Is there anything quite like the rush of fresh air in your lungs as you stride along a coastal path, working your way towards the promise of newspaper-wrapped fish and chips? It’s a difficult feeling to beat and, fortunately for those of us who live in the United Kingdom, this simple pleasure is only ever a car journey away.
We might be a little biased, but here at Langdon Court we’re convinced that British coastlines offer some of the most breathtaking views in the world, and are the perfect places to experience the variety that nature has to offer. From the rolling countryside, to the often stormy seas, nature abounds on the South Coast. Devon is often the destination of choice for those who are looking to explore what their home country has to offer, and although Plymouth and Exeter might be tourist hotspots, there are still places of solitude to be found in and amongst the crowds.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a guide to some of our favourite hidden gems that can be found along the South Devon coastline.
The British seaside isn’t all ice creams and Punch and Judy shows, after all…
If you’re a walking enthusiast, then there really is no place better than Hope Cove. This small coastal village is located just 15 minutes away from Kingsbridge, and although it’s busy enough for the local pubs to have a bustling and friendly atmosphere in the evening, it’s not so busy that you’ll be without a seat.
For those who love the great outdoors, Hope Cove has a little something of everything to offer. The coast is quite literally on your doorstep, and even in poor weather there’s something to be said for watching the tempestuous waves crash over the stone barriers. Head up to Bolt Tail if you’re looking to blow away the cobwebs; this stunning viewpoint provides a spectacular vista, and the powerful winds up there will leave you feeling like a new person!
If you’re looking to explore more than just the Post Office ice cream selection (the honeycomb is particularly scrumptious), then get yourself a tide timetable and head around the cliff corner. From here you can get to Thurlestone in a couple of hours, although there are so many rock pools to investigate along the way that you should schedule in at least double that amount of time!
Although this park might not necessarily be ‘hidden’, it’s a gem nonetheless and can never be explored enough.
Just a 25-minute drive from Plymouth, Dartmoor is as dramatic as it is serene. The 368 square miles of space is home to everything from granite tors to roaring rivers, from farms to small villages.
Thanks to the park’s diversity, wildlife abounds. Roe deer and foxes roam the pastures, and upland heaths house adders and lizards.
If you’re visiting with children, we suggest putting together a game of ‘Animal Bingo’ and seeing how many critters the little ones can spot!
If you’re looking for adventure, then the park has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. Besides the miles of walking to be done, canoeing on the River Dart is hugely popular and can be all the more exciting in winter when the rain swells the waters.
Wembury is located in the South Devon Area of Outstanding National Beauty (quite a mouthful!). It’s home to rock cliffs and shores, slate reefs, and countless rock pools crawling with life. The centre itself, then, is the ideal place to educate yourself and your family about South Devon’s marine life, while simultaneously enjoying the stunning surroundings.
Opening for the season in March, the centre puts on a huge number of events throughout the year. The Super Seaweed session will teach the kids just why that slimy green stuff on the beach is vital for both animals and humans. The Wembury Wildlife Wander is a regular offering, where you’ll get the chance to walk along the coast, learning about everything from creepy crawlies to the egg cases of sharks.
The centre is just a 20-minute drive from central Plymouth and places for guided tours fill up fast.
Cann Woods spans an impressive 230 hectares, and is home to the kinds of wildflower meadows that simply cry out for a tartan picnic blanket.
Cann Woods is a nature reserve, and, as such, has been painstakingly cared for.
Wildlife is at the heart of the conservation project, with a big emphasis placed on visitors disturbing the land as little as is possible.
Badgers are often spotted roaming the woods, and wild garlic lines the paths. However, beware of the cyclists!
Cann Woods contains a popular cycle trail, and the cyclists are some seriously speedy folk.
There’s no car park for the woods, but public transport links from Plymouth are good,
and the site is only a five-minute walk from Tamerton Foliot and Aylesbury Crescent.
Langdon Court, our impressive 16th Century Manor House, is also located in Wembury. Set in the South Hams countryside,
Wembury Cove is just a short distance from the Manor, meaning you’re never too far from a good walk or some refreshing sea air.