Dog friendly holidays in South Devon

The perfect holiday for you and your best friend!

About UsGet in Touch

Hello and welcome

Want to take your dog on holiday with you but would like somewhere quiet and safe? Want to feel relaxed and enjoy scenic walks, play on unspoilt beaches, and be welcomed in cafes and restaurants?

Then come to Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages in South Devon for a truly dog-friendly holiday experience.

We are located in the heart of the prettiest part of South Devon, the South Hams, loved for its rugged cliffs, sandy coves, peaceful countryside and picturesque villages. Surrounded by our own valley your dog can run free through our woodlands, meadows and along the nature trail which is exclusively managed for our guests.

You and your dog can then set out to explore the South Hams Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of Britain’s finest protected landscapes, filled with coastal trails, beaches, estuaries, hills and valleys. Come back to Dittiscombe valley and your cosy self-catering cottage with secure dog-friendly gardens.

Around Us

Dittiscombe valley and cottages is just 10 minutes from historic Slapton village and the dog-friendly beaches of Start Bay. The pretty towns of Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Salcombe are all nearby too. There are several peaceful estuaries and wooded valleys to explore, and majestic Dartmoor a 30 minute drive away.

Our surrounding area is the South Hams Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with 60 miles of coastline, five estuaries and over 60,000 acres of rolling Devon hills. Here you will find real tranquillity, long sandy beaches and small coves, wooded estuaries and secluded river valleys, all perfect for a relaxing holiday with your dog.

There are also historic towns such as Dartmouth with its winding medieval streets and pretty harbour; Slapton, our local village which has a special World War II story and a freshwater lagoon at Slapton Ley: and Salcombe, renowned for sailing, gig racing and great estuary views. 

Comments & Facebook Posts

Hemming Family with Hunter

Absolutely beautiful location, the owners have thought of everything to make it a really dog friendly holiday and to be fair I would have still stayed in Dovecote without a dog as you would never know dogs were allowed as it was so clean.

Hemming Family with HunterApril 2017
Bamber Family

Thank you for a lovely week. The cottage and surroundings were perfect. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed the outside space and nearby walks. Great location for exploring and close to some wonderful dog-friendly pubs. We all really enjoyed our stay and hope to return again in the near future.

Bamber FamilyNovember 2016
T Meredith

The walk round the estate is ideal for dog lovers giving fine views and a chance to see bird life as you walk through Ruth and Jon’s own forest planted twenty years ago. The streams and ponds add to the tranquil feel making you relax further as you enjoy the wonderful peace and quiet.

T MeredithNovember 2016
Bride Family

[Dittiscombe] is beautiful and the landscape managed to preserve nature, whilst providing ample opportunity for holiday-makers to enjoy the countryside. It is safe and quiet – perfect for dog owners.

Bride FamilyAugust 2016
Mawdsley Family

The setting is beautiful, great for dog walks straight from your door. Jon and Ruth obviously care a great deal about conservation and this shows in this perfect little part of South Devon with the amount of wildlife that are happy to share this space.

Mawdsley FamilyJuly 2016
Stanford Family

Some fabulous places to walk the dogs in the area whether beach or woods so variety and fabulous places to eat that are dog friendly , the Queens Arms is a fab dog friendly pub in Slapton has a lovely garden.

Stanford FamilySeptember 2016

Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages shared Pretty Local's photo. ...

We are super excited to be at the Crab Fest on Sunday 🦀 Not only will be be showcasing some of the wonderful local produce that can be purchased through Pretty Local, but we will also be cooking up a storm with Alex from The Salcombe Meat Company using some of the fabulous local produce. Come by and say Hello 😊 Salcombe Crabfest

View on Facebook

Just had to take some photos of the flowers in the cottage gardens which are competing for the attention of the bees and hoverflies this Spring! ...

View on Facebook

#startbay is a special place. Great to just sit and watch from any of the beaches in the bay - you never know what you might see! ...

Beautiful morning out there.

View on Facebook

Things to do locally with your dog

Private Gardens & Grounds

Surrounded by our own 20 acre valley, dogs and their owners have lots of safe space to play and walk. We are also at the end of our private lane and there is no passing traffic. Four of the five gardens in our dog-friendly cottages are enclosed. The gardens are all individual, planted with sea-loving plants and trees, with sitting out areas and lovely views. Buddleia and Dovecote cottages have direct access to the meadows and orchard in the higher valley of Dittiscombe. Find out more about the wildlife of our valley by reading Ruth’s blog, or visit the Gardens & Woodland page.

Walks from your Cottage Door

All our guests have exclusive access to the nature trail in our valley. This path winds through woodland and past ponds, with a few stopping off places to watch the wildlife or check out a view. It’s ideal to take your dog for a morning and evening walk before an outing. We recommend the car-free walk to Slapton and provide maps for this walk in the cottages. It takes about 1 hour to the village (with its two dog-friendly pubs), but a bit longer to return as it’s uphill! Click to find out more about Slapton and Start Bay.

Coastal walks & the South West Coast Path

We are blessed with 80 miles of the South West Coast Path which runs from Salcombe in the West to Dartmouth in the East. It’s all very beautiful and unspoilt. At some points it becomes a bit steep and there are sheep and cattle grazing on the coastal fields. But there are spectacular sea views, and at many spots you can step off the path and enjoy a dog-friendly beach, or a cream tea or fish and chips at a dogs’ welcome pub or cafe. Find out more about walking with your dog by reading Ruth’s blog.

