Click here to download our Wildlife Breaks Guide (in PDF format)
Today's hectic lifestyle can play havoc with your head, but believe it or not there is an easily accessible antidote to the stresses and strains, and it's simply learning to Reconnect with Nature.
Here are five scientific facts on how both adults and children can benefit from getting out the Great Outdoors and simply being surrounded by peace and fresh air:
It's literally awesome!
Just click the following links to find out more interesting facts and information on some of the brilliant ways Reconnecting with Nature can benefit you:
Or you can simply Google 'Reconnecting with Nature' for a whole host of interesting facts and great images to whet your appetite.
So would my children benefit from Reconnecting with Nature too?
Yes, definitely! There are growing concerns that children now are spending far too much time indoors on their ever-growing variety of 'screens' without getting enough fresh air and exercise, and simply forgetting how to play.
There is a wealth of information available with some great ideas on how to adjust the balance and get kids outside again: getting interested in nature, getting messy, getting involved, eventually getting tired - but in a good way! - and just generally being kids again.
Here are some useful and interesting links on children Reconnecting with Nature for you to explore:
Project Wild Thing - Reconnecting Kids With Nature. A brilliant organisation promoting nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society - follow the link and watch the film clip!
OK - you've convinced me! All this sounds great - so how do I start?
That's the easy part - with so many different things to choose from, all you have to do is decide what interests you most, and then just go for it! For instance...
Click this link for more details on the following Six Surprising Scientific Facts about Walking:
One of our favourite collections of walks in this area has to be the fantastic South West Coast Path, voted the top English coastal walk. There are many different types of walk for you to choose from, depending on how far you want to walk and what you want to do and see. The Hotel is actually situated on the SWCP so you couldn't get much nearer!
Visit the SWCP website for full details of all walks in our area, and we've also picked out some for you to make it easier to decide - the choice is yours.
The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty website also has many downloadable walks for you to enjoy - visit them at South Devon AONB Walks and pick a walk just right for you.
Here are some links to other walks and walking activities in the area which you might enjoy discovering:
Nature trail around Slapton Ley Nature Reserve
BIRDWATCHING & BIRDS OF PREY
Even if you're not a serious birdwatcher, it's surprising how seeing many different varieties of birds can make a simple stroll so much more interesting - and we'll even lend you some binoculars so you don't miss a thing! Here are some links for more info:
Devon Bird of Prey Centre The nice people at the Centre will show you and talk to you about their impressive collection of stunning birds of prey, and if the weather's kind you may be able to see them flying.
ANIMALS AND GENERAL WILDLIFE
Details of websites to visit and some info on wildlife/animal attractions/activities in the area to enjoy.
Wildlife Gallery - Fabulous photos of local wildlife
Devon Wildlife Trust - news of all things wildlife in the area
Devon Wildlife Centre & Animal Hospital - family farm and Hedgehog Rescue Centre with many animals to see.
Devon Bat Group - Batty information!
www.ottersandbutterflies.co.uk - a lovely trip on the South Devon Railway steam train through beautiful countryside.
Totnes Rare Animal Breeds Farm - preserving endangered species of farm animals and the diversity of British wildlife. Many animals to pet and see.
Occombe Farm - a working farm with animals to pet and a Nature Trail - and it's FREE!
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park -part of South West Environmental Parks Ltd, owned by the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust. Go on the steam train from Kingswear for a lovely family day out.
BEACHES, COASTS AND RIVERS
There are many beaches - some small and secluded - along our local stretch of the South West Coast Path from Dartmouth, all around Stoke Fleming, Strete, Slapton, Torcross, Beesands, Hallsands and beyond. Our nearest beach is Blackpool Sands - a beautiful bay just a short walk from the Hotel and perfect for a family day out.
If it's a river walk you're after, the Dart Valley Trail is a great circular walk up on one side of the river Dart to Dittisham, across on the ferry and back the other side. Our favourite way is to hop on the ferry to Kingswear and catch the 'Dit'Sum' Ferry back. A lovely walk up through Long Wood to Greenway with stunning river views back down the river, with the Anchorstone CafÃ© and the Ferry Boat Inn at Dittisham should you have forgotten your packed lunch!
