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South Hams: Wikis


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South Hams
From Start Point looking towards Hallsands and Beesands

South Hams shown within Devon
Coordinates (Totnes): 50°25′53″N 3°41′28″W / 50.43139°N 3.69111°W / 50.43139; -3.69111Coordinates: 50°25′53″N 3°41′28″W / 50.43139°N 3.69111°W / 50.43139; -3.69111
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South West England
Non-metropolitan county Devon
Formed 1 April 1974
 - Type District council
 - HQ Totnes
 - Sub-divisions Civil parishes
 - UK Parliament South West Devon
 - MPs (respectively) Gary Streeter
Anthony Steen
 - Political party Conservative
 - Total 342.3 sq mi (886.51 km2)
Area rank Ranked 39th
Population (2008 est.)
 - Total 83,500
 - Density 243.5/sq mi (94/km2)
Population rank Ranked 271st
 - Ethnicity
ONS code 18UG

South Hams is a local government district on the south coast of Devon, England with its headquarters in the town of Totnes. It contains the towns of Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Ivybridge, Salcombe — the largest of which is Ivybridge with a population of 12,056.

To the north it includes part of Dartmoor National Park, to the east borders Torbay, and to the west Plymouth. It contains some of the most unspoilt coastline on the south coast, including the promontories of Start Point, and Bolt Head. The entire coastline, along with the lower Avon and Dart valleys, form most of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The South Hams, along with nearby Broadsands in Paignton, is the last British refuge of the Cirl Bunting.



In the Anglo-Saxon era the South Hams was a feudal estate consisting of all of the land between the River Plym and River Dart and south of Dartmoor with the English Channel forming the southern boundary.

In 1917 the village of Hallsands was abandoned after much of it was lost to the sea. This happened because the shingle bank protecting the shore was removed to help build Devonport dockyard[1].

In 1944 several villages were evacuated so that training for D-day could be carried out in secret. The area was chosen because of the resemblance of its beaches to those of Normandy. Preparations were disrupted, and secrecy nearly compromised, by a devastating E-boat attack during Exercise Tiger.

In 1967 the suburban towns of Plympton and Plymstock were amalgamated with the City of Plymouth.

The current district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by the merger of:

  • Borough of Dartmouth
  • Borough of Totnes
  • Kingsbridge Rural District
  • Kingsbridge Urban District
  • Plympton St Mary Rural District
  • Salcombe Urban District
  • Totnes Rural District


See also


  1. ^ Recalling the disaster at Hallsands from the BBC, 1 July, 2005


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