Travelling in 2020 is a bit different for everyone this year. We took the difficult decision to not to travel abroad considering this was how the pandemic spread in the first place. So Spain has been put on hold and we decided on Devon, in particular; Dartmouth, as we luckily have access to a holiday home there via family.
We were extremely fortunate that it coincided with a heatwave so it did actually feel like a proper holiday.
If you have never been, Dartmouth is a small town in South Devon on the River Dart. It is what I would describe as ‘quaint’ with some lovely restaurants and beautiful river views.
As the town centre is quite small and the streets narrow and difficult to socially distance, we spent our days walking in the beautiful countryside and making the most of being on the River.
We stayed near the Dart Marina Hotel (where I would stay if we didn’t have access to the apartment). They have a lovely section of outdoor space overlooking the Dart Marina with a fun converted VW where they serve coffees and drinks.
The Dart Marina is beautiful and great for boat and people watching (direct access to the Marina itself is private though).
This year we discovered a few new things; the Dart Valley Trail, Sandquay Woods and the Dartmouth Yacht Club.
The Dart Valley Trail is a stunning walking route from Dartmouth to Totnes. We picked it up from Dartmouth and walked to Dittisham and back. We were stunned by the different scenery we walked through, ranging from fields of grass and wheat, pine forest, open hills with river views and prehistoric-like forest with dangling vines and ferns. It’s quite something:
Arriving at Dittisham in time for lunch we got a fantastic takeaway from the Anchorstone Cafe (if you want a table you need to book quite far in advance). It was quite busy there but if you walk along the beach (past the pink pub on your left) you’ll find a green overlooking the river with plenty of space.
Whilst there, the boys had a sailing lesson and I went paddle boarding, earning ourselves an ice cream for the long walk back.
Another shorter but beautiful walk we did was Sandquay Woods Walk (you can also park here if you want to do the walk to Dittisham). This takes you around the other side of Old Mill Creek which we gained a bit of a soft-spot for:
As we wanted to spend more time on the water we decided to join the yacht club which sounds grand but means you can access the clubs kayaks, paddle boards and sailing boats. This turned out to be great value and it was great to be on the water and see Old Mill Creek from a different vantage point:
On our way back home we went across the river to Kingswear for a quick stop and same great views over the harbour to Dartmouth:
….and from there we headed to Brixham for lunch at Rockfish:
It was quite something to eat fish directly above the fish market and see a catch come in, directly below where we were sitting. (If you don’t like the smell of fish and the noise of a working harbour, this is probably not for you.)
Brixham itself was extremely busy and it was clear that it was impossible to socially distance (with no-one wearing masks) so we didn’t venture any further than the restaurant.
Even though we have been to Dartmouth many times before, we really felt that the pandemic had given our staycation and us, a different, slower pace and appreciation for the nature and landscape surrounding it. Of course, the amazing weather helped but it really is a special part of South Devon.
I hope everyone is managing to have some kind of semblance of Summer, even if it is slightly different to the ‘norm’.