The South Devon coastline is littered with secluded coves and picturesque fishing villages. One such hidden gem is Hope Cove, just 5 miles (8 km) south-west of Kingsbridge.
Once a favourite haunt for smugglers, Hope Cove is really made up of two villages, Inner Hope and Outer Hope separated by a small rocky peninsular. The villages are less than 666 yards (600 metres) apart.
Inner Hope (the most southern) is tiny and made up of a collection of ancient whitewashed thatched cob (stone) cottages set around a small square.
Outer Hope (the most northern) occupies the remainder of the sheltered bay. It is still just a fishing village with sandy beaches and a few facilities such as toilets, pubs, shops and a café. Fishing now is mainly for crustaceans and Hope is renowned for its crabs and lobsters.
Scattered over the hillside are thatched, whitewashed, 17th century stone cottages and inns. For visitors wishing to make Hope Cove a base for walking and exploring the delightful coastline, there is plenty of accommodation available.
We know fishing has been the main industry at Hope Cove since 1281 but in the 1750s the plentiful pilchards suddenly disappeared (probably due to over fishing) and many inhabitants lost their livelihoods.
Incomes were supplemented with smuggling and plundering wrecked ships. The treacherous seas claimed at least 100 ships and some say that ships were deliberately lured onto the rocks with lanterns placed in cottage windows.
By 1863 smuggling was almost a full time occupation although it was punishable by hanging. Contraband such as silk and brandy was brought from France in 3-masted luggers and landed in secluded coves were it was hurried up the cliff paths to safe houses, inns and sometimes churches to be hidden from the Excise Men.
World War ll
During World War II Hope Cove was home to numerous RAF men and women who operated the Radar and Radio Stations in the area. Many aircrews were boarded at The Cottage Hotel prior to flying dangerous missions throughout Europe.
Things to Do
Diving on the numerous shipwrecks is a favourite activity along with fishing off the rocks. Walks along the cliffs are also popular. For a detailed description of one local walk click on Web: Devon Walks website External Link
Nearby Slapton Ley Nature Reserve is famous for its rare flora and plentiful birds.
Within easy driving distance of Hope Cove is Dartmoor and the historic towns of Plymouth, Dartmouth, Totnes and Salcombe with their attendant attractions.
Plan Your Trip
Accommodation - Search & Book through Lastminute.com here: External Link
- By Car
Take the A38 from either Plymouth or Exeter to the intersection with the A3121. Take that road to its junction with the A379 to Kingsbridge.
From Kingsbridge take the A381 south and at Marlborough, take the country lanes westward through Bolberry to Inner Hope.
For Outer Hope, take the coastal roads north from Inner Hope.
Google Map - Hope Cove