We can lend you one of our local maps/guide books and give you lots of information on how to find things, and you can also check out the interactive map on the SWCP and Dart Valley Trail websites for more info.
A Wildlife Break can help you disconnect the digital and escape the technology treadmill. Concentrate on recharging your body's batteries rather than your smart phone. Switch off your stress along with your laptop - and relax!
WOODLANDS, GARDENS & FLOWERS
If woodland walks, flowers and gardens are your thing, there is much to enjoy in the South Hams. In fact, The Secret Garden at Blackpool is just a short walk from the Hotel - we can't divulge details here, but if you ask the man at the ticket kiosk at Blackpool Beach, he'll let you in on the secret...
Greenway Gardens - Agatha Christie's home, now run by the National Trust and open to the public.
Coleton Fishacre - The 'garden by the sea', once owned by the D'Oyley Carte family and now National Trust run.
Overbecks - 'A hidden paradise of subtropical gardens and quirky collections...' Again, National Trust run.
National Trust - Details of other NT properties in the area.
MARINE WILDLIFE TRIPS
Details of Wildlife trips going out of the river mouth and around the coast to view the cliffs, where peregrines nest and seals can usually be seen sunning themselves on the Mewstone. You may get a chance to see egrets, osprey, shags, cormorants, gannets, guillemots and even dolphins and porpoises have been spotted on occasions...
Monty Halls Great Escapes - 'Explore local wildlife, learn new skills'
Falcon II Dartmouth Wildlife trips - Explore the Scenery & Wildlife of the Dart, Estuary and Coastline
DSRRB Wildlife Cruise 'A cruise with a difference which takes you outside the estuary and along the coast towards Start Point.'
So why choose Stoke Lodge Hotel for my Wildlife Break?
It's the Outstanding Location that makes Stoke Lodge Hotel stand out! Situated on the South West Coast Path and in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's the ideal base from which to explore - perfect for walking, exploring, bird-watching and enjoying the huge variety of natural wildlife delights that beautiful South Hams and surrounding area has to offer.
Map of South Devon AONB - to help you get your bearings
Images of the South Hams and South Devon - to help whet your appetite!
South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to help you find out why South Devon was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) back in 1960
The National Nature Reserve Slapton Ley is so close at hand... Just a few minutes' drive away, it's the largest natural lake in south-west England. Although it's only separated from the sea by a narrow shingle bar, it is entirely freshwater and surrounded by reed-beds, marshes and woodland habitats.
Our Country House Hotel is in a relaxing, tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle. Nestled in the heart of Stoke Fleming village, and yet only a short drive or bus ride from both Dartmouth and Kingsbridge, we're set within three acres of grounds made up of beautifully kept gardens, lawns and wooded areas including the old 'village pond'.
The Human Touch... We are Christine and Stephen Mayer. We've been running Stoke Lodge for over thirty years and have now been joined by daughters Samantha, Chelsie and Sigourney so it really is a family affair - and families are welcome!
We can help you get the best out of your break and make it easy for you - Our family and the friendly staff are on hand with a wealth of local information, tips and ideas to help make your break really special. We have a wealth of local knowledge and helpful tips, a wide choice of books and maps for you to borrow, and we'll lend you some binoculars and pack you up a delicious lunch of local and home-made goodies to take with you should you fancy a picnic.
* UNPLUG * UNWIND * RELAX * RECHARGE *
You'll find it easy to relax after your busy day... Stoke Lodge is small, friendly and peaceful, making it the perfect place for an enjoyable and relaxing break. You'll find the facilities and service fantastic for a three star hotel of this size - we have two sun terraces, an all-weather tennis court, putting green and even a giant outdoor chess set, not to mention the indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna and a Jacuzzi.
So - are you ready to Disconnect from the Digital and be Nurtured by Nature...?
Phone: 01803 770523
Post: Stoke Lodge Hotel, Stoke Fleming, South Devon, TQ6 0RA
Online enquries: Our online enquiry form
Stoke Lodge Hotel - the Natural Choice for your Wildlife Break