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

The South Hams Society
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.

Homes Under The Planner!

Homes Under The Hammer host Martin Roberts has had his dreams of building a new home in Dartmouth dashed by the town council. The BBC television presenter unveiled his vision at a planning meeting earlier this week, even taking a model of the proposed development along with him. During the meeting on Tuesday, September 10. Mr Roberts told...

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Red Alert Warning – Selcombe & Kingsbridge Estuary

  In his report to SHDC objecting to the Chillington development proposals, Leslie  Pengelly notes that the Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary, which has gone from being progressively more polluted by raw solid sewage in the mid-sixties, as house building ballooned around the estuary towns and villages, to becoming much cleaner in the early...

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Healthy Sweet Chestnut Trees Felled

 A year ago the Forestry Commission condemned almost two hundred Sweet Chestnut trees in ancient woodland in East Allington, from evidence gained by aeriel hotography alone. They have not provided details of how many trees were tested for Phytophthora in the field ,by the ‘Lateral Flow Device’ testing regime, which is highly...

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Protecting The South Hams

 Decisions, decisions! Every Planning Application, Appeal or Public Inquiry is unique and must be assessed on its merits. Past cases do however provide planning guidance to all those interested in protecting or improving our natural or built environment. Here are examples of important resent Planning Appeal and Public Inquiry Decisions which have...

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Next Beach Cleans

Just a reminder that the next beach cleans are: Saturday, 14th September – Soar Mill Cove  (Sunglasses and tanning lotion for this one!)Volunteers should meet in the car park behind the hotel at 14.00 hrs. It is nearly a quarter of a mile walk down to the beach but is well worth it. Saturday, 12th October – Great Mattiscombe SandsMeet...

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Appeal decision – Millbay Cottage – appeal refused

 Following serious planning objections from the South Hams Society and local residents, the Planning Inspector has decided that the ‘Millbay Cottage’ Appeal is dismissed. The decision  followed the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission to demolish an existing dwelling and replace it with a new building.The Inspector...

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Gerston Point – Retrospective Planning Permision Refused

 GERSTON POINT – RETROSPECTIVE PLANNING PERMISSION REFUSED South Hams District Council, following advice from their professional planning officers, and objections from the Parish Council, local residents and the South Hams Society, have refused to grant ‘retrospective’ planning permission for the works undertaken by the...

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Gerston Point Retrospective Application – Update

  The South Devon AONB Unit has concluded the Retrospective Application proposal would result in adverse impacts upon the purpose of designation for the South Devon AONB. The applicant has not demonstrated public or societal benefits that outweigh the harm that would arise to the natural beauty of the South Devon AONB.Here is the full AONB...

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FULL Membership

Join us now and help protect this beautiful part of England.

Membership costs just £10 a year. Click here to find out more about the benefits of becoming a full member of the South Hams Society.


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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.


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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! Visit the Coast & Countryside section and discover more.

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.

Our Tree Guide






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