Protecting and Enhancing the Natural Beauty and Heritage of the South Hams


The South Hams Society Is a registered charity (No. 263985) .  Our objectives are to stimulate interest and care for the beauty, history and character of the South Hams. We work to secure the protection and improvement of the landscape, features of historic interest and public amenity and to promote the conservation of the South Hams as a living and working environment. We encourage high standards of planning and architecture that respect the character of the area. We take the protection of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) very seriously and work hard to increase people’s knowledge and appreciation of our precious environment. We support the right development – in the right places – and strenuously oppose inappropriate development. The Society supports the seven ‘Nolan Principles in Public Life’ and expects everyone involved with planning, from applicants to decision takers, to undertake their work in accordance with them. The Society and it’s members aim to meet the same standards.


Covid -19 – Safety and Social Distancing

Thank you for visiting the South Hams Society Web site.  As part of our arrangements to comply with the Government’s instructions, we have postponed our Events program until further notice.  We will review the situation when the Covid-19 emergency measures are relaxed.

 In the meantime, we will continue to post ‘Calls to action’ for urgent planning cases where we believe the proposed development would cause harm to the South Hams landscape and beauty. These calls will be for action which you can take safely online.

Meanwhile, if you are out exercising on any of our lovely beaches, do please take a bag for and collect what litter you can.  Informal beach cleans can continue!  Stay safe and healthy and let’s help others do that too.


Latest Articles …     

Latest News on Seymour Drive

Do you remember the devastated woodland just outside Dartmouth? Residents of Seymour Drive have been in touch with the Society to update us: “Anthony Mangnall MP has taken an interest in the happenings on the land to the North of Seymour Drive.  He has been in touch to say…. The Crown Prosecution Service have decided that whilst the...

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The Benefits of ponds

DIG PONDS TO TREBLE NUMBER OF RARE SPECIES, EXPERTS URGE Emma Gatten, Environment Editor of The Daily Telegraph, has today reported on the findings of researchers who have been monitoring a network of 20 clean-water ponds over a six square mile area of farmland in Leicestershire.  Nine years ago the ponds were established on sites where they...

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A good time to end speculation

Whilst recognising that all local authorities are hard pressed for funds these days, the South Hams Society has been concerned about our own District Council’s efforts to raise money from property investment. We were publicly critical of the Council’s poorly thought through Premier Inn plans in Kingsbridge, thankfully now abandoned. Now we...

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Capton Wood – Latest in a Series of Unlawful Wood Clearances

Last year the South Hams Society helped to support a resident’s group in the wake of the illegal wood clearance in Seymour Drive on the edge of Dartmouth. As the landowner brought forward planning application after planning application in an effort to develop the cleared land, the Society submitted letters of Objection to the District Council and...

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GERSTON POINT … continued

  You will probably remember the controversial unauthorised two-storey garage, tennis court and skateboard bowl, built without planning permission at Gerston Point in the heart of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within the designated Heritage Coast. This is a case which has attracted local community opposition, some...

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Good news for Ilton Copse near Blanksmill

This ancient copse which was felled by the landowner in late March has now been permanently protected by a blanket TPO thanks in no small part to our online campaign. According to the tree officer at SHDC: “We received positive support which was helpful, and particularly relevant where it can balance less supportive representations or...

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Press Release on Gerston Point – 12th April 2020

When South Hams District Council refused the first retrospective application for the unlawful developments – an outsized garage, tennis court and skate park – at Gerston Point last September, the Case officer found that: ‘The development represents an unwelcome and incongruous intrusion into an undeveloped countryside location that is...

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South Hams Society – 59TH AGM

Due to social distancing rules, this year’s AGM will be held online via Zoom.
Thursday 30th July 2020 at 5pm.
The virtual meeting room will open at 4.45pm to help deal with any technical issues.

All members will receive the AGM papers either by e-mail or post by the end of June.
All are encouraged to take part. We hope to see you there!

FULL Membership

Join us now and help protect this beautiful part of England. Membership costs just £10 a year.  Application Form

Your Privacy Matters Your Privacy and your support matters, so we’d like to use your details to keep in touch about things that may matter to you. If you choose to hear from us, we may send you information based on what is most relevant to you. This might be about volunteering with us, membership, events, conservation work, or fundraising.   Our Privacy Policy


Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are Britain’s best landscapes. There are 46 of them, all designated by government and protected by law. Each one has its own special character. The South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was designated by government in 1960. It covers 60 glorious miles of coastline, estuaries and countryside between Plymouth and Torbay. The AONB is one of a family of protected landscapes in the UK. With the guidance of a Partnership Committee, the AONB Team work to enhance South Devon’s outstanding beauty, for which the designation was applied. The special features of South Devon AONB include its rugged coastline, sandy beaches, secretive estuaries, patchwork countryside and historic villages – to name but a few! 

PROTECTING TREES AND WOODS – THE SOUTH HAMS GUIDE Trees, hedges and woodland are an integral part of Devon’s countryside and towns, and they provide multiple benefits to society, including filtering air pollution, reducing surface water runoff /contributing to sustainable drainage, providing wildlife habitats, improving water quality and the stabilising of soils and slopes. Devon’s hedges are particularly special. They are of great historical importance, define the county’s beautiful farmed landscapes, and support an immense amount of wildlife.

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