Beautiful South Devon is not only known for its spectacular coastal path and stunning beaches, but also its close...
Often referred to as the ‘jewel of the Dart’, the village of Stoke Gabriel in South Devon can be found on the banks of a picture perfect Eastern River Dart creek. A quintessentially English village, it is surrounded by rolling countryside and abundant wildlife, and life is very much central to the river, and in particular the Mill Pond. So, expect a constant flow of sailors, kayakers, paddle boarders and eager wild swimmers dominating the village traffic. Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s the perfect bolthole if you’re looking for a peaceful River Dart retreat that is within close proximity to Dartmouth, Salcombe and Totnes.
For a village that is small in size, it certainly packs a punch with regard to its outstanding facilities, and is home to a choice of shops, two age old pubs, a rustic riverside cafe, parish church, an ancient 1000 year old yew tree, children’s play park and community apple orchard. Home to a thriving and very much active community, you certainly won’t be short of things to do when visiting, with ambling walks, sailing, kayaking and crabbing all on the agenda. Steeped in history and tales of old, the village has long been an inspiration for writers, artists, historians, inventors and explorers, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself lost in the magic that is Stoke Gabriel.
Looking for something in particular? Use our quick links below, or read on for our comprehensive guide to Stoke Gabriel:
There are two pubs in Stoke Gabriel, both of which serve sumptuous food and drink, and are perfectly placed to take in the River Dart and surrounding countryside…
The Castle Inn welcomes families and dogs, and prides itself on consistently delivering ‘good food, good drink and good company’. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a lazy lunch, relaxing dinner and even a boogie at one of their weekly live music nights. Booking is advised, especially on a Sunday, with roast dinners proving to be a firm favourite amongst both local residents and visitors.
The Church House Inn is one of the oldest buildings in the village, and unlike many parish churches across the country, the parish church of Stoke Gabriel continues to own the licensed premises. Today however, the premises are leased by the church to the tenant on a commercial basis, but the church community remains at the core of the pub, and you will often find many locals enjoying a tipple or two after a Sunday service. Offering sumptuous food, local drinks and a welcoming atmosphere, this is a great spot to visit should you want to really become acquainted with Stoke Gabriel village life. Be sure to check The Church House Inn Facebook page for regular updates, including information on live music and weekly quizzes.
Relaxed and rustic, The River Shack is the ultimate waterside destination, and you will find it situated on the banks of the River Dart. Open for breakfast, lunch, coffee, cream teas served the Devon way and dinner at the weekend, they also sell ice cream from a separate shack throughout the summer months. The menu is fresh, locally sourced and changes with the season, and the icing on the cake is that they offer a wide selection of soft and fantastic array of alcoholic beverages, including an extensive g&t menu! They also sell crabbing kits, should children (or grown ups!) want to spend a little time pulling up a few mighty clawed crustaceans.
There are so many things to do in Stoke Gabriel it can be difficult to know where to start! Regardless of whether you want to explore the area by foot, bicycle, sail, motor, kayak or paddle board, there is always something to do, and your experience will always be enveloped by a warm and welcoming community. The river, in particular the Mill Pond, is the most popular of open spaces within the village, but should you want to keep your feet on dry land then not to worry, the community orchard and children’s playpark are well worth a visit.
One of the best ways to explore the River Dart is by kayak, not only does it give you an immense sense of freedom, but it also provides the opportunity to experience nature and wildlife first hand, close up. Those who choose to navigate the river by kayak regularly paddle with wild seals, kingfisher and herons to name a few, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled on your adventure. From Stoke Gabriel, you can journey towards Dartmouth, stopping at Dittisham or Tuckenhay, or alternatively, paddle to Totnes. If you don’t have your own vessel then not to worry, because you can hire equipment and book guided tours from Stoke Gabriel with the Totnes Kayak company. Prices start from £28.50 per hour for a single kayak (at the time of writing), and full pricing details can be found on their website.
Stoke Gabriel holds a strong ‘crabbing hotspot’ reputation, so you can expect to pull in a bucket load of mighty-clawed crustaceans should you choose to drop the line. One of the best crabbing spots in the village is from the quay, alongside The River Shack (they sell all the equipment and bait should you need it!). On a low tide, you can also crab from the jetty, but do be careful, because it can be extremely slippery. Crabbing is a classic British holiday activity, and keeps children and adults entertained for hours, and as avid crabbers ourselves, we want to share with you our crabbing tips – read our dedicated crabbing blog post for even more information.
The village is popular with boating enthusiasts because of the ready access to the Dart, and as such, sailing in Stoke Gabriel is a popular pastime, and best of all, the geography of the rivers provides superb conditions for both novice learners and experienced sailors alike. The Stoke Gabriel Sailing Club is the beating heart of the village sailing community, and the newly refurbished clubhouse is situated at Mill Point. Boasting three floors, it houses a boat and kayak store, lockers, changing rooms, showers and a large meeting room. Boat owners have access to a dinghy park and canoe rack, whilst non-boat owners have constant access to a fleet of sailing dinghies, rowing boats and canoes. For those of you who have your own sails, you can moor up at the Stoke Gabriel deep water pontoon at any time.
There are a variety of beautiful walks in and around the village of Stoke Gabriel, varying in length and terrain. A favourite amongst both locals and those that visit is, on a low tide, walking along the shoreline to Duncannon beach, or venturing into the woods that look out towards Dittisham. For a gentle stroll, head along the riverbank, through the parish apple orchard and navigate the cobbled streets of the old village. For a longer walk, take on the four mile journey to Totnes, enjoying an artisan coffee upon your arrival! At Coast & Country Cottages we love walking, and have curated a comprehensive guide to the region’s best trails, so for more inspiration download our free South Devon walking guide.
Stoke Gabriel is served by a number of local businesses, and you will find two popular shops in the village. The Stoke Gabriel Stores and Post Office is packed with local and seasonal produce, and is a great place to stop should you need to pick up picnic supplies, or equally something more substantial. The River Dart Gallery is somewhat different in its offering, and is home to an art gallery, gift shop and also a bespoke framing service.
Stoke Gabriel is perfectly situated to explore the playground that is South Devon, and also the wild and rugged expanse that is Dartmoor. What’s more, the English Riviera towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham are just a few miles away. With a wealth of beaches to hand, the historic towns of Dartmouth and Totnes nearby, and many popular attractions such as Paignton Zoo and the Steam Railways you certainly won’t find yourself short of things to do near Stoke Gabriel, regardless of season, rain or shine! For even more inspiration, read our blog post on things to do in South Devon.
Stoke Gabriel is a village and parish in South Devon, situated on a creek of the River Dart. Equidistant from both Dartmouth and Totnes, the village is a popular tourist destination in the South Hams and is renowned for its mill pond and crab fishing.
Parking in Stoke Gabriel is limited, and during the summer months finding a space can be a bit problematic. If you want to park directly beside the river then head to The Ham (TQ9 6RD). Situated on the Quay, spaces are limited to 40 bays, and charges apply in the height of the season. There is also a car park for the Church House Inn (TQ9 6RX), and further on-road parking available on School Hill (TQ9 6ST). As always, please park with respect to local residents.
At Coast & Country Cottages, our South Devon holiday cottages are ideally situated to explore the jewel of the Dart that is Stoke Gabriel, and also the surrounding area. From properties boasting river views to coastal cottages and country escapes nestled in the countryside, you are sure to find something to suit.