South Hams is one of the most beautiful areas in Devon. It’s got everything: beaches, hills, woods, streams and pretty villages. And for dog owners, it’s got many dog-friendly beaches and miles of great countryside walks. Here is my guide to some of the best dog walks in the South Hams area.
Here's our collection of dog-friendly cottages in south Devon before you get too stuck into planning your next Devon adventure.
Hope Cove to Bantham
The stretch of coastline between Hope Cove and Bantham is second-to-none. It truly is a spectacular coastline with iconic images like Thurlestone Rock and Burgh Island to enjoy on the way. Start at the pretty fishing village of Hope Cove and, as you face the sea, turn right. This coastline soon takes you to the beautiful South Milton Sands. This is a dog-friendly beach with a fantastic stream for dogs to cool down in. Cross the wooden bridge to Thurlestone and marvel at the fantastic granite arch of Thurlestone rock. As you walk on the iconic image of Burgh Island grows larger in your view. This island inspired the novel And Then There Were None, and the sight of the beautiful Art Deco hotel instantly transports you back to the times of Agatha Christie.
Hope Cove to Salcombe
From Hope Cove, you can either head North towards Bantham, or South to Salcombe. If you head south, the first headland you encounter is Bolt Tail. This headland is a wildlife haven with dramatic cliff-top views. The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This is a great place for spotting dolphins in the water or Kestrels in the sky. Continue around the headland for a while and you arrive at the gorgeous Soar Mill Cove. This tiny little cove is dog-friendly and unspoilt with lovely sand. It can also only be accessed on foot so it’s never busy. Continue around and you eventually arrive at the edges of Salcombe. Salcombe has glorious views across the estuary and lots of lovely walks, as well as lots of lovely shops and dog-friendly cafes.
Avon Valley Woods
Avon Valley Woods at Woodleigh in the heart of the South Hams is a great place to bring dogs. Ancient trees grow wild on the banks of the River Avon, and there are plenty of places where pooch can paddle in the river. My dog loves a woodland walk and is soon chasing sticks.
If you park at the picnic site at Strete Gate, there is a lovely path under the cliffs at Strete Gate Beach which welcomes dog walkers. This shingle beach is a haven for wildflowers, and in the summer it is over-run with Yellow Horned-Poppy, Valerian and Viper’s Bugloss. At the far end of the beach there is even a waterfall hidden by the cliff-face. You can walk quite far, and when the tide is low you can get nearly as far as Blackpool sands. The far end of the beach is used by naturists in the summer but they are always respectful of dog walkers and everyone shares this beautiful beach.
Beesands to Hallsands
The working fishing village of Beesands is an exciting, authentic place. Fishermen pull their boats up the shingle beach and leave fish drying on the quayside. The little crab shack called Britannia @ The Beach is always busy serving freshly caught seafood. The long shingle beach is dog-friendly all year round and perfect fun for pooch. As you walk to the end of the village, follow the path uphill. From here you get great views of Start Point lighthouse. At the top of the hill, there are great views in both directions. As you follow the coast path towards the lighthouse you arrive at Hallsands. Now you need to take a small detour back towards the coast. There is a lookout point here which tells the story of Hallsands – the village which fell in the sea. This village is now deserted but the wreckage of the houses can still be seen. The village was destroyed by storms in 1917, and 37 homes were lost, as well as a shop and a pub.
Another inland walk for dogs and owners that like woods. This is a great wood with bluebells and the distinctive smell of Ransoms in the Spring. After parking in the village follow the lane to the left of the church. Turn left again and head towards the farm. At the farm turn right and follow a narrow path while keeping the stream on your left. When you meet the river, you can head towards the old railway bridge, from where you can follow the old railway line. This is a great walk with lots of interest for owners and dogs. It has good paths to follow and great views throughout.
Fancy going further afield? Check out our collection of dog friendly cottages across the South and West.