Activities in South Devon

Active pursuits for all the family

While you are enjoying your holiday here at Carswell Holidays, why not enjoy some of the leisure activities that South Devon has to offer? An abundance of activities are on offer for all the family – from fishing, walking & cycling to more adventurous activities like surfing, kayaking and coasteering!

Whether it’s an action packed adventure holiday you’re after or just lazy days on the beach listening to the sea with the prospect of a delicious evening supper of fresh local foods – there really is something for everyone. Here are some suggestions to help you plan your holiday…

Carter Boat Hire, River Yealm at Newton Ferrers (2.5 miles): 01752 872189.

Nick Oatway, River Erme at Mothecombe Beach (3 miles): 01548 810249, 07717 677222. Hire a small boat by the day or week, or go on a fishing day trip on Nick’s larger boat. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards also available for hire.

Dittisham Boats, River Dart at Dittisham (25 miles): 07711 177124. Hire motor boats, sailing boats, kayaks and paddle boards to travel down river to Dartmouth or up river to Totnes.

Whitestrand Boat Hire, Kingsbridge Estuary at Salcombe (19 miles): 01548 843818. Hire a motor boat or choose to go on an estuary cruise or mackerel fishing trip.

Boat Trips

Plymouth Boat Trips (10 miles): 01752 253153. A variety of boat trips are available from the Barbican including harbour cruises, journeys up the River Tamar and ferries to Cremyll, Cawsand and Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall. Wander past the kiosks on the Barbican to find out more.

Kingsbridge Salcombe Ferry (15 miles): 07967597527. Catch the ferry from Kingsbridge to Salcombe (timetable dependent on tides so check in advance), or enjoy a cruise along the creek or around the harbour. Also available for private hire.

Greenway Ferry (26 miles): 01803 882811. Board in either Dartmouth or Dittisham for a cruise along the River Dart or get off at Greenway Quay to visit Agatha Christie’s former home.

For short boat trips, a ferry runs in the summer months between Noss Mayo, Newton Ferrers and Warren Point on the other side of the River Yealm – phone ferryman Bill Gregor to check times: 07817 132757.

Alternatively, drive to Salcombe (19 miles) and either catch the South Sands Ferry to nearby South Sands Beach or jump on the small boat across the estuary to East Portlemouth, where you will find more beautiful beaches and fantastic walks.

Tenpin Plymouth Barbican (10.5 miles). Bowling, table tennis, pool and arcade games as well as food and drink.

Climb Devon, Dartmoor: 07743424174. Courses and private lessons with an experienced climbing instructor.

The Climbing Hangar, Plymouth (15 miles): 01752 717510. Excellent indoor bouldering facility.

Dart Rock Climbing Centre, Buckfastleigh (20 miles): 01364 644499. The centre offers roped climbing with auto belays as well as bouldering and an artificial cave system. Half-day and full-day outdoor courses are also available.

Cycling Holidays in Devon

Cycling around South Devon is a joy as the roads are relatively quiet, and some of the cycle rides on Dartmoor are hard to beat.

Hire bicycles from Plymouth Bike Hire (11.5 miles): 07577 279928.

There is a lovely cycle trail on the old train track heading north from Plymbridge, making a great family day out which is suitable for all ages. Park in the Plymbridge Woods National Trust car park (14.5 miles) and ride for about 5 miles until you reach Dewerstone Woods, or onwards to Princetown, about 15 miles from Plymbridge.

The Dart Valley Trail covers around 10 miles in total, running from Dartington (21 miles) to Sharpham Vineyard (22 miles), while the Exe Valley trail from Exeter which follows the estuary and is truly stunning.

Carswell Farm is a working dairy farm, and while we can’t offer hands on experience on the farm, you will usually see some of our cows or calves in the fields around the cottages. We do also offer you the chance to come and watch the cows being milked – just contact me before or during your stay to arrange a suitable day. I would meet you at your cottage at 3.15pm, then we would drive about a mile to the milking parlour. Wellies or boots are advised.