Beaches & Estuaries

The South Hams area of South Devon must have just about the most dog-friendly beaches in England. There are at least 25 beaches to choose from, and even in the Summer only a small handful have partial restrictions or bans. Around Salcombe there are several sandy beaches. At Start Bay there are 3 miles of beach to walk along – pick a spot and you can be virtually by yourself, even in the height of Summer. And the river estuaries are a real treat; at low tide there are wide areas of soft sand, ideal for paddling and playing ball! Find out more about beaches on our Beaches page, or read Julie’s blog.

Riverside Walks

Although the South Hams has the big spectacular coastal walks, it also has tranquil woodland walks along the edge of the rivers which spill down from Dartmoor such as the Avon or the Dart. These walks are often ideal on a hot summer’s day where you and your dog will find shaded areas and a perfect paddling spot. We and our regular guests recommend The Avon Mill Cafe walk where you can park your car, take the old railway line which runs alongside the Avon, through mature woods, returning to the cafe for a cream tea or sandwich.

Dartmoor & Beyond

Dartmoor is known for its big wide open spaces and high hills called Tors. Parts of the Moor are about a 30 minute drive from Dittiscombe and walkers with well-behaved dogs are welcome in most parts, although some areas will have free-range sheep and cattle grazing to watch out for. There are also lovely woodland walks along the streams and waterways of the moor. The Avon Dam at Shipley Bridge is a pretty valley following the River Avon with a gentle climb up to the shores of the dam, an ideal walk with dogs and children.

Eating Out with your Dog

Most cafes, pubs and restaurants welcome dogs. If you don’t see a sign outside just go in and ask – you will almost always be welcome inside, perhaps in a special area for guests with dogs. There are beachside cafes with great views, such as the Britannia Shellfish ‘shack’ at Beesands, or cosy pubs with warm fires and local history books such as the Queens Arms or the Tower Inn, both in Slapton. Cafe Alfresco in Dartmouth services brunches and lunch until 2pm, again a very friendly place to eat with your dog. Visit the Food & Drink page to find out more.

National Trust Properties

We’ve been invited by the National Trust to visit some of their gardens and grounds specifically to check out how dog-friendly they are. We can recommend two in particular that welcome dogs into their gardens and cafes (when not too busy). Greenway, near Dartmouth, was the home of the great sleuth novelist Agatha Christie, and Colyton Fishacre near Paignton, a lovely valley garden with access to the Coast Path and an Arts & Crafts house. Read Ruth’s Blog about Colyton Fishacre.

About us…

Ruth and Jon moved to Dittiscombe in 1998 and since then have transformed the old stone barns into six cosy cottages, and have rewilded 20 acres of farmed land into a beautiful wildlife valley and gardens. The valley has a conservation theme and is made up of woodland, several ponds, a small stream, meadows, a nature trail and a flat area for those all-important ball games, or perhaps some training!

Get a dog’s eye view of Dittiscombe and the local area from Kes (our Collie) who has her own blog: dreaming of sheep and a lick of ice cream!

If you’d like to find out more then please visit the Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages website. You can find your perfect dog friendly cottage suitable for couples and families from the five dog-friendly cottages we have which are: Willows, Rafters, Buddleia, Dovecote and Honeysuckle. You will also be able to check prices and availability and make a booking using our live online system.

Prices start at £275 for a 3 night short break in Honeysuckle or £385 for a week in low season.

We welcome two well behaved dogs in most cottages and make a charge of £25 per dog per week. We ask that dogs are kept off the furniture and out of bedrooms (but can provide sofa throws because we know what they can be like), and we don’t allow dogs to be left in cottages unattended.

If you’d prefer to talk to us about holidaying with your dog or have any special questions then please ring Ruth and Jon on 01548 521272.

It’s good to know…

We love dogs and provide . . . 

a pat on arrival (with permission of course!), a welcome pot of treats, a list of ‘dog house rules’, dog friendly local walking books, and we can supply dog bowls, towels and throws on request. There is also a hose for dirty paws.

We have enclosed gardens . . . 

and although we welcome well behaved dogs we know that sometimes they can be inquisitive and like to go AWOL! We have four cottages with enclosed gardens: Willows, Rafters, Buddleia and Honeysuckle and more details can be found on the individual cottage pages on our Dittiscombe website.

We are members of the Visit England Welcome Pets! Scheme . . . 

and joined because the scheme was set up for guests who wish to holiday with their dog but want quality accommodation that meets their and their pet’s needs. If you’d like to know more a full list of the scheme’s criteria can be found here.

We are near The Dog Lodge . . . 

which we recommend for guests who wish to have a day out somewhere which is not suitable for dogs. The Dog Lodge is a luxury licensed kennel with underfloor heating just 1 mile from us. Kathy, the owner and her team of helpers, all love dogs and ensure all visiting dogs are comfortable and relaxed, giving at least 3 outings a day. You will need to book beforehand and bring vaccination and kennel cough certificates with you. We recommend contacting them before your holiday at Dittiscombe.

We are a firework free valley . . .

because we are situated in a quiet valley at the end of a private lane and the neighbouring land is either farmed or grazed. We therefore avoid the distressing noises of fireworks which can be very unsettling for some dogs. You might consider bringing your dog away over the firework season. Do give us a call if you’d like to discuss this in more detail.

Get in touch now

If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to call us or, alternatively, complete our E-mail enquiry form below.

Jon & Ruth Saunders, Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages, Slapton, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 2QF.

T: +44 (0)1548 521 272


Send us mail

There is so much to do and discover here we feel sure you’ll enjoy a holiday at Dittiscombe and in the South Hams. We look forward to welcoming you!