Thursday, 7 September 2017

These Boots Were Made For Walkin'...(or running!)

Autumn is a great time for hiking out your walking boots (see what we did there?) and getting some fresh air and exercise before winter sets in. 

The South West Coast Path actually runs through the grounds of Stoke Lodge, making it the ideal base for exploring the South Hams and surrounding areas - and what could be better than relaxing in this friendly and welcoming family run hotel after an exhilarating and rewarding day of exploring the Great Outdoors?

With lots of walks and trails and also organised walks and events to enjoy in September and October you'll be spoilt for choice.

Just take a look at just a small selection of what's on offer and choose your pleasure...

Walk and Talk - weekly organised walks from Dartmouth:

'Defending the Coast' - BBC Radio Devon Walk:

Berry Head Bat Walks

Trust10 Run -Monthly run at Coleton Fishacre (NT):

South West Coast Path Challenge 2017:

South Devon Walks and Trails: 

South West Coast Path walks:

Pub Walks in South Devon:

10 of the Best Walks in Devon:

Today’s hectic lifestyle can play havoc with your head, but believe it or not there is an easily accessible antidote to the stresses and strains, and it’s simply learning to Reconnect with Nature.

Here are five scientific facts on how both adults and children can benefit from getting out the Great Outdoors and simply being surrounded by peace and fresh air:

•    Nature brings our senses alive.
•    Nature bonds families and friends.
•    Nature heals in the great outdoors.
•    Nature can reduce depression and improve psychological wellbeing.
•    Nature gives an interest, a focus, a new zest.  It's literally awesome!

With thanks to all these great organisations for all the inspiring information:

By the Dart Magazine

South Devon AONB

South West Coast Path

The Guardian

So - get your boots on and start walking...!

Stoke Lodge Hotel - the Country House Hotel by the Sea...

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Dartmouth Royal Regatta - and more...

It's Regatta time again! 

The 173rd Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta takes place over the 24th, 25th and 26th August with a full and exciting programme for all to enjoy throughout Regatta week.

The focus of the Regatta is the beautiful town of Dartmouth and the river Dart estuary, just a short drive from Stoke Fleming.

Here you can enjoy see sporting competitions, entertainment and fun events for all the family as well as rowing, sailing, swimming, road races, tug of war afloat, kayaking, paddle boarding, and many other sports to watch or take part in. 

There's also an excellent programme of entertainment and music both in the Marquee and on the Bandstand and fine fireworks and air displays.

The shopping village remains a great favourite in the Marquee and there are also many fun events.

Regatta week kicks off in style with a Fete, Dog Show and Regatta Jazz on Saturday 19th August.

For full details of all the events please visit the website:

But that's not all...

For full details of many other events taking place in and around the South Hams this weekend and beyond- from Nature to Food to Art to Kids' Activities and much much more - please visit the following websites:
By the Dart Magazine: 
South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: 
National Trust - Coleton Fishacre:  

National Trust - Greenway:
Slapton Ley Beach Trailer:
Forest and Beach - Explore the Outdoors 

Dartmouth Castle - English Heritage
And all just a pebble's throw from Stoke Lodge - the Country House Hotel by the Sea... 



Thursday, 10 August 2017

What's On this weekend in the South Hams..?

Find out what's going on just a hop, skip and a jump from Stoke Lodge this weekend...

Throughout August - Fun and Free Children's Outdoor Activities at nearby Slapton Sands!

At the Slapton Ley Beach Activity Trailer you will find amazing people brimming with local knowledge, interesting facts about the history of the are as well as the free events, which include:

* Freshwater pond life * Touchy feely boxes * Kite Making * Tower challenge * Creating recycled mosaic art * Scavenger hunts * Orienteering * TOP TEN things to see and do * and more...
Every day of the summer holidays from 11am – 4pm


Saturday August 12th and Sunday August 13th -  South Hams Vintage Machine Rally
The 43rd annual two day working vintage rally will be held by the South Hams Vintage Machinery Club on Saturday at Sorley Cross, Kingsbridge TQ7 4AF.

The Club's rally strives to showcase their fine heritage, with exhibits from days gone by including tractors and implements, commercial vehicles, motorbikes, cars, steam engines and horse drawn ploughs. It also has a lot to offer for everyone including, traditional craft marquee, fully licensed bar, children's entertainer, birds of prey, tractor and trailer rides, a bouncy castle, vintage fairground attractions and trade stalls


Saturday 12th August - Beach Clean at Soar Mill Cove 3pm

Bags, gloves and pickers are provided - meet at Soar Mill Cove Hotel. FREE.


