“A fantastic location, a lovely cottage and stunning scenery“



We invite you to share the soothing natural energy of our unique and beautiful valley, to relax and revitalise in the heart of mother nature, away from traffic and the white noise of TVs and mobiles for a stress-free rural retreat.

To experience holidays like they really used to be - away from it all - in a typical steep-sided Devon valley that's virtually untouched by the modern world.

“Enjoyed every minute of our stay. This valley is a world away from the 100mph of the way we live at home“


John with Bess, the black labrador

Fish for small brown trout, glimpse otters, dippers, kingfishers, butterflies, or simply enjoy our varied wood and wetland birdlife from your cottage window.

Perhaps at dusk see badgers or glowworms in the green lanes to Strete. Hear the owls hoot by. Watch the sunset and Start Point lighthouse from our Sunset Field.

Star- and moon-gazing are wonderful thanks to our lack of light pollution.


Spring to autumn there are ducklings & lambs - Ben and Jimmy helped with feeding at Easter




An otter on the main lawn during the high rainfall - and river - in December 2012


'doggy heaven'


It's doggy heaven - plenty of walks from your cottage door & almost no traffic, only the postman passing through.


Space to play and run in the fenced hill meadows, woods, wetlands or cottage gardens, or splash in the stream.



  A watermill has been here since medieval times though this one was built in 1754.

 We - Christine and John - live on site in the former mill house, and own the five surrounding Watermill Cottages, tastefully converted from the workers' cottages, granaries, former mill building and barns. John's daughter Jade helps us manage them - she also farms locally & runs community farming projects at Dartington & Totnes.  Previously, Jade worked for The National Trust in outdoor education.

Our smallholding has Muscovy ducks, hens, lambs & sheep, and at times two or three pigs & a few calves. We grow our own veg & offer surplus to our guests. 



We aim to live more sustainably:in the water meadows, we're renovating an old coppice on an eight year cycle.  This provides hazel, chestnut & alders for logs and stakes, willows for weaving.

The orchard has old Devon varieties of cider, eating and cooking apples.


In autumn we press them for

apple juice and cider.


Our rare water meadows further down the valley are a habitat for shy dormice and water fowl.

We generate our own electricity using a water turbine supplying our house, office and Barleycorn Cottage


“Thank you for the best holiday of my life.” Jennifer aged 'nearly ten'


“Our 14th visit to Watermill Cottages ...we enjoy this wonderful valley for its peace and tranquility.”



The secluded coastal Gara Valley, just a five minute drive from Slapton Sands



Great too for free-range kids - a whole valley to explore; woods, wetlands, meadows, & the Gara brook for paddling, damming, or for pooh sticks and racing home-made rafts & pirate ships. Woods for den-making; hazel for bows and arrows.


Freedom to play with imagination away from TV and mobiles.






Stunning walks whether you fancy a valley stroll or a ramble further afield. The scenery is breathtaking & varied, from coast to valley to riversides to moor.

Slapton Ley & Sands, Start Bay, from The Coast Path at Torcross


The Gara Valley's a creative & inspirational haven. Jack Yeats (artist brother of poet WB Yeats) lived in the valley, visited by Tennyson, and John Masefield who based his kids' smuggler's tale 'Jim Davis' here.

Michael Morpurgo based 'Adolphus Tips' around Slapton during Operation Tiger in the Second World War.There are copies in each cottage.

Rose Cottage was once owned by Beryl de Zoete, a member of the Bloomsbury Group connected with Dartington Hall.


at the beach ...


The Woodland Scramble is the wild wood above the water meadows.

Take a Mud Map, find the sheep trail, enter by the secret gate, follow badger and deer trails downhill through the wild wood to the ford & wire bridge over the stream.


Great for den and dam building, this is Robin Hood Land!



twin Jacob lambs March 2014


... home to streamside lawns & firepit



Perfect digital detox...

Watermill Cottages is the perfect holiday spot for anyone with electro-sensitivity.







Traffic jams at Watermill Cottages

We encourage recycling & composting to reduce waste & landfill, there's a recycling area & compost heaps to make it easier.  When 'cooked', we use the compost in the polytunnel & kitchen garden.

Each cottage has basic Ecover cleaning products, microfibre cloths, and our lovely specially-made organic liquid handsoap