The South Hams
The South Hams has its headquarters in the town of Totnes a few miles outside Torbay. The South Hams is well known for its enjoyable pace of life, great countryside and beaches. A popular holiday resort the South Hams is becoming more popular as permanent home for many and as a summer watering hole for the well-heeled in some towns, Salcombe for example.
The South Hams actually has a lot of towns within it: Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Ivybridge, Salcombe, the largest of which is Ivybridge.
The coastline is well known by mariners and has claimed many lives over the hundreds of years that sailors have plied their trade along this coast. Start Point and Bolt Head being tow well know location. This coastline with the lower Avon and Dart valleys, forms most of the South Devon Area of “Outstanding Natural Beauty”.
Historically The South Hams were part of the Brythonic Kingdom of Dumnonia (Celtic) later becoming the modern boundary with Cornwall at the River Tamar. This was assumed to have happened during the tenth century reign of Æthelstan.
There have been many settlements on the coast and some with Hill Forts, such as that found at Burgh Island. In the later Anglo-Saxon era the South Hams was a feudal estate.
Much later and in 1917 the village of Hallsands was abandoned after much of it was washed into the sea. Due to the shingle bank protecting the shore being removed to help build Devonport dockyard.
Torcross and Slapton Sands and several other villages were evacuated in 1944 so they could be used for training for the D-Day landings. These preparations were almost compromised by an E-boat attack during
Exercise Tiger which saw many men lost. There is a now memorial and a WW11 tank, pulled from the sea bed at Torcross. The sea defences have also been improved, but the beach still gets breached to Slapton Leigh occasionally, shutting the road whilst repairs occur.
The current district of the South Hams was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by the merger of:
Borough of Dartmouth, Borough of Totnes, Kingsbridge Rural District, Kingsbridge Urban District, Plympton St Mary Rural District, Salcombe Urban District, Totnes Rural District
The following are towns and villages within The South Hams: Ashprington, Aveton Gifford, Bantham, Berry Pomeroy, Bickleigh, Bigbury, Bittaford, Blackawton, Brixton, Broadhempston, Buckland-Tout-Saints, Charleton, Chillington, Chivelstone, Churchstow, Cornwood, Cornworthy, Dartington, Dartmouth, Dean Prior, Diptford, Dittisham, Dodbrooke, East Allington, East Portlemouth, Ermington, Frogmore, Halwell, Harberton, Harford, Holbeton, Holne, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Kingston, Kingswear, Littlehempston, Loddiswell, Malborough, Marldon, Modbury, Moreleigh, Newton Ferrers, North Huish, Rattery, Revelstoke, Ringmore, Salcombe, Shaugh Prior, Sherford, Slapton, South Brent, South Huish, South Milton, South Pool, Sparkwell, Staverton, Stoke Fleming, Stoke Gabriel, Stokenham, Thurlestone, Torcross, Totnes.