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. Dittiscombe cottages are surrounded by our own valley so your dog can run free through our woodlands, meadows and along the nature trail, all of which is managed exclusively 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.

Find out more about exploring the beautiful South Hams area with your dog by reading Ruth’s blog: A Dog’s Holiday – New Adventures in the South Hams.

Around Us

Dittiscombe Hills Estate & 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 is 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. 

Find out more about the local area by visiting the Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages page.

Whats our Guests say about Dittiscombe

Falcon and Jane with Woody & Keeper

Really friendly welcome. Tranquil and relaxing place to stay. Great for dogs. Plenty of space around the cottage.

Falcon and Jane with Woody & KeeperOctober 2019
Grant Family

An amazing place Ruth and John are so friendly and welcoming. Will always return. Dexter (the dog) likes meeting 4 legged friends too !

Grant FamilyOctober 2019
Mr & Mrs Porpora

Beautifully positioned cottages. Gardens and land was a lovely extra and we enjoyed walking the dogs round twice daily. Well furnished cottages and to a very good standard. Lovely to have dog blankets, walking sticks and those extra special extras which make the stay even nicer.

Mr & Mrs PorporaOctober 2019
Mr & Mrs Smith with Buster

We had a wonderful stay here with our little dog Buster, an excellent place for a holiday base. The cottage was well equipped and very clean. Being set in the valley it was so peaceful and a perfect place to relax with a secluded garden which was secure for our little dog and to sit. It was also really nice to go for walks in the grounds which we all enjoyed.

Mr & Mrs Smith with BusterAugust 2019
Hilary with Tess

Honeysuckle cottage is wonderfully peaceful and its garden has a great view of the valley. My highlight was seeing how much my dog loved her surroundings with the enclosed garden and her walks along the many different paths on the property. Would certainly stay again.

Hilary with TessAugust 2019
Mr & Mrs Taylor

The perfect choice for us – and our dogs ! Visited whilst doing some serious house hunting in the area (and celebrating our anniversary) – loved the location, Buddleia cottage, the garden and all those wonderful walks round the estate. Would definitely recommend to anyone with – or without – dogs who wants a gorgeous rural retreat in the lovely South Hams.

Mr & Mrs TaylorJuly 2019

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 & Rewilding page.

Walks from your Cottage Door

All our guests have exclusive access to our rewilded valley. There is a 1.5 mile nature trail which winds through woodland and past ponds, with a few stopping off places to watch the wildlife or check out a view. It’s ideal if you want to take your dog for a morning walk to run off their extra energy before going out for the day! We also 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. The whole route is very beautiful and unspoilt. At certain points it can be steep, and there are sheep and cattle grazing on some 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 or visit the Great Outdoors page on our main site which includes ideas for Accessible walks too.

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. The Avon and the Dart both spill down from Dartmoor and are usually wooded so are 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 our local village of 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 lots 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 Hills 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!

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 £300 for a 3 night short break or £425 per week in low season, rising £550 in a one bedroom cottage or £660 for a two bedroom cottage in June. We offer couples a discount in our 2 bedroom cottages outside the main season. Please call or e-mail Ruth and Jon on 01548 521272 or

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, unless previously arranged.

If you’d prefer to talk to us about holidaying with your dog or have any special questions then please contact us.

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 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.

To get a dog’s eye view of Dittiscombe and the local area read our blog: dreaming of sheep and a lick of ice cream!

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 Hills Estate & Cottages, Slapton, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 2QF.

T: +44 (0)1548 521 272


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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!