Whilst staying here at Willow Lodge, we know that people would like to go out and about and explore the wonderful South Devon area.  We have put together some of South Devon’s prettiest villages and towns, that we feel is a must see.


Cockington, Village Cottage, thatched, 6 templar rise, finlake, south devon

Cockington Village Cottage

Minutes from Willow Lodge : 22 Minutes

For people who wish to feel like a hobbit in the Shire, Cockington is the place to visit. Take the opportunity to walk back in time along the narrow lanes, lined with thatched houses that are quintessentially English.

While in Cockington you will discover the water mill and forge hidden away from the rest of the world, and the Cockington cricket pitch was once a medieval deer park. So there is plenty of history in and around the area.

The village was first documented in the 10th century but is thought to be founded 2500 years ago in the Iron Age, due to the two hill forts on both sides of the Cockington Valley. The country park is a beautiful and relaxing place to walk and see the history of the area.

Just a short distance from the English Riviera, Cockington is a quiet retreat away from the main crowds and attractions of Torquay and Paignton. Ideal for those who want to escape and forget the world.


Minutes from Willow Lodge : 25 Minutes

Widecombe-In-The-Moor’s name literally gives away its location. It is set in Widecombe Valley – as deep in the moors as you can get.

There are less than 200 households within the village but yet it is still well known and a must-see for those looking to explore the Dartmoor area. Widecombe-In-The-Moor has an annual extravaganza Fair and throughout the year there are tea rooms, shops, pubs and a gorgeous setting where wild ponies, sheep and cattle visit the village green!

The scenery surrounding the village is simply stunning, especially when driving down the very steep hills.

This place is a walkers and sightseers paradise. There are many artefacts around the village that the locals will help you hunt down. Then there are also the moors right on the doorstep. It’s probably best to pick a direction and simply just stroll to see the sights. For those looking for something more unique, take a Dartmoor Llama Walk to be shown the area with the llamas and a guide by your side.


Beer, 6 templar rise, south devon, finlake, devon, devonshire

Beer, South Devon

Minutes from Willow Lodge : 48 Minutes 

A much loved and popular destination on the south coast, this Devon village is a picturesque fishing spot which also has a family-friendly shingle beach which is all surrounded by limestone cliffs.

Close to the town of Seaton, there is something special about Beer; it’s got that seaside feel without it being too overwhelming. Once a smugglers haven, today it is specially designed for boats to be launched from the beach by skilled fishermen and visitors can take mackerel fishing trips.

There are popular coastal walks in and around the area including the South West Coast Path and along to Dorset and the East Devon World Heritage Coast.

A little way out are the Beer Quarry Caves. Here regular tours take you through the caves and underground caverns to see artefacts and history. Their mighty halls of vaulted roofs and pillars of Beer Stone have been compared to a vast underground cathedral.

If being underground is too much, then simply spending time on the lovely beach and in the sea on a sunny day is a wonderful pleasure at Beer.


Shaldon Village, Teignmouth, 6 templar rise, south devon, devon, devonshire, finlake

Shaldon Village view from from Teignmouth

Minutes from Willow Lodge : 13 Minutes

Shaldon is an unspoilt village that is loved by visitors because of its beauty and its thriving community. Like with many places in Devon, many Shaldon families are still linked to the fishing industry, therefore the village is an array of bright boats with a great beach and easy access to calm waters.

Shaldon also has a great range of local shops and attractions, plus it is an ideal place for a relaxing day out. It isn’t as commercial as other locations but it is perfect for experiencing real Devon life first hand.

The beach is blissfully ideal for swimming, sailing, rowing, paddling and rock pool exploring. Who knows what you might find? Maybe some crabs.

For something away from the beach, travel to Teignmouth on the oldest passenger ferry in England, where there are places to eat and drink alongside traditional seaside entertainment. But for most, a quiet picnic in Shaldon itself is a  great way to waste away the day.

Shaldon is based on the South West Coast Path so there are many walks from the village to other beautiful locations with views of the coastline. There is also a Botanical Garden, a golf course with sea views and a zoo for the whole family. Shaldon Zoo is small but has a wide range of primates along with small mammals and birds.


