Mill Cottage stone-built converted barn, built about the same time as the watermill in the 1750s. Views from the upstairs open-plan living space down the stream, under the listed old stone bridge and down the valley.
Great for birdwatching or keeping an eye on the kids!
It’s topsy-turvy to maximise the views - upstairs it's bright, modern, & open-plan with a relaxing sitting area around the logburner, a dining kitchen with washing machine, slit oven/hob etc.
Downstairs there's a double bedroom with the stream flowing beneath the window, a room which can be a single or a twin/cot, a kids' bunk room, bathroom with shower over and a further loo.
Outside there's a patio in the courtyard area with flower and herb filled pots, outdoor furniture and a bbq. It's unfenced yet the shared lawns and stream are a few steps away – there’s further seating there too.
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.
About the Owner
About Christine Cooke and Jade Bartlett
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
Why Christine Cooke and Jade Bartlett chose South Hams
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
What makes this cottage unique
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
From the Owner
“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”
Activity and Interests
Special interest holidays: great location for walkers, bird watchers, nature lovers...
...as well as painting, holistic therapy and writing groups. We occasionally run or host writing retreats, please contact us if you're interested.
... perfect for a digital detox and for reminding yourself what life was lifke before mobiles, internet and TV...playing with imagination, dens, camp fires, star-gazing, making dams, tracking wildlife, nature play, stream paddling, talking...
Seven minute drive from the 3 1/4 mile long beach at Slapton Sands (dog-friendly all year round).
Ten minute drive from Blackpool Sands with Venus Beach Cafe, open all year, and Easter to October there's a shop and kayak hire. Also freshwater pond on the beach.
A variety of other beaches within 30 minute drive, many dog-friendly, some great for surfing and kayaking.
Exeter is closest airport - an hour away by car.
An hour from Plymouth ferry to Spain and France.
Strete - 40 minute walk on green lanes & fields. Ten min drive.
Slapton - 60-70 min walk, five min drive. Has small 'Park & Walk' area for Slapton Ley & Coast Path.
National Nature Reserve at Slapton Ley - five min drive. Great birdwatching!
Slapton Sands - seven min drive; Blackpool Sands - ten min drive.
Kingsbridge 7 miles, Dartmouth 7 miles, Totnes - 12 miles, Salcombe 15 miles.
Dartmoor National Park - 40 minute drive
A variety of beaches within 30 minute drive.
The Coast Path nearby
Riverford Organic will deliver organic veg, groceries, wine for your arrival - call Martin on 01803 732786 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Local produce, groceries, wine/beer, newspapers also delivered by Strete General Store - call Andy on 01803 770225
Local fish/seafood to buy at Britannia at Beesands or try their beach shack Britannia on the Beach. The Cricket Inn does great fish and seafood too.
At Torcross by the beach, the best fish & chips at The Start Bay Inn (takeaways too); the Torcross Beach House (dog-friendly);Sea Breeze cafe. Farmshop, with deli, butcher, cafe, plants at Stokeley Barton.
At Strete, renowned restaurant The Laughing Monk. Dog-friendly Kings' Arms pub with sea views from garden.
At Slapton, The Tower Inn & The Queens Arms pub. Both villages have shops, and the pubs have gardens and are dog-friendly.
Farmers markets in Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, Totnes. Dartmouth has Sainsburys, M&S, Lidl, Co-op as well as good local shops, galleries. Restaurants from five star The Angel and The Seahorse (Observer Best Fish Restuarant 2012) to creperie, cafes, French bakery, teashops.
Totnes has an exciting range of restaurants - Scandinavian, fusion, organic, vegetarian, Italian, teashops, good for vintage clothes and alternative living. Green supermarket, Morrisons and good local shops.
Banks in Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Totnes. Cashpoints at BP station at Halwell Cross. Cheques still work well in South Devon!
Walks - where do I start! Start Bay lighthouse - a stunning headland walk, seals, sometimes dolphins, and unspoilt beach at Mattiscombe. Little Dartmouth to Dartmouth - boats, beauty & castles.
Dartmoor of course, horse riding there and five mins away from us. Round the valley you'll see unspoilt woods and old mills. NT houses, Dartington Hall. Kayaking, surfing all possible locally. Mackerel to catch off the beach.
Cinemas in Dartmouth. Kingsbridge an independent, at Dartington Hall. Pottery Painting in Kingsbridge and Totnes.
From the Owner
“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”
- Away From It All
- Farm Holidays
- Holiday Complex
- Sports & Activities
- Linens Provided
- Living Room
- Washing Machine
- Wood Stove
- Dishes & Utensils
- Dining Area
- Events Allowed
- children welcome
- pets considered ...
- near the sea
- autumn foliage
- botanical garden
- naturist beach
- water parks
- winery tours
- bird watching
- eco tourism
- horse riding
- paddle boating
- scenic drives
- sight seeing
Sports & Adventure Activities
- deepsea fishing
- fly fishing
- freshwater fishing
- bay fishing
- Bathroom 1 - Toilet, Bath (no shower), Shower Enclosure
- Toilet 1 - Toilet
- 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
- Bedroom 1
- Bedroom 2
- Bedroom 3
- Golf ...
Learn more about this holiday rental at the owner's website
- Notes on accommodation: Cot and high chair available on request at no extra charge. We also have stair gates. Just ask when booking. We are far from the madding crowd here - though only a five minute drive from Slapton (two great dog and family friendly pubs, one does takeways, and village shop) or a 40 minute walk to Strete (well-stocked village shop, Post Office, dog and children friendly pub with garden & sea views, takeaways too). We don't receive TV signal or mobile signal though you can get it up the lane - so there are no TVs. Radios, books, games and plenty of birdsong. We're happy for people to explore our land, build dens in the woods, dam the stream, play Pooh sticks, make rafts, bows and arrows (mind the ducks!) and have campfires in the firepit (please ask us first!). We welcome free-range kids and grown-ups who love to use imagination, or who enjoy being right at the heart of mother nature. We welcome dogs and are flexible on number - just ask! Outside: Rose - fenced, southerly garden, slightly elevated, bbq & outdoor furniture. Own log shed & parking. Large deck, lawn & borders, small wilderness. Great valley/stream/wood views. Crownwheel - fenced secluded riverside patio, bbq, outdoor furniture. Gate to lawn & path thro woods by mill leat & stream. Mill - flowery, herby patio with furniture, close to main lawn Barleycorn - large, fenced, private Plus large shared riverside lawns & shallow stream, woods & wetlands to explore. Take a mud map to our 'Robin Hood Land'. No light pollution = great for star-gazing. 24hr wildlife channel outside your window, glow worms, otters, owls, dippers, kingfishers & grey wagtails along the stream, butterflies & varied bird- and wildlife. Brown trout too. We run a smallholding with hens, ducks, ducklings, lambs, calves, sometimes pigs and welcome help with feeding. We grow as much veg and fruit as we can, press apples for cider & juice & generate electricity from our own water turbine