Things to do in Stoke Gabriel, Devon
The delightfully named village of Stoke Gabriel is in one of the most unspoilt parts of South Devon. It is situated on the banks of a small creek which is a tributary of the River Dart.
This delightful area of the South Hams is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and coupled with the charm of the village it makes the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing break.
Probably the first settlers at Stoke Gabriel would have been attracted by the salmon fishing on the Dart. The Parish Church of St Mary and St Gabriel is of Norman origin and in the churchyard the old yew is said to be over 1,000 years old.
Legend has it that if you walk backwards around the tree seven times your wish will come true, so you may see some visitors putting the idea into practice!
Stoke Gabriel was the birthplace of George Jackson Churchward in 1857. He became the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Great Western Railway and his name lives on in the local football ground which is dedicated to him.
Present Day Stoke Gabriel
Stoke Gabriel is well known for its mill pond and crab fishing on the tidal saltwater estuary. It has a population of little more than 1,200 and there is a local village shop, post office and tearoom.
Amidst the quaint cottages which straggle along the sides of the valley there are two lovely old pubs. The Church House Inn was built to accommodate the masons who were employed in the area to build the local church. At that time the building also served as a courthouse and consequently the old stocks can still be seen just outside the pub. The second equally lovely pub is The Castle.
The centre of Stoke Gabriel is the small village green in front of the church. As well as the old yew tree, there is an ancient apple orchard near the church. Each year an ancient ceremony is held to bless the apple harvest, just one of many cultural traditions which are upheld in this ancient county.
From the small quay along the riverfront there are always youngsters trying their hand at fishing, sailing, feeding the ducks and swans and crabbing while adults enjoy relaxing at an outdoor table at one of the pubs and restaurants.
Visitors may get a glimpse of the lovely Regency mansion in the village which was built for John Davis by the famous London architect, John Nash.
The area has plenty of sandy coves and award-winning beaches just a short drive away. The Southwest Coast Path runs through Stoke Gabriel offering lovely views and challenging walks from the coastal route.
Boat trips are a popular way to see the area, from nearby Salcombe or Dartmouth.