May Day Rock, Lustleigh, 6 templar rise, Finlake, South Devon, devon, devonshire

May Day Rock, Lustleigh

Minutes from Willow Lodge: 19 Minutes

A classic and quiet picture postcard village that’s a secret gem in Dartmoor. Lustleigh Cleave is a steep-sided, tree-covered valley which has the River Teign running through it which makes lovely walking territory, attracting hikers to paths that go along a ridge which has spectacular views over Dartmoor and the surrounding countryside.

The village orchard is used as a venue for a range of events throughout the year, home to the very popular and famous Lustleigh show. The village also thrives with May Day celebrations which feature the rock in the picture above. Inscribed on the rock are the names of the May Queens crowned each yeah since 1954. The throne dates from 2000 when it was cut from quarry stone.

Plus there’s a beautiful old church with fabulous stained glass, The Cleave Public House which offers food and drink, The Primrose Tea Rooms with cakes and lunches, a pretty green, thatched cottages and stunning summer gardens.


Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-sea, 6 templar rise, finlake, south Devon

Burgh Island

Minutes from Willow Lodge: 47 Minutes

Situated on the South coast of Devon, Bigbury-on-sea is a perfect day trip for the family. Cherished for its soft, golden sands to sink your feet in to and rock pools to explore. For those of you into water sports, Bigbury has plenty to offer with large open waters ideal for surfing.

If you’re feeling peckish you can pop in to the Venus café, which serves homemade Devon beef burgers, artisan pasties and delicious breakfast baps all to be enjoyed whilst taking in the superb beachside views.

Burgh Island is Bigbury’s most famous landmark, serving as the inspirational setting for Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ and home to the wonderful, art deco inspired Burgh Island Hotel. The island is connected to the mainland via the beach, but at high tide you can watch in awe as the route is swallowed by the sea. Visitors can still reach the island by taking a trip on the famous “beach tractor”.

East Portlemouth

East PortlemouthEast Portlemouth, 6 templar rise, finlake, south devon, devonshire, devon

East Portlemouth

Minutes from Willow Lodge: 60 Minutes

This small Devon village is tucked away on the Southern end of the Kingsbridge Estuary and is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a bit of peace of quiet away from the crowds and tourist areas.

Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the secluded beach is ideal for a family with young children or a couple on a romantic getaway – it’s also dog friendly all year round. With regular ferries to and from Salcombe it’s a handy base from where to begin a long day out.

For nature lovers there are stunning, mysterious coves to explore and extreme sports enthusiasts daring, water-based activities are found in abundance. Nearby National Trust walks – including the 3.9-mile East Portlemouth to Gara Rocks trek – provide views of many of the area’s best attractions like the Fort Charles ruins.


dunsford, 6 templar rise, finlake, south devon, devon

Minutes from Willow Lodge23 Minutes

Yet another sweet little Dartmoor village, this time it is on the north east edge in the centre of Devon. As with anywhere on the moors, Dunsford is in gorgeous rolling countryside and is well known for its pretty thatch, cob and moorstone cottages.

The village sits on top of the Teign Valley, on the side of a wooded hill which slopes down to the river for lovely views. Dunsford is fairy quiet, which is a wonderful reason to visit for those looking to embrace the remoteness of Dartmoor. There’s a school, pub, a swimming pool, a few shops and a sports field.

But a visit here is not complete without seeing the nature of Dartmoor. Nearby Dunsford Nature Reserve is worth exploring, especially in the spring when the bright yellow daffodils command the scenery.


dittisham, 6 templar rise, south devon, devon, finlake, devonshire


Minutes from Willow Lodge: 47 minutes

Considered by many to be one of south Devon’s most attractive villages, small, unspoilt Dittisham in South Hams sits on the banks of the River Dart just two miles upstream from Dartmouth. Known locally as Ditsum, not only is the village itself a delightful sight but the river views in the changing light are beautiful and atmospheric. The surrounding countryside is also glorious and there are numerous walks you can do. Dittisham is served by a passenger ferry that you can take the short distance down to Dartmouth, and also across to Greenway Quay if you want to visit Agathie Christie’s former holiday home Greenway House, which is highly recommended.


