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South Hams

Tucked away in the rolling hills of South Devon and enjoying its own mild micro-climate, the South Hams is a brilliant holiday destination. The main attraction is its 60 miles of natural coastline, with lovely hidden coves and beaches, much of it owned by the National Trust and perfect for watersports, coastal walks or chilled out seaside breaks. The stunning Dart Estuary is a great place to explore, with its creeks and picture-postcard villages, while the beautiful historic harbour towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe, the estuary town of Kingsbridge and the nouveau-hippyish regional capital of Totnes provide a little playground for shopping, eating and hanging out. When it comes to food there's a surprising number of independently-owned cafés and pubs throughout the region, and some great little places to sample the freshest locally caught fish, crab and lobster. Plus so many excellent beaches that it's impossible to list them all - some of the best for sand are Bigbury, Bovisand, East Portlemouth, Hope Cove, Mill Bay, Salcombe North and South Sands, Soar Mill Cove and Thurlestone Beach.

History

The South Hams’ rich and fertile land provided a prosperous living for its rural population for many years, while the sea supported a thriving fishing and shipbuilding industry that was the main source of income for towns such as Salcombe until the last century. Dartmouth’s maritime history dates back to Roman times, and for over six hundred years the castle has guarded the entrance to the harbour. The historic towns of Totnes, Dartmouth and Kingsbridge all have historic listed buildings, some of them timber-framed merchants’ houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. During the Second World War, American forces were based in the area to practice for the D-Day landings, and Slapton Ley was the site of the now-infamous Operation Tiger, which saw hundreds of servicemen killed in a surprise attack by German forces.

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