Hope Cove


Hope Cove is in the South Hams District of South Huish and in one of Devon's loveliest places. The name "Hope" probably comes from the Norse word 'Hop' meaning bay or inlet. Close to many well know beaches it is about 5 miles west of Salcombe and south-west of Kingsbridge. The two beaches, are split by a small headland and the whole is sheltered by the large westerly headland of Bolt Tail.

Historically, the village has two main elements: Outer Hope and Inner Hope. These were in separate parishes until the 1970s, when Inner Hope joined its sister. Although, like many Devon coves and places without main highways, Hope was know for smuggling and for plundering wrecked ships it was better known for commercial fishing and dates back to the Assize records of 1281. As you may expect this area, like may Devon fishing ports, was rich in pilchards and this was the mainstay of fishing, however the region is also famed for its edible crabs and lobsters, both of which are served locally today!

Hope is also famous for the last landing in England by armed nation, the Spanish in 1588. The ships of the Spanish Armada passed the village as they moved up the English Channel. However, as we know the Armada was defeated, with Sir Francis Drake sailing out of Plymouth some miles down the coast. The Armada headed back through a storm and the "San Pedro el Mayor", a transport ship fitted out as a hospital, was wrecked on the Shippen Rock between Inner and Outer Hope. 140 survivors were sentenced to death, but were then ransomed and sent back to Spain.

The RNLI had a lifeboat at Hope Cove in 1878 with the land for the boat house being donated by the Earl of Devon. Between 1887 and 1903 four boats were used and all were called the Alexandra. The station was closed in April 1930 and the Salcombe station took over with motorized craft. The rescue services have changed shape radically over the years with cut backs and centralization. Due to this the village is now the owner of the 63rd Independent Life Boat in the UK and works with the RNLI to continue to meet their goal of "Protecting and Preserving Life" in Bigbury Bay.

This is a link to the local lifeboat service

Despite this rich heritage Hope was never big enough or suitable for deep water vessels and mainland access and so the village is now mainly devoted to tourism.

If you wish to have a true South Devon holiday experience and explore the beauty and nature of the South Hams, you will not find a better place!

Come and Stay! You will never want to leave!