|Minimum Stay||3 - 7 nights|
Rose Cottage is a typical Devon chocolate-box stone cottage with thick walls, deep sills and beams. It was formerly a workers' cottage for the watermill across the listed stone bridge.
It has a large south-facing sundeck with outdoor furniture and bbq, with lawns and a wild garden. The garden and deck are fenced. Lovely views over the valley.
Both dining kitchen and sitting room have log-burners, beams, thick stone walls and elm-panelling, including a window seat. They are tiled with rugs, and the entrance is tiled to make it easy for muddy/sandy feet or paws.
The cottage has a retro feel; a blue and yellow kitchen(own washing machine) bright comfy sofas; patchwork quilt for the double bed and an ensuite pink bathroom. The twin room has ensuite shower and loo.
Rediscover what life is all about as you relax and revitalise in our tranquil coastal valley.
Five comfy old stone cottages, all originally workers' cottages or parts of the watermill, for a holiday away from it all on the banks of a shallow trout stream in 20 acres (five hectares) around an historic former 18thC watermill.
Our five cottages have wood-burning stoves, beams, deep window sills and individual character with their own garden or patio (see our website for Quack Cottage which is not listed here).
Experience holidays like they really used to be - away from it all - in a typical steep-sided Devon valley that's virtually untouched by the modern world. We welcome dogs and free-range kids.
Close to many beaches, Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve which our stream feeds, The Coast Path and Start Bay, in The South Hams Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Nestled in a secret valley between the charming villages of Slapton & Strete, we're about 7 miles from Dartmouth or Kingsbridge and about 12 miles from Salcombe & Totnes. A five minute drive to the beach at Slapton Sands and many others within a 30 minute drive.
Perfect for winding down, walking, birdwatching, wildlife, and peace and quiet, as well as exploring the villages and coastline of the South Hams.
Dartmoor is only 40 minutes away by car. There's horse-riding locally and on Dartmoor, coarse and sea fishing, three golf courses nearby, river trips, surf, kayak and canoe schools plus hire, National Trust houses too... Agatha Christie's Greenway on The Dart near Dartmouth, Coleton Fishacre once home to the D'Oyly Carte family, and many more.
A wide variety of walks, coastal, inland, moors, beaches... or up the lane to watch the sunset, gaze at the sea or watch the lighthouse at Start Point
There's been a watermill here since the Middle Ages though this one dates from 1754.
More recently, in WWII, the area was evacuated for Operation Tiger which was the rehearsal for the D-Day landings - the Sherman tank at Torcross tells the story. Children's author Michael Morpurgo based his books 'Adolphus Tips' on Slapton and its evacuation, and 'War Horse' on south Dartmoor.
We have a small holding with ducks, ducklings, hens, sheep, lambs, and cows. We grow veg and salad and offer any surpus plus eggs to our guests. We also sell homegrown lamb, sausages and beef when available and make cider and apple juice from our orchards - apple pressing day is a fun time to be here in October.
Kids can play pooh sticks from the bridge, make toy rafts to sail, build dens in the woods, make a campfire, paddle in the stream, even try fishing for the small brown trout... follow animal trcks, spot birds and butterflies or plan an adventure with a copy of the Mud Map, to Robin Hood Land or the Woodland Scramble.
Grown ups love to paint - we have many watercolourists who visit - or write. We've hosted writing groups and holistic therapists, rural crafts too, Christine is also a writer. It's great for photography even meditation or yoga on your lawn! Or try your hand at a bit of green woodworking.
There are lovely walks round the valley and beyond on green lanes and in our wetlands an otter family lives, you can sometimes see their trails and tracks, even glimpse them!
We offer sustainable holidays and have a water turbine which generates electricity (Barleycorn Cottage runs on it) plus an electric car charging point.
We've recently been awarded Platinum staus by Tripadvisor on their Green Leader programme. From 2016 we offer free electric car-charging to our guests with electric cars via our PodPoint which is fuelled by electricity from our water turbine.
Our stream, the Gara, feeds Slapton Ley which is a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scietific Interest.
Irish impressionist artist Jack Butler Yeats (brother of poet and playwright WB Yeats) once lived in the valley at Snails Castle and was visited by Poet Laureate John Masefield who wrote several poems about the Gara Brook and based his children's tale Jim Davis' in he valley - there's a cop in every cottage, it's a ripping yarn of smugglers and derring-do!
Our Rose Cottage was once owned by Beryl De Zoete, a dancer, traveller and author, who was on the fringes of The Bloomsbury Set and connected to the Elmshirsts and the School of Dance at Dartington Hall near Totnes, a great day out only 40 mins away.
