The Dart Valley Trail is one of South Devon’s most favoured walking routes, and this comes as no surprise....
Dittisham, or ‘Ditsum’ to locals, is a picturesque village on the southern bank of the River Dart. Just 6.5 miles from Dartmouth, it’s well worth a visit to enjoy its beautiful river views, have a drink in one of the welcoming pubs or sit down for a meal in the Anchorstone Café.
A short passenger ferry ride across the river will take you to Greenway, the National Trust-owned former house and estate of Dame Agatha Christie.
Did you know there are three National Trust properties in South Devon? Have you visited them all?
Dittisham is a 10-15-minute drive from Dartmouth and Totnes, and just four miles from both Hillfield Village and the ever-popular Woodlands family theme park.
The easiest way to get to Dittisham by car is to leave the A3122 by the Sportsman’s Arms pub on the edge of Blackawton. From this turning, which you’ll find around 4 miles from Dartmouth and 3 miles from Totnes Cross in Hallwell, simply follow the road straight for three miles. Small parking bays and on-road parking is found dotted around the village.
The most enjoyable way to reach Dittisham is to arrive by passenger ferry. There are a few options, including the Dittisham Passenger Ferry which takes a direct route. This ferry, which holds just a dozen people, runs every day during July and August (approximately every hour in the daytime). The service is reduced during the rest of the year, closing entirely in October. It costs £7.50 for an adult return ticket. Booking is advised. Call 07818 001108 for more information.
Another option is to take the much larger Greenway Ferry. This runs every day, departing at these times (at the time of writing):
Departs Dartmouth Town Pontoon
Returns from Greenway
* during peak times.
The Greenway Ferry costs £8.50 for an adult return, and £6.50 for children.
Find out more here: http://greenwayferry.co.uk/2012/dartmouth-to-greenway-house-ferry/
The service will take you to Greenway Quay, which is just across the river from Dittisham. From there you can take the Greenway and Dittisham Passenger Ferry over the water. Just ring the bell at either quay and the ferry will collect you. The service costs £2 each way, with concessions priced at £1.50 and dogs admitted for 50p.
Dittisham has a couple of popular pubs, one on the water and the other in the centre of the village.
The Ferry Boat Inn, or FBI, is located by Dittisham Quay, right on the waterfront. It’s an iconic pink building, which is impossible to miss from the water. From the inside, you can enjoy wonderful views of the River Dart and its wooded northern bank. Expect a warm atmosphere, a good choice of local ales and a menu which combines pub classics with original dishes. There’s also plenty of local seafood to enjoy.
A true community pub, the Red Lion also serves as a village shop, Post Office and library service! There are ales from Dartmoor Brewery and Palmers Best (Dorset), wines from all over the world and food which emphasises locally-sourced meat, fish and other produce.
The Anchorstone Café has become a renowned local chain of al fresco eateries, with branches in Dartmouth and Sharpham Vineyard, as well as where it all began on the waterfront in Dittisham. The Anchorstone Café is a glorious place to enjoy delicious local seafood lunches, such as crab, lobster, mussels and oysters. It only opens seasonally, however, so check the website before making your trip.
A meal or drink in the FBI, Red Lion or Anchorstone Café followed by a wander around the village will be enough to more than satisfy many visitors.
For kids, there are some open fields and a playground to burn off energy too.
In addition, you’ll find these activities and attractions in Dittisham:
Hire motorboats, sailboats, kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards from Dittisham Boats on the pontoon next to the Ferry Boat Inn. From there you can explore the River Dart and its picturesque creeks. Make your way as far as Totnes or head in the opposite direction to Dartmouth, where you can amble around the historic streets, do some shopping or perhaps enjoy a meal.
Greenway, now managed by the National Trust, is a fantastic place to visit for a morning or afternoon. You can learn more about its former owner, Dame Agatha Christie, and her life’s work. This includes of course her literary achievements but also her lesser-known archaeological expeditions.
The evocative décor and artefacts of the main house are fascinating, while the gardens and the views they provide are simply magnificent.
There’s a nice café-restaurant and picnic area at Greenway too, so why not stop for lunch?
As mentioned above, reaching the estate is simple enough, thanks to the low-cost Dittisham and Greenway ferry.
Located on the Dart Valley Trail, the village is a paradise for walking enthusiasts. Cross the water to walk from Dittisham to Kingswear, enjoying unforgettable views of the Dart on the way. If you time it right, you’ll be walking by the tracks when a train from the Dartmouth Steam Railway thunders past – the perfect time to grab a photo.
Take the passenger ferry to Dartmouth from Kingswear to explore the former’s shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants and picturesque harbour.
Alternatively, stay on the Dittisham side of the river and hike along the southern bank, passing through the Raleigh Estate and Old Mill Creek on your way to the top of Dartmouth. You can also combine the two for a challenging circular walk – one of the most popular walking routes in South Devon.
As a village with an active community, you’ll find its noticeboards are often full and there are plenty of events to look out for. You might also be interested in these points of interest:
This historic church was reconstructed in the 14th century from its Norman beginnings, although it’s said there has been a church in Dittisham for over 1000 years. The church is part of the Benefice of Dartmouth within the Diocese of Exeter, and strives to offer a warm welcome to every visitor.
The recently upgraded Dittisham Village Hall is very well equipped, with stage lighting and curtain rigs in place, a large main auditorium and a good-size second room, plus an excellent kitchen and plenty of tables and chairs available. It would therefore make an excellent venue for a family party, for example, and its rates are considerably lower than many comparable spaces in the area. You can find out more by emailing email@example.com.
Dittisham makes an ideal holiday base for those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle, and unwind amidst some stunning scenery. With a couple of nice pubs, the Anchorstone Café, and Dartmouth in easy reach by ferry, you can simply park up and enjoy a wonderfully leisurely break, without having to get back in the car every day.
This Grade II-listed waterfront former-fisherman’s cottage is situated on Dittisham Quay and offers spectacular, uninterrupted views of the River Dart. With a VisitEngland Five Star award, this two-bedroom property is a cosy-yet-luxurious base for your South Devon break. Holidays in this unique holiday home start at just £592.
Just two and half miles from Dittisham in the tranquil hamlet of Capton, this beautifully converted stone barn offers comfortable accommodation for up to four guests. Renovated to VisitEngland 4 Star standard, there’s also a fabulous terrace and spacious garden, providing a sense of space and seclusion around the property that’s ideal for helping you relax. Holidays at the Stables start at just £402 per week.
See the Stables’ dedicated page for full details, availability information and photos.
Just four miles from Dittisham and a 10-minute drive from Dartmouth, Hillfield Village is a tranquil development of tasteful and luxurious properties, including 20 holiday homes managed by Coast & Country Cottages. These range from the stunning Hillfield Farmhouse (sleeps 10, pictured above) to a host of cosy two-bedroom apartments and lodges. With a tennis court and outdoor pool on-site, plus membership rates at nearby Dartmouth Golf Club and Spa, Hillfield Village makes a wonderful countryside home-from-home.
Dittisham is just one of a number of scenic villages and hamlets in the South Hams. With around 400 holiday cottages in South Devon, Coast & Country Cottages has the ideal base for you.