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Be an early bird and enjoy breakfast at the stunning


beachside location of Blackpool Sands. The award-winning Venus Café, overlooking the arched pebbly beach, offers a menu stuffed with organic and local dishes in an all- weather dining area where you can soak up the fantastic views, sounds and feel of the sands. What better way to start the day. The café is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.


To work off that hearty breakfast at the Venus Café, sign up for


some watersports at Blackpool Sands. Windsurfing lessons plus kayak and paddleboard hire are available at the popular beach. To book phone 01803 712648.


Come rain or shine, enjoy one of the most picturesque rivers in the


country on board the PicnicBoat. With space for up to 12 people, the PicnicBoat can cater for romantic trips for two, family celebrations or a wildlife watching trip on the River Dart. A varied selection of menus are available on the boat, which has a full canopy and on-board heating to make sure everyone stays cosy and warm whatever the weather. For information phone 07968 752625 or visit www.thepicnicboat.co.uk.


Another way to


appreciate the beautiful River Dart estuary is on


board one of the three Castle Ferries that operate from Easter to October. The 10-minute trip passes the Lower Ferry, the ancient Bayard’s Cove and waterfront houses that were once warehouses and boatbuilding yards. Look out for an abundance of wildlife


too, from sea birds to jumping fish and even the odd seal. On alighting at Stumpy Steps near Dartmouth Castle, head over to the Castle Tea Rooms for a traditional cream tea while enjoying the wonderful estuary and sea views, before catching the Castle Ferry back to Dartmouth.


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Enjoy a breathtaking walk along the western banks of the River


Dart via the River Dart Trail with spectacular views of the river and across to Tor Bay. Board the Dittisham Ferry in Dartmouth and walk back to the town over Fire Beacon Hill and along Old Mill Creek. In spring the hedges are full of tumbling blossom, and wildflowers line them in the summer. Listen out for blackbirds, robins and pheasants too. The five mile-long footpath travels high above the fields it borders giving great views down the river.


Join a club. Dartmouth has dozens to choose from including church


bell ringing, petanque, Rotary, Old Dartmothians (men and women), sea cadets, rowing, gig, bridge, football, rugby, pensioners, angling and boating, cricket, canoe, orchestral society, handbell ringers, flower club, Trefoil Guild, Inner Wheel, Air Training Corps, postcard collectors, University of the Third Age, parish choir, bowling, tennis, Britannia Choral Society, Kingswear Historians, Women’s Institute, horticultural society, Dartmouth in Bloom, film club, scouts and guides, Tapestry Singers, art society, youth club, and swimming club to name but a few.


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Embark on a course at Slapton Ley Field Centre. The Field


Studies Council, which manages the national nature reserve, offers a range of courses at the site for individuals,


families and professionals. Among these are arts courses in watercolour and acrylic painting, photography, botanical illustration and archaeology. Natural history courses range from learning about butterflies and moths to aquatic and coastal plants, woodland ecology and reptile surveying handling. There are also family courses in exploring the seashore and discovering Devon’s wildlife. For more information and to book phone 01548 580466 or visit www.field- studies-council.org.


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Visit 3- acres of the secluded Strawberry Valley at Fast Rabbit


Garden just outside Dartmouth. Hailed as Devon’s best kept secret, the garden has been nurtured since 1991 and is probably the biggest garden featuring acid-loving plants in the country. Visitors are sure to be stunned by the vivid blooms and soothed by the ever-present sound of water as it splashes, trickles and cascades through the valley. The garden has been created in a naturally rich habitat of streams, woodland and arable farmland. Buzzards can be seen swooping above the valley while a pair of kestrels regularly hunt for voles in the more open spaces. Regular birds include the robin, thrush, blackbird, sparrow, chaffinch, blue tit, moorhen, greenfinch, skylark, spotted woodpecker, dunnock, grey wagtail and pied wagtail Bullfinches and goldfinches are often spotted, the latter in huge flocks. Lucky visitors will catch a glimpse of the kingfisher by the river or diving for fish in the lake and many will hear the woodpecker drumming in the woodland. For more information and directions visit www. fastrabbitfarm.co.uk.


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Visit Monty Halls Great Escapes and sign up for a wildlife


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