Golf Courses & Tennis

Bigbury Golf Club (13 miles): 01548 810557. The nearest golf course is at Bigbury, a beautiful course overlooking the stunning coastline and Burgh Island. Call in advance to check that there is no competition on when you want to play.

There are also courses at Wrangaton (12.5 miles), Thurlestone (16.5 miles), Dartmouth (21.5 miles) and most famously at St Mellion (23 miles), which is just over the Tamar Bridge in Cornwall.

Horse Riding & Pony Trekking

We don’t have any riding facilities on the farm but there are local schools nearby:

Newton Ferrers Equus, Newton Downs (3 miles): 01752 872807. Woodland hacks, beach rides and lessons are all available, with horses for all ages and abilities.

Cheston Farm Equestrian Centre, Wrangaton (12.5 miles): 01364 388188. A well-established riding centre with a clubhouse café, offering a range of options for children and adults, beginners and advanced riders.

Adventure Clydesdale, Dartmeet (29 miles): 07901 943038 / 07809 729739. They offer horse trail riding on Dartmoor in Devon exclusively on magnificent Clydesdale horses, great fun!

Shilstone Rocks Riding Centre, Widecombe-in-the-Moor (28 miles): 01364 621281. Moorland hacks for all abilities.

If you want to bring your horse away with you we can, by prior arrangement, organise a paddock for you during your stay and we are very happy for you to ride over the farm.

Canoeing & Sailing in Devon

Mount Batten Centre, Plymstock (11 miles): 01752 404567. Children and adults can do taster sessions and tours around Plymouth Sound on sit-on kayaks. Other water sports include stand up paddle boarding, dinghy sailing, powerboating and windsurfing.

Sea Kayak Salcombe (19 miles): 01548 843451. Explore the creeks, caves, coves and secluded beaches near Salcombe on a kayak tour.

Newton Ferrers is just over a mile away and is a great place to mess around in a boat. It’s a popular sailing centre and there is usually plenty going on over the summer including racing, fetes and regattas. Boat hire is available from Phil Carter on 01752 872189 (evenings).

Mount Batten Centre, Plymstock (11 miles):  With an impressive range of dinghies on offer, this is the perfect facility whether you are looking to get out on the water for the first time or you are an experienced sailor.

Devon Sailing Experiences, Plymouth (12 miles): Yacht charter specialists offering packages for beginners and experienced sailors, including day sails on a 41 foot yacht.

Salcombe Dinghy Sailing (19 miles): Dinghy sailing courses, children’s taster sessions and private lessons all available in the safe waters of the Kingsbridge Estuary.

Sound Diving, Plymouth (10 miles): 01752 405007. This family-friendly, family-run outfit with lots of marine wildlife experience runs scuba and free diving/spearfishing courses for novices and charters for advanced divers.

Plymouth Snowsports Centre (12 miles): 01752 600220. Dry ski slope and toboggan run plus other family-friendly activities. Skiing and snowboarding lessons available.

NEW FOR 2024 SUMMER – hire stand up paddle boards direct from us at Carswell Holidays. More information to follow in the new year.

Swell Hunter, Newton Ferrers (2.5 miles): 07738 447913. Board hire and lessons on the River Yealm.

Triocean Surf, Churchstow (14 miles): 01548 854676. Hire paddle boards, wetsuits, kayaks, surfboards and bodyboards from knowledgeable staff. Close to Bantham and other popular beaches.

Discovery Surf School, Bigbury on Sea (14 miles): 01548 810535. Surf and stand up paddle board lessons for children and adults, in an extremely popular surf spot. Private and group lessons available.

tennis court at carswell farm

This year we’re offering the opportunity to use Carswell Farm’s hardcore tennis court (pre-book) – for guests wanting to stay active whilst on holiday, why not get in touch and book!

*Please bring your own tennis rackets and balls, pre-bookable only for one hour at a time. The tennis courts are within the grounds of the owners house, therefore no dogs allowed.

Super Tramp Plymouth Trampoline Park, Plymstock (9.5 miles). A fantastic indoor activity for families.

Tourist Information Centres

The local tourist information centres are always very helpful and have lots of information on their websites. Find out more about local towns by clicking the links below.







Find more general information about Devon