The Owners: Christine & John - we love the peace & beauty of the Gara Valley & came here to live the dream of a more sustainable life closer to nature, be 'off grid'...
Christine's dream - to grow what we eat on our smallholding - still trying. I'm also a writer & a spinner, all this fleece, and interested in plant dyes. Our orchard gives us apples to press for cider & juice in autumn.
John's dream has come true, a water turbine generates our own electricity, a quadbike which of course is purely for 'work' not 'fun'...& he loves green woodworking. Current project? Building a tree house in Robin Hood Land!
John's daughter Jade is our manager. A farmer, outdoor ed specialist & National Trust advisor, raises happy meat in our fields & helps us run the cottages. We've raised pigs, lambs, cows, ducks, hens. A lot to learn, emotionally too.
We've all lived abroad & know that our valley & Hansel, this tranquil wildlife haven & its coast are unique.
Christine speaks German.
Christine Cooke and Jade Bartlett purchased this cottage in 2008
We fell in love with the valley as soon as we saw it at the end of the secret lane - it is a fairy tale, it's even in a hamlet called Hansel. Naturally, our first hen was called Gretel! The beauty of the land & the sea - often turquoise - still inspires us, and we're lucky to enjoy diverse wildlife.
An otter family lives on the river, glowworms in summer, dippers, kingsfishers, yellow wagtails, butterflies, dormice, deer, brown trout, owls, bats, even a rare grass snake or slow worm on the 4WD track. Wild flower hedges. The woods around us are unmanaged & wild, like rainforest almost. We love our secluded valley on the coast for this, and respect it.
Rare habitats make every walk an adventure or discovery. Time changes here... you feel it slow down, it's natural time, sunrise, sun
We're carbon neutral - we harvest logs for the woodburners from our own coppice, which we re-plant. It also provides stakes for fences & gates as well as maintaining habitats for wildlife. We have 20 acres of permant grass-land meadows (a carbon sink) on which we grow 'organic' standard beef and lamb. WE also have 8 acres of wild wood land which we gently maintain for wildlife and carbon capturing, woodlands are the earth's lungs and are vital.
We also have a working water-turbine and generate our own electricity from the Gara brook.
Sustainable holiday, Tripadvisor Platinum Green Leaders. Own water turbine & power!
And a digital detox - no TV, no wifi, no mobile signal (you can get it up the lane)... so no white noise or calls from the office...
Peace & quiet... just a 24hour nature channel right outside your door.
Help collect eggs, feed animals, play in stream, dens in woods, green lanes, 20+ acres to explore including our new 6 acre Sunset Field up the lane with views over Start Bay and the lighthouse.
Great if you're electro-sensitive. The energy here is soothing & revitalising - birdsong, stream flowing, stars, walks, & the rhythm of the seasons. No through traffic just the postman. You really switch off.
And we're close to pretty Devon villages & towns, a stunning coast and Dartmoor
We sell any surplus veg, make apple juice
Please contact Christine (owner) via phone or email to check availability and reserve.
A deposit of £100 confirms your booking and the balance is payable in full six weeks before the start of your holiday.
We accept cheques, electronic bank transfers and credit card payments via Paypal (subject to administration fee).
Smallprint is on our website under 't&c's'
Rose, Mill & Quack (see our own website for Quack Cottage) Cottages change over on Friday.
Crownwheel & Barleycorn Cottages change over on Saturday.
We offer flexible short breaks through the year.
Arrival is 3pm, departure 10am.
Notes on prices:
Prices INCLUDE all electricity, all logs for the woodburner, basic eco cleaning maerials, our specially made handsoap and freshly-ironed bedlinen. We supply one tea towel so do bring drying cloths.
If you are arriving from overseas we include towels for free but please bring beach towels.
We hire towels for £5 per person per stay - please book in advance - and bring your own beach towels.
We welcome dogs, at £25 per dog per week. We're flexible on number - just ask.
Short breaks too
Learn more about this vacation rental at the manager's website:
It is rare to find the perfect holiday home but Watermill Cottages achieves the impossible. Imagine a secluded valley with a handful of rustic yet comfortable cottages scattered around a river. Lawns lead down to woodland and behind are fields full of sheep and home-grown produce. The geese have priority in the lane and the owners, Christine and John, have probably arranged a bonfire and entertainment for the twilight hours. Long walks, majestic drives, river cruises, great pubs and steam trains are all within reach. I have been several times and find I am still exploring, whether its Blackpool Sands for a taste of salt or the high cliffs leading to Salcombe. There is no experience like the Gara Valley and these cottages; no TV, no mobiles, just pure nature that makes going home tough. Highly recommended.