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Staycation: Harvest Cottage, Devon

by Helen Renshaw
Staycation: Harvest Cottage, Devon
Helen with Olaf and Floss in Dartmouth

South Devon is the perfect destination for a dog-friendly staycation. There’s a wealth of excellent pubs, restaurants, days out, riverside walks and stunning beaches to explore with your four-legged companions, as Helen Renshaw discovers – with a little help from rescue dogs Olaf and Floss

Where is it?

A rural farm location in the heart of south Devon, just a 15-minute drive from Totnes and 20 minutes from Dartmouth.

What’s the accommodation like? 

Cosy, warm and super dog-friendly. This two-bedroom farm cottage is the perfect base to explore the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – but you’ll need a car, as it’s quite remote and public transport is very limited.


Harvest Cottage ticks all the usual country hideaway boxes. There’s a wood-burner, games cupboard, well-equipped kitchen, comfy beds (king size in one bedroom, and twin beds in the other) and secure garden big enough for zoomies.


Best of all is the relaxed, down-to-earth vibe that dog lovers will appreciate. No pale carpets to induce muddy-paw anxiety, no precarious ornaments to fall foul of a happy tail. Just comfortable, dog-friendly cosiness.


What did you eat and drink?

The food culture in south Devon is second to none, with the freshest of ingredients sourced from the local farming and fishing community.


Our standouts include the delightfully eccentric Pigs Nose Inn in the tiny village of East Prawle, where we dunk crunchy whitebait in tangy mayo and down a pint of Devon-brewed Otter Bitter (word to the wise – agree who’s designated driver before heading here) as dog-loving locals happily step over our sprawling hounds.


At the White Hart on the Dartington estate, we explore an intriguing menu beneath the soaring ceilings of a medieval hall – think melt-in-the-mouth trout gravlax, cured in-house with the estate’s own gin and homegrown beetroot, and a smoked cauliflower cheese (mmm, smoked cheese sauce. Lightbulb moment).


Just over the Dorset border in Lyme Regis, we eat perfect fish and chips from Herbies takeaway on the beach, while gazing out to sea like the French Lieutenant’s Woman.


And in lovely Dartmouth we enjoy our meal of the week at the Mitch Tonks co-owned Rockfish with the dogs by our side – we share plump, briny oysters and salt-and-pepper Brixham calamari, washed down by a ‘high tide’ negroni with blood orange soda, followed by fresh-off-the-boat Dover sole and rockfish fillets with salted limes, spices and coriander.


Tucked down a side street in Plymouth, we discover the dogs’ favourite – at the Fisherman’s Arms, resident schnauzer Mr Jones has a beer named after him and there’s an ‘Ala Bark’ section of the menu, featuring ‘Bottom Sniffer’ beer for dogs. We order Olaf and Floss a doggie bolognese, and it’s wolfed down before you can say treaties.


What is there to do?

Loads. Some of the most spectacular sections of the South West Coastal Path are within a short drive, putting your usual walkies in the shade. Imagine craggy cliffs, sandy inlets, wildflowers and the chance of spotting dolphins, seals and basking sharks.


South Hams also boasts delightful estuaries, with many gorgeous walks, quaint villages and dog-friendly riverside pubs.


Arty Totnes, with its crafts stalls and wholefood cafes, and foodie magnet Dartmouth, where you can pick up a mouth-watering array of local foodie treats, are both close by.


Many days out are dog-friendly, too. Our favourite was a nostalgic trip on the South Devon Railway – a steam train which meanders along a glorious valley between Buckfastleigh and Totnes.


What do I need to pack?

What not to pack? We were only there four days but needed everything from woolly jumpers and waterproofs to T-shirts and smart casuals. Let’s just say the weather can be changeable.


Lasting memory

Gazing out across the Dart Estuary from a window seat in Rockfish, Dartmouth. We’re welcomed with an ‘Alright my lover’ by the lovely Joanie, who explains the daily changing menu, based on the best catch from Brixham fish market or the restaurant’s own boat, Rockfisher. My Dover sole is pure heaven - cooked simply with a light dusting of flour, lemon, parsley, salt and pepper, washed down with a crisp Vinho Pescador. Having Olaf and Floss settled beside us was the icing on the cake.

Sainsbury’s magazine insider tip

Beaches have different regulations with regard to dogs – there are loads of places that allow off-lead frolics, but some limit dogs to certain areas or times of year, so it’s worth a bit of research beforehand. Check out, which has a super useful section on all things doggie.

How to book

Harvest Cottage is available to book via for a three-night break for up to four people from £389, with two pets staying for free. To book, visit or call 0345 498 6900. There are more than 11,500 pet-friendly properties at, with 6,500 of them allowing pets to stay for free. For details of Rockfish Dartmouth, visit

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