Throughout the summer, Salcombe Harbour Hotel is holding a ‘catch it, cook it, eat it’ experience, a fishing trip where participants are taught how to make a catch with a line and rod by local fisherman, before the hotel chef teaches them how to prepare, cook and dress their catch, ready for dinner. Prices start at £65 per person (44).
Meanwhile, local operator Sea N Shore is running a sea safari wildlife tour, which includes the chance to watch marine life below the water through a specially-made ‘aqua scope’. Tours start at £40 (76; sea-n-shore.com)
Devon’s coves and shores offer excellent excursions by sea kayak Credit: Reach Outdoors
2. Sea kayak and wild camping expedition
Explore sea caves, forage for food, stargaze by a campfire and sleep under canvas on a remote beach – these classic expedition experiences are on offer for the first time from adventure company Reach Outdoors, in association with the National Trust. The two-day summer expeditions follow the stunning coastline of Berry Head and Sharkham Point, in the Torbay area of South Devon, and include the chance to see seals and catch fish. Prices start at £120 per person, including equipment hire, meals and kayaking tuition. (25; reach-outdoors.com)
3. Glaravanning – glamorous caravanning
You’ve heard of glamping … now meet glaravanning. Beverley Holidays and Whitehill Country Park in South Devon are due to launch 40 luxury static caravans this summer, complete with iPod docking stations, Wii consoles, private sundeck with barbecue and outdoor hot tubs with sea views. The family-run holiday park in Paignton has invested almost £1 million in the new accommodation; hot tub caravans from £859 for a week in June (61; beverley-holidays.co.uk).
“Explore sea caves, forage for food, stargaze by a campfire and sleep under canvas on a remote beach.”
4. Horse-riding expedition across Dartmoor
Take to the saddle for a horse-riding adventure across Dartmoor National Park, one of Britain’s largest remaining wilderness regions. Liberty Trails has three expeditions this summer, including a three-day cattle drive, in which (experienced) riders help Dartmoor hill farmers drive their herds across the moor, Western-style. There’s also a two-day moorland horseback adventure, with a chance to rest aching limbs at luxury Dartmoor spa hotel Bovey Castle overnight. In late summer, experienced riders can join a five-day Mongol Derby-style riding challenge, covering up to 25 miles of moorland each day, either camping at night, or staying in local hotels. The cattle drive starts on April 30 and costs £950 per person, including three-nights’ hotel accommodation, meals, hire of experienced cattle horses and three days’ riding. The two-day horseback adventure is on June 3 (from £1, 350, including a stay at Bovey Castle) and the Dartmoor Derby starts on September 23 and costs from £1, 250, all inclusive (74; liberty-trails.com).
Horse-riding adventures for experienced riders take place across Dartmoor National Park, one of Britain’s largest remaining wilderness regions. Credit: Liberty Trails
5. New look for Gidleigh Park
5One of 2016’s biggest culinary handovers is taking place at two-Michelin starred hotel, Gidleigh Park, in Chagford, on Dartmoor. Michael Caines, who has headed Gidleigh’s restaurant for 21 years is standing down, and filling his chef whites will be Michael Wignall, who previously headed Surrey’s Pennyhill Park Hotel. By the summer, Gidleigh’s famous restaurant will have been completely refurbished and the menu given a fresh new feel, with ten-course tasting menus, simpler lunch offerings and an original take on Devonshire cream teas. There will also be a new bar (01647 432 367).
Gidleigh Park is welcoming Michael Wignall to head the respected restaurant. Credit: Gidleigh Park
6. Instagram sensation stages exhibition
When Jo Bradford set herself the task of photographing Dartmoor every day in 2015 on walks with her two small children and two dogs, using just her mobile phone, she had little idea her project would be become a social media sensation. A Love Letter To Dartmoor in 365 Photographs has gathered over 50, 0000 followers on Instagram and is due to be exhibited at the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre in Princetown from 27th May 27 to August (dartmoor.gov.uk/visiting/vi-eventsguidedwalks/dartmoor-exhibitions).
7. New Dartmoor Walking Festival
One for ardent ramblers, this brand new festival stages hiking events across Dartmoor over nine days, from Saturday August 27 to Sunday September 4. The programme includes ranger-led walks, archaeological visits, talks, climbing, Nordic walking, children’s walks and cycling events (visitdartmoor.co.uk/things-to-do).
8. Anniversary celebrations at the River Dart Country Park
This award-winning activity centre on the edge of Dartmoor is celebrating its 40th birthday this year with a programme of summer events. The highlight promises to be a giant birthday picnic on June 5, which will include a bird of prey display, dog show, live music, a bake-off and wacky river race along the River Dart (11 ; riverdart.co.uk).
9. The best cream teas
Visit Devon has helped with the choice of where to find the best cream tea by awarding The Guardhouse Café in Brixham the title of Devon’s Best Tearoom 2015. Built on the site of an 1802 century guardhouse on a promontory on Berry Head, it’s a spectacular location with sea below and footpaths close by (78; guardhousecafe.com). The award is the latest boon for Brixham, which has a growing reputation as a foodie destination. Earlier this year, celebrity chef Mitch Tonks launched a branch of his seafood restaurant Rockfish in the harbour town (72; therockfish.co.uk), while Poop Deck, on the town’s quay, continues to draw seafood-loving crowds (01803 858 681; poopdeckrestaurant.com).
“There is more to Salcombe than crabs.”
10. New gin school in Salcombe
There is more to Salcombe than crabs. This summer will see the opening of new gin distillery, bar and gin school on Salcombe’s waterfront. When it opens in July, the Salcombe Gin Company will run tours of the distillery, and a gin school where students can learn how to mix their own flavours. Based on the first floor of a boathouse, the setting is superb – the distillery will have floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a tasting bar with waterside views and moorings for seafaring visitors. Tours of the distillery take 45 minutes and will cost £15, including a tutored gin tasting. A session at the gin school lasts three hours and costs £100, which includes a take-home bottle of ‘home-brewed’ gin (salcombe-gin.com).