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South Hams and the English Riviera
The South Hams of South Devon is an area of exceptional beauty and contrast with river estuaries, rolling holls and thatched cottages surrounding the lovely old towns of Dartmouth, Totnes, Kingsbridge, Salcombe, Modbury and Ivybridge.
The area enjoys one of the mildest climates in the whole of Britain. Indeed, the name "Hamme" is an old English word meaning enclosed or sheltered place. With spring arriving early, long summers, warm autumns and mild winters, you can safely choose to visit at any time of year.
With sixty miles of spectacular coastline and beaches, a rural landscape that has hardly changed in centuries and the majestic granite slopes of Dartmoor, the South Hams is a unique area worthy of its national status as a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.
Raddicombe is perfectly placed for your visit to either Greenway House or Coleton Fishacre. Just over 2 miles from Coleton and 3 miles from Greenway.
Life in Brixham centres on the harbourside and the bustle of one of Britain's busiest fishing ports. You can wander around the many harbouside shops, watch the fisherman unloading their dailly catch, or take a peek at the work of the artists who gather at Artists Corner.
Sample freshly caught seafood from one of the quayside's fish stalls, or relax in a pub or restaurant and watch life go by. Away from the harbour you can llose yourself in a maze of narrow, winding streets, and within walking distance from the town centre you will find some of the Riviera's most spectacular scenery. Sandy beaches and secluded coves give way to the towering cliffs at Berry Head, offering breathtaking views of Torbay and the starting point of the stretch of dramatic coast path that winds its way round to the village of Kingswear.
Dartmouth & Kingswear
Imagine steeply wooded hills dropping down to meet a running river where sailboats and brightly coloured trawlers bob at anchor. Ferries bustle back and forth, seawards you glimpse a cilff top church in the shaddow of a protective castle and upstream the majestic Britannia Royal Naval College stands guard over the pretty town.
On the opposite bank, a steam train puffs its way alongside the sparkling river and over all reigns at atmosphere of quintessentially English eccentricity and elegance...Welcome to Dartmouth and its sister village of Kingswear.
As its name suggests, the town sits along the majestic River Dart and it is this beautiful stretch of water that is the soul of Dartmouth. Earliest times saw the town as a simple settement at the top of Townstal, high above the muddy river bank. The 11th century found two small fishing villages, Hardness and Clifton, clinging perilously to the steep ground above the tide line. Since that time, inlets have been dammed, ground re-claimed and wharves and warehouses built to accommodate the exotic goods imported by the town's wealthy fleet of merchant ships from Europe and across the Atlantic.
Dartmouth become a haunt for privateers with our very own pirate Thomas Norton and a family of pirate Lords, the Hawleys who stole from the French and Spanish whilst cheerfully acting as the towns M.P's and Mayors! Chaucer immortalised his friend John Hawley in his Canterbury Tales as the Shipman of Deremouthe - a thief, fighter and murderer of enemy sailors but an expert in seamanship! The town itself was kept safe from marauding invaders with the building of Dartmouth Castle when chains were run across the river to Godmerock.
The great Elizabethan explorers and adventurers, Adrian and Humphrey Gilbert were natives of the Dart and their kinsmen Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake also had close ties with the Town and are a part of the long history of Dartmouth.
It has not only been an important trading port for over a thousand years but also a naval harbour. Indeed, in 1147, Dartmouth was the gathering point for the northern European forces for the second Crusade. In 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Bayard's Cove, where a plaque commemorates the event, although they were forced into Plymouth for repairs before their final departure to the New World.
Dartmouth is also the site of the Britannia Royal Naval College, completed in 1908 to the designs of Sir Aston Webb, the Architect of the imposing main facade of Buckingham Palace. The College was founded in 1863 and was originally housed in two old wooden-walled fighting ships:- the two-decker Hindostan and the three-decker Prince of Wales, renamed Britannia in 1868. More recently, the harbour provided many small ships for the Dunkerque evacuation: it also played host to the Free French, who carried out many raids across the Channel. The Americans also practised their D-Day landings nearby on Slapton Sands.
Fishing has always been a staple and continues today, but in the past Dartmouth was famous for wine imports, Newfoundland cod and, during the heyday of steam, coal bunkering. Today as well as fishing the harbour attracts several cruise liners every year.