High quality self-catering cottages in Devon & Exmoor

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Coleton Fishacre

Near the mouth of the River Dart, and less than a mile from the South West Coast Path that snakes all around this spectacular coastline, lies this cracking country retreat, now owned by the National Trust and very welcoming to dog owners. The estate was once the luxurious seaside home of the D'Oyly Carte family (famous for their Gilbert and Sullivan connections), and it features an interesting Art Deco house, oozing with 1920s style. The inside of the house is unsurprisingly off-bounds for hounds, but there's a beautiful bench under the archway just outside, purposely positioned for one of your party to wait with the four-legged member of the family while the rest of you look around.

In any case, dogs (and many owners) will be far more interested in the grounds, which roll down to the sea and boast a Royal Horticultural Society–credited garden, plus tranquil ponds and a network of enticing pathways that wend through plantations of flora, both native and from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand. The perimeter walk is very dog friendly (albeit on-lead) and serves up delicious vistas across the valley and out to sea that will have many a human drooling.

The on-site café provides water bowls for dogs and there's even a long-running talent competition where visitors take photos of their canine companions and post them on Facebook; the happiest-looking hound wins, and they all seem to have big grins on their chops, so judging this must be a nightmare. Around the property there are many more walks, and the dog-friendly beaches of Mansands and Scabbacombe are nearby, as is Froward Point. hound wins, and they all seem to have big grins on their chops, so judging this must be a nightmare. Around the property there are many more walks, and the dog-friendly beaches of Mansands and Scabbacombe are nearby, as is Froward Point.