 Saturday 12th August - Open Gardens - Higher Ash Farm. 2:00pm - 5:00 pm

Opening in August as part of Ash Open Gardens - this includes the small garden at Bay Tree Cottage a short walk away. 

Higher Ash Farm Ash, Dartmouth, TQ6 0LR - a beautiful 2.5 acre garden which has been extensively developed in the last few years, with a large kitchen garden, pond and bog garden, orchard, herbaceous borders and a variety of shrubs and trees.

 * Tea and Cake * Admission £5.00 * Children free *

Info -  Higher Ash Farm:
National Gardens Scheme:

Saturday 12th August - Seabirds and Paella 4pm - 8.30pm
Torbay Coast and Countryside Services.

Meet at Berry Head Main car park. A chance for keen birdwatchers to learn more about sea watching and migrating seabirds, with local expert Mike Langman, finishing with a delicious paella and cold drink at the Berry Head cafe. 

Booking essential: 01803 520022.


Sunday 13th August - Celebrate Start Bay - 12:00pm to 4:00pm FREE

Hosted by Slapton Ley Field Centre and Stokeley Barton Farm - a day-long celebration of ‘all that is good’ about the Start Bay area showcasing local arts and crafts, food and the great outdoors. 

A full programme of outdoor and indoor activities and entertainment.

Meet at Slapton Ley Field Centre, TQ7 2QP. 


Sunday 13 August - Outdoor Theatre at Greenway - National Trust. 6.30 - 8.30pm.

Heartbreak Productions version of the classic children's tale 'The Secret Garden' demonstrates all that is good about friendship and promises to add a touch of magic to your summer's evening.

Why not pack a picnic?

Bring along a blanket and low-backed seating and settle down for this outdoor theatre performance in the Walled Garden.  

Info: Greenway Road, Galmpton, TQ5 0ES

Monday 13th - 19th August - Totnes Carnival.

At the Civic Square, Totnes. Grand Carnival Procession around 6pm on 13th. 

Carnival starts on 14th  and includes traditional events throughout the week: Children’s Fancy Dress and the fun ‘Odd Object Competition’. Grand Carnival Procession on 13th August.  


No need to be bored in the Beautiful South Hams whatever the weather...have a great time whatever you do! 

 Stoke Lodge Hotel - the Country House Hotel by the Sea

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Don't Miss Stoke Fleming's Famous Hort and Sport Show!

This traditional and ever-popular event will be held on Monday 28th August at Stoke Fleming Village Hall and Playing Field

Just a short walk from Stoke Lodge Hotel, this community event was established in 1875 by the Stoke Fleming Horticultural & Sports Society.

This year the Exhibition and Sports Show has 187 exhibitor classes and 27 different awards to be decided. 

Classes include the traditional floral arrangements, vegetables, fruits and flowers but also a beach hut to be made from recyclables; a hand-made item including pine cones and a mobile on a coastal theme in the Special Division. Entries will close on Friday, August 25th, at 8.00 p.m.

James Harris Jazz Band
The Show will be an afternoon of entertainment for all the family, including a chance to look at the exhibits in the Village Hall and Marquee and a lunchtime BBQ. 

There will be traditional teas, sandwiches and cakes, a licensed bar, ice-creams as well as entertainment from The James Harris Jazz Band, Clive Pig the Storyteller, and a programme of traditional children’s sports.

Torbay Owls
There will also be static displays from Torbay Owls, Thorn Alpacas and Ash Rescue Centre as well as a selection of stalls to enjoy.

Schedules are available from outlets in Stoke Fleming, Strete Village Shop and Gardentime or by contacting the Show Secretary, Shirley Ruddlesden, on 01803 770468.

The field opens at 12.30 p.m. and the Show will be officially opened by Reverend Alison Shaw at 2.00 p.m. Admission is £2.50 for adults, 50p for children aged 5-14 and under 5s are free. Car parking is free.

Thank you to the South Hams Gazette, the Dartmouth Chronicle and By the Dart for all the useful information.

More info:

Stoke Lodge Hotel - the Country House Hotel by the Sea

Thursday, 3 August 2017

August Events this weekend - and beyond...

A roundup of What's On this weekend in Dartmouth and surrounding area - and beyond..!

