryan, near Ipplepen and south west of Newton Abbot. Dating all the way back to the 13th Century, the inn is cloaked in history, with panelling from a ship of the Spanish Armada and one of England’s oldest bread ovens. Many eerie stories have been reported over the years; often strange noises can be heard around the inn such as floorboards creaking and mysterious sighs. During 1997, a woman staying in one of the bedrooms also accounted that she awoke to see an arm pointing to the wall behind her!

Holy Trinity Church

Resting high upon a hilltop overlooking the market town of Buckfastleigh is Holy Trinity Church. A 13th Century building, which at present day, is only a carcass of what was there before due to a devastating fire in 1992. The magnificent structure is creepy and alluring in its own right but it is the bizarre tomb in the graveyard that is perhaps the most eerie part of this site. Within the grounds lies the Cabell family tomb where Squire Richard Cabell was laid to rest. Cabell was considered so evil by the local residents that they built a building around the tomb, placed a heavy stone on top of it and constructed iron bars along one side in a bid to prevent his spirit’s escape. Despite of this extra precaution, many say that a pack of hounds visit the tomb some nights and Squire Richard Cabell joins them in a hunt across the vast moorland of Dartmoor. This local legend is also believed to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventure, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Believed to be one of the most haunted sites in Great Britain so arguably the most haunted place in South Devon, Berry Pomeroy Castle near Totnes is awash with sightings of ghosts and paranormal activity. The castle was owned by the Pomeroy family until the mid 16th century when it was acquired by the Seymour family (family of Jane Seymour, wife number 3 of Henry VIII) who built a mansion within its defences. By 1700 the castle and home had been abandoned and nowadays merely a shell remains for visitors to see, but apparently the spirits of those who lived there still linger within the grounds. One of the most famous ghosts at Berry Pomeroy Castle is the White Lady whom many believe to be Lady Margaret Pomeroy. It is said that Lady Margaret was imprisoned in the dungeons by her own sister because of jealousy and miserably starved to death. Berry Pomeroy Castle also famously appeared on the TV show ‘Most Haunted Live’ during their ‘Terror in Torbay’ episode, where the host Yvette Fielding actually fainted during their visit!

Royal Castle Hotel

The Royal Castle Hotel is located in the pretty harbour side town of Dartmouth in the South Hams district of Devon. Standing proudly looking over the popular Boat Float, this intriguing pub with rooms is extremely popular among locals and visitors due to its unique history and captivating charm. The hotel has played host to a number of famous names over the years including Agatha Christie, Queen Victoria and Sir Francis Drake and is said to be haunted by a phantom coach in the small hours during the autumn months. Hooves can allegedly be heard rattling over cobblestones along with a whip cracking and a door being slammed shut.

Torquay Museum

In the gorgeous coastal resort of Torquay, on the English Riviera, also known as Torbay, Torquay Museum is a great Victorian museum with a brilliant selection of local history and artefacts. The museum houses a vast array of exhibitions and collections including Natural History, Ancient Egypt and Palaeontology. Unusual activity has occurred in various ways within the museum over the years such as books flying off shelves, photos of ghosts, footsteps and banging, as well as fingerprints appearing on the inside of the museum’s mummy case which is home to Devon’s only human mummy. Lots of paranormal groups have visited for investigations and some of their findings have even made the national press.

Jay’s Grave

Nestled on Dartmoor National Park near the village of Manaton is Jay’s Grave. The gravesite is shrouded by many differing stories, but most can agree that it belongs to a lady named Kitty Jay. The exact circumstances surrounding her death have never been confirmed but one version is that Kitty worked for a local farming family where she fell in love with the landowner’s son and the two began an affair. Upon discovering she was pregnant, the young man and his family shunned Kitty Jay who tragically killed herself. She was buried at a crossroads which in older times was common practice for victims of suicide as taking one’s own life was considered an awful crime. These days, the grave draws crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of a ghostly stature or somebody changing the flowers, it is reported that there are fresh flowers every day on Kitty’s grave yet nobody knows who is responsible. It is widely known that a local author used to change the flora but she passed away in 1955, now it is simply speculation, some say pixies, others say a spirit and some people even claim to have seen a hooded figure kneeling by the grave at night.

Hairy Hands

The Hairy Hands of Dartmoor is a legend that began in the early 1900s. The medical officer for Dartmoor Prison was killed in a crash along the road between Postbridge and Two Bridges in 1921 and a similar incident occurred to an army officer but he survived to tell the tale. He reported that a pair of disembodied hands took control of his handlebars forcing the bike off the road. These were just two in a series of accidents along this stretch of road which gave birth to the legend, local sceptics put it down to 'grockles' driving carelessly and recklessly along narrow stretches, but not all can be so sure.

Whether you’re a believer or not, ghost stories in South Devon are rife thanks to the captivating surroundings and there’s certainly plenty of haunted places to visit during your time in the region. So next time you enjoy a trip to a historical building or head up to the moors be sure to keep your wits about you – you never know what may be lurking!

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