You may have stayed in Salcombe and not left the town and we don’t blame you, after all, it is one of the most stunning seaside towns in the country! But if you fancy a change, looking for somewhere a little more discreet, we’d like to introduce you to Hope Cove.
Where is Hope Cove?
Hope Cove lies on the south Devon coast in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Just five miles from Salcombe. In fact, you will have driven past the sign for Hope on your way to Salcombe and not even noticed it.
What is Hope Cove like?
It is all about the beach…
This charming fishing village has two beautiful sandy beaches and is sheltered by the Bolt Tail headland. Hope Cove has two distinct areas, Inner Hope and Outer Hope.
At Inner Hope, alongside a pretty row of fishermen’s cottages, we have Harbour beach which is partly protected from the elements by the sea wall. This horseshoe bay is excellent for watersports with two slipways, one at each end of the cove providing easy access to the water.
The beaches are buzzing during the summer months with dinghy sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking. It’s also one of our favourite spots for wild swimming and adventurous swimmers can follow the coast and swim to Pilchard Cove or paddle their way around by kayak or paddleboard and enjoy a little seclusion. If you’re in the right place at the right time you may spot seals bobbing in the surf. Inner Hope Cove beach is dog friendly all year round.
The second beach is Mouthwell Sands at Outer Hope. This soft sandy beach is lifeguarded during the summer months and has easy access from the main car park just across the road. Backed by cliffs and scattered with rocks, Mouthwell Sands is great for families. Pack up a picnic and relax on the sands while the kids splash around on the shoreline and in the rock pools. Don’t forget the bodyboards and wetsuits, the beach faces west and picks up some reasonable waves from time to time. There is a seasonal dog ban at Mouthwell Beach between May and September.
Hope Cove has gin clear waters…
The water quality is designated as excellent, in fact, it’s named as one of the 2022 Marine Conservation Society Recommended beaches, all of which had to meet stringent criteria to qualify.
Step back in time
The village was a thriving fishing port and was quite the smuggling hotspot! But in the 1890s. The Earl of Devon had a plan which would encourage tourism, and he was on to a winner… in 1894 Hope Cottage was built as a second home. As a result, fishermen began to let out rooms in their cottages and take in lodgers.
A walk on the wild side
Pack up your walking boots and trainers, the walks around Hope Cove are awesome and the views along the coastline are simply stunning!
The South West Coast Path passes through Hope Cove and one of our favourite walks is heading west along the coast to South Milton Sands. This relatively easy walk takes around 25 minutes and showcases the best of the South Devon coastline with stunning views around every turn.
Time your walk and stop for coffee and cake or dine on the freshest seafood at The Beach House, a rustic shack overlooking the beach at South Milton, the perfect pit stop to refuel before stomping on to Thurlestone or Bantham or heading home.
Looking to the west you’ll see Burgh Island and the beautiful Burgh Island Hotel. This Art Deco bolthole, once frequented by Agatha Christie and Noel Coward, is celebrated by the rich (and the not-so-rich) and famous. The island is totally cut off at low tide and only accessed by the one-of-a-kind sea tractor which trundles back and forth through the waves.
For a longer, more challenging walk, head to Bolt Tail, Bolberry Down and on to Soar Mill Cove. This path climbs up to Bolt Tail (you can even see the Cornish headlands on a clear day!) The path drops down to rugged cliffs overlooking the bay where fishermen used to pick up kegs of brandy which smugglers had dropped. You can imagine the drudgery that went on here!
Along to Bolberry Down an important Royal Air Force base during WWII, complete with a disused runway and former barracks. Follow the path as it gently winds down to Soar Mill Cove, an idyllic sandy beach and the perfect spot for a quick dip before lunch at the Soar Mill Cove Hotel.
When it comes to dining, Hope Cove has something for everyone with a couple of good pubs serving great food, fish and chips and wood-fired pizzas. The Cottage Hotel and the quirky Lobster Pods overlooking the bay and cafes for takeaway tea and cakes.
Beaches nearby include:
Mouthwell Sands (0.1 mi)
Thurlestone (0.7 mi)
Leas Foot Sands (0.9 mi)
Thurlestone North (0.9 mi)
Yarmer Beach (1.3 mi)
Bantham (2.1 mi)
Soar Mill Cove (2.2 mi)
Bigbury on Sea (South) (2.8 mi)
Sedgewell Cove (2.8 mi)
Burgh Island (3 mi)