Thursday August 3rd - Evening Gardening Lecture at Shilstone House

Join an illustrated talk by Carolyn Keep on FW Meyer - landscape gardener to Robert Veitch and Son. For full details see contacts below:

Booking: 01548 830832/e mail

Thursday August 3rd - Rockpooling at South Milton Sands

Join the rangers on the beach for a fun session exploring the rockpools. All part of the National Trust’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign. Bring shoes that will get wet, sunhats and sun cream. Free (accompanied children only)

11am - 1pm. Meet at South Milton Sands, South Milton SX 677414

Friday August 4th & Saturday August 5th - Woofstock UK Charity Gala 2017 and Dog Show
Aug 4, 2017 7:30 PM at the Flavel,  Flavel Place, Dartmouth, TQ6 9ND

Join Woofstock UK for a special fundraising event for Animals Asia. Wine and cheese will be available, with live music, a special auction, a private art viewing, short films and talks from the UK Director of Animals Asia among the fun on offer! 

And as an added bonus, Animals Asia UK Ambassador Peter Egan (star of stage and screen) will be here - subject to availability!
Psst! Don't forget to come down to Coronation Park on August 5th for the Woofstock UK 2017 Dog Show! 

For more info about this fabulous event visit the website:


Saturday August 5th - Beginners' Snorkel Safari - Wembury Marine Centre

Join the fully trained BASC instructors for a snorkel taster session aimed at beginners from 8years +. Full kit provided. Booking essential - call 01752 862538


Sunday 6th August - Crabshell Regatta, Kingsbridge

A fun day of paddle board jousting, backwards rowing, fancy dress and plenty more - helping to raise money for local charities. Held at the Crabshell Inn,Kingsbridge.

Sunday 6th - 18th August - Dartmouth Art Society Summer Exhibition

Held at the Masonic Hall, Lower Street, Dartmouth from 10.15am - 5pm daily - a fine display of artwork from many local artists.

Wednesday 9th August - National Trust Wild Wednesdays!  12.30pm- 2.00pm

Join the Rangers at Coleton Fishacre to discover some of the fantastic creatures hidden in the rock pools. Dogs on leads welcome. Meet at Mansands Beach, Nr Brixham TQ5 0AJ - from car park walk down Woodhuish Lane to the beach to find the rangers.

Wednesday 9th August - Explore the Dart Estuary by Canadian canoe.

Go exploring with Winding River Canoe, from Totnes to Dartmouth and back with a stop at Dittisham for lunch - bring a picnic or visit the pub! No previous experience necessary.

Booking essential:


Wednesday 9th & Thursday 10th August - British Firework Championship, Plymouth Hoe

The world famous British Fireworks Championship is set to return to Plymouth's Waterfont. 

Wednesday 9th August - Family Canoe Safari with Singing Paddles

A guided canoe tour on sheltered water at the top of the estuary looking for wildlife, heritage and some challenges! All equipment provided. Meet at Timbers car park, Aveton Gifford TQ7 4JL. 

Booking essential: 07754 426633 or e mail:


Thursday 10th August - Summer Fun Beach Games at South Milton Sands.
Can you beat the Rangers at beach games? Any budding beach champions can challenge the National Trust rangers in beach volleyball, ping pong, boules, skittles and more in this fun afternoon of family activities.


Many thanks to By the Dart Magazine and South Devon AONB for all the useful info.

Is that enough for you to be going on with? And all just a hop skip and a jump from Stoke Lodge Hotel

The Country House Hotel by the Sea...



Wednesday, 2 August 2017

World Book Weekend Rides Again...

The Lady From Devon Life - she say yes..!!

I am happy to report that following a very positive meeting at Stoke Lodge Hotel Annette Shaw, organiser of the World Book Weekend event and Book Reviewer for Devon Life magazine, has agreed that as it has proved so popular for the last two years she will do it all over again in 2018!

Annette got together with hotel owner Chris Mayer, Victoria Sutor (representing the NHS Leadership Academy and the Reading Agency organisations), local author/registration secretary Julie Archer, event admin organiser Sarah Stevenson-Olds, and event MC Alan Depledge (plus yours truly taking notes..!) to review and discuss this year's event.

It was decided that next year's event will take place on Saturday 21st April, with a more relaxed and informal evening on Friday 20th where people are free to come along to the hotel for a drink and, if they wish, a meal, meet and chat to some of the authors and get to know any hotel guests who may be staying to enjoy the event.

Nothing has been finalised yet, but plans are afoot to have a slightly longer daytime event on the Saturday, which will involve the usual start with morning coffee and talks from various authors and speakers, with a welcome break for a delicious buffet lunch in the Garden Restaurant - which it has to be said was heartily enjoyed by all this year! 

Following lunch will be an informal afternoon with talks from local authors, a Q&A session, and a book swap (very popular last year - I donated five books I had loved and went home happily clutching four more books pre-loved by someone else!).