Thatched cottage, Cockington, 6 templar rise, finlake

Thatched cottage in Cockington

Minutes from Willow Lodge: 22 minutes

Located a stone’s throw from Torquay in south Devon’s English Riviera – known for its 22 miles of gorgeous coastline and pretty villages – Cockington still manages to stand out from the crowd. You don’t get more quintessentially English and idyllic than this, with the narrow lanes, thatched houses, water mill, forge and a cricket pitch that was once a medieval deer park. The village was first officially documented in the 10th century, but is believed to have been founded 2,500 years ago during the Iron Age, due to the existence of two hill forts on either side of Cockington Valley.


Ashburton, south devon, 6 templar rise, finlake, devon

Pretty Ashburton

Minutes from Willow Lodge: 15 minutes

Perfectly positioned for Dartmoor, Ashburton on its southerly side is a charming, thriving market town with a wonderfully scenic backdrop. It has a strong, environmentally focused, nature-loving community with lots of galleries, cafés and restaurants and shops selling books, antiques and arty knick-knacks. While in the area, treat yourself to a ride on the steam railway from nearby Buckfastleigh, it’s a great way to see the countryside.


dartmouth, finlake, south devon, 6 templar rise


Minutes from Willow Lodge: 54 Minutes

Undoubtedly one of Devon’s finest towns, Dartmouth has it all. It’s picturesque, interesting and there’s so much to do here within the town and surrounding areas. It’s set on the western bank of the River Dart estuary within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Beauty, with access to the South West Coast path and Dartmoor National Park a few miles away. The busy harbour is a great place to while away some time watching the boats from one of the many cafés and restaurants. Dartmouth Castle and Dartmouth Museum both offer a glimpse into the town’s more distant fascinating past, while the house at Coleton Fishacre transports you back to the stylish 1920s.


The River Dart, Totnes, 6 templar rise

The River Dart in Totnes

Minutes from Willow Lodge: 23 Minutes

Blessed by its fantastic location in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounded by woodlands and rivers, Totnes is a thriving hub with character, colour and a long history. It dates back to AD 907 and by the 12th century had established itself as an important market town. Such a rich history is evident. Architecturally, it’s said to have more listed buildings per head than any other town. These days it’s a draw for those who enjoy the arts, music, natural health and more alternative views on life so it has quite a progressive bohemian vibe, which is a charming contrast to such an old town. It’s very foodie and markets are still a big feature. There are outdoor markets every Friday and Saturday and between May and September there’s an Elizabethan market on Tuesday.


Brixham , 6 templar rise, finlake, south devon, devon


Minutes from Willow Lodge: 35 Minutes

It’s hard to leave Brixham as it has a captivating buzz. Located in the district of Torbay across the bay from Torquay in south Devon, Brixham is one of the UK’s busiest fishing ports and the largest working harbour. That adds to the character and energy here, creating a town that has a vibrant arts, crafts and food scene. You’ll see maritime and nautical imagery in lots of places, such as in the art and gifts on sale, and of course delicious fresh fish and seafood is widely available. Historically, Wiliam of Orange landed first in Brixham during the Glorious Revolution. There’s also a full-size replica of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon the Golden Hinde, which is fun to visit


Tiverton, 6 templar rise, finlake, south devon, devon


Minutes from Willow Lodge: 39 minutes

Settled in the Mid Devon countryside, the town of Tiverton steps you back to a simpler time, with romantic castles, historic houses, and horse drawn barges. Set on the banks of the Great Western Canal, the town is full of history and heritage to be explored.

Centrally located in Devon, Tiverton is the ideal base for exploring the Devon countryside and to really escape on holiday – where you can discover surrounding traditional thatched villages, enjoy rural countryside walks and wildlife, and enjoy beautiful local produce at your leisure.


Why not book your stay at Willow Lodge today and experience all that our wonderful lodge, and south Devon has to offer.


Willow Lodge, Brambles 4, Finlake Holiday Park, Chudleigh, Devon, TQ13 0EJ, United Kingdom.
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