to play and run in the fenced hill meadows, woods, wetlands and cottage gardens

About us


About Us

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 beautiful, stress-free rural retreat and to experience holidays like they really used to be – away from it all.

A typical steep-sided Devon valley that’s virtually untouched by the modern world (a watermill has been here since medieval times though this one was built in 1754). The perfect holiday spot for anyone with electro-sensitivity.

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.

Freedom to play…

There’s a whole valley to explore, great too for free-range kids – 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.

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! 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.

Living 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. 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.

Thank you…

for the best holiday of my life!

– Jennifer aged 'nearly ten'


Watermill Cottages
Higher North Mill, Hansel, Nr. Slapton
Dartmouth TQ6 0LN