Published: 1st February, 2017
South Devon's special recipe for a dog-friendly holiday...
Kes the Collie and I, Ruth Saunders, can give you three good reasons to bring your dog on holiday to South Devon. Within this stunning landscape there are 30 dog-friendly beaches, more than 80 miles of coastal path, and over 100 'dogs welcome' pubs, restaurants and cafes.
We've travelled around England and, whilst trying not to sound too biased, South Devon in which we live is one of the most dog-friendly we know. For me and Kes it's a simple recipe for a companionable and relaxing outing: take one long coastal path with stunning sea views; add a drop-dead gorgeous beach for a paddle or swim; finally garnish with a Devon cream tea or a crab sandwich at a dog-friendly cafe or pub at the water's edge.
We dog-owners know that our faithful companion's heart lies in a jolly good walk, and the walking opportunities here are endless. The jewel in the crown is the South West Coast Path, which stretches from Plymouth Sound to Dawlish Warren taking in the South Hams and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, loved for its rugged cliffs, sandy coves and peaceful countryside.
There's great variety and stunning scenery on offer: long walks beside the beach, a lazy stroll by a quiet estuary, or a vertiginous climb to the top of a hill and back down to the valley. For instance you can follow the dramatic sweep of the coastline at Start Bay, passing beaches and wildflower fields, visiting the fishing villages of Torcross, Beesands and Hallsands in between, then climbing up to the dramatic headland of Start Point to look towards the lighthouse.
There are also loads of dog-friendly riverside walks, Green Lane walks, circular walks, and woodland walks too.
After all that exercise you'll need a welcome rest and tasty food. There are many cafes, pubs and restaurants which really welcome dogs. They are dotted around the area so you won't need to go far to find one: The Cricket Inn or Britannia at the Beach both at Beesands; the Ode Cafe at Gara Rock near East Portlemouth; the Cove Cafe at Hope Cove; and Cafe Alf Resco in Dartmouth are all firm favourites. These and many others tick lots of our important eating-out boxes: a water bowl, extra dog biscuits and a pat for Kes; good food and a glass of the local ale for me; and finally a warm welcome for us both!
If you're bringing the family there are plenty of other activities and venues to which well-behaved dogs are welcome: an organised canoe trip with Singing Paddles, drifting along peaceful estuaries then mooring for tea and hot sausages at a quiet inlet; a steam train ride through glorious countryside on the South Devon Railway; or a boat cruise on the River Dart between Totnes and Dartmouth, spotting seals and herons along the way.
There are always new surprises to find such as the Walker's Hut at East Soar where you are welcome to help yourself to tea and cake and leave payment in their honesty box! Or the National Trust's recently improved accessible route at Bolberry Down. Many previous guests return to dog-friendly Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages to re-visit some of their favourite haunts and to try new eateries, walks and outings.
So bring your dog on holiday to South Devon and be assured of a truly memorable and welcoming dog-friendly holiday!
Stay at Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages near Slapton village with its two "dogs welcome" pubs and miles of dog-friendly beaches at Start Bay. More information about dog friendly things to do can be found on the rest of this website or by calling the Kingsbridge Information Centre on 01548 853 195. To discuss a dog-friendly holiday at Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages ring Ruth and Jon on 01548 521272.