The finishing touch will be the Hotel's famous Devon Cream Tea as a final delightfully civilised end to what promises to be a hugely enjoyable event.

(Psst -Annette is currently in secret talks with several authors and speakers - all will be revealed in due course so watch this space...)

For more info please visit:

Event info 2017:

World Book Night:

Devon Life/Annette Shaw:

NHS Leadership Academy:

The Reading Agency:

Julie Archer, Writer:


Guest Blogger Valeria D

Thursday, 20 July 2017

School's Out For Summer! What's on this weekend

Take a look at what's on offer just a stone's throw from Stoke Lodge Hotel this weekend...and beyond!

Photo credit - Forest and Beach
School Holiday Forest Days, Beeson

Throughout the school holidays 9.30am - 3.30pm for children aged 5 - 14+ years. Includes fire lighting, shelter building, archery days, beach days, exploring the outdoors with friends - and much more.

For full details visit

Photo credit - Countryside Trust
Friday 21st July - Berry Head Bat Walk, Brixham

A unique opportunity to see the rare Greater Horseshoe bats at Berry Head National Nature Reserve - a Geopark Gateway. 8.15 - 9.45pm.


Saturday 22nd July - Experienced Snorkel Safari, Wembury Marine Centre

A session aimed at more experienced snorkelers keen to explore Wembury's stunning underwater world! Full kit provided, booking essential.

Contact: 01752 862538/ Info:

Saturday 22nd July - English Riviera Model Railway Show, Churston

Around twelve model railway layouts in a variety of scales from tiny Z gauge to 0 gauge will be on show at Churston Grammer School, together with trade stands, from 10.00am - 4.30pm

Info and photo courtesy of By the Dart Magazine - thank you.

Photo credit: National Trust & Wembury Marine Centre
Saturday 22nd July - Friday 28th July - National Trust & Wembury Marine Centre.

Kickstart the holidays with beach fun! A host of fun holiday activities, kicking off with the Wembury Summer Fun Day

Family Fun Day, Bug Hunting, Kite Making, Campfire Cooking and other Craft activities, Rock Pooling Safari, Mini Raft Race Extravaganza and much more.

Full info here:

Photo credit: Into Yoga and Nature

Sunday 23rd July - Nature Connection Forage, East Prawle

An immersion in the wild South Devon coast for some nature connection using the senses, some quiet walking and guided easy meditation. Sample foraged afternoon tea!

Booking essential with Liz Turner at Into Yoga and Nature. Contact: 07765 631877


Photo Credit: English Heritage
Monday 24th July - 31st August. Hands on History - Pirates, Dartmouth Castle 

11.00 - 5.00 at Dartmouth Castle. Get set for a summer packed with time-travelling fun, with lots to see and do. The English Heritage Hands on History Crew bring the past to life throughout the school holidays.

For more info please visit: 

Dartmouth Castle:

Pirate Activity Days:

Photo credit: Slapton Ley Nature Reserve
Monday 24th July - 3rd September - A Whole Host of Summer Fun and Free Family Events around Slapton Ley Nature Reserve

Activities include the Secret World of Wildlife, Bat Watching, Mammals and Moths, Rocky Shore Rambles, Seashore Adventures, Survive the Wild, What Lurks Beneath and a Wildlife Canoe Safari.

Details too numerous to mention here so visit

Wednesday 26th - Guided Tour of Lupton House and Gardens

Join Charles Bevan from Lupton Trust, to discover more about the history and stories of this estate and find out what the Trust are going to bring the house and gardens back to their former glory.

£5pp - 1.30pm - 3pm. Meet in the coach house cafĂ©, Lupton House, Churston Ferrers. TQ5 0LD
Booking essential – call 01803 845800.


Photo credit: Yealmpton Show
Wednesday 26th July - Yealmpton Show, Kitley Lawns, Yealmpton

A great day out for all the family with a Countryside Marquee, Food Hall, Cakes and Handicrafts, Diggers and Tractors, Classic Cras, Trade Stands - and much more!


Photo credit: National Trust
Thursday 27th July - Beach Fun at South Milton Sands

All part of the National Trust’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign... Join the rangers on the beach from 11.00am until 3.00pm for a fun session of scavenger hunting and beach art, exploring the beach and being creative! Bring shoes that will get wet, sunhats and sun cream.
Free (accompanied children only)

Meet at South Milton Sands SX 677414


Many thanks to By the Dart Magazine and the South Devon AONB for all this very useful information - have fun..!

Stoke Lodge Hotel - the Country House Hotel by the sea...