Nigel Bishop casts his eye over the property market in some of the towns and areas in the South Hams.

Maybe the softest stretch of Devon countryside, the South Hams runs from south Dartmoor to the renowned sailing waters of the south coast and it has one of the mildest climates in Britain.

Whilst the coastline has become a hotspot for second home owners and holiday makers, where the sailing and beaches are simply stunning, time should be taken to enjoy the wonderful countryside and towns in the real, rural, South Hams.

Whilst embracing the modern world, as inevitably we all do, the towns and villages retain their original character and abound with artisan businesses and entrepreneurs keen to live and enjoy this rural environment. Historically based around farming communities, the towns held regular markets that have evolved into today’s farmers’ markets, selling locally produced foods and wares. They create a great sense of community and encourage the tourist market to visit these areas.

Modbury is mentioned in the Domesday Book and later became the scene of two battles in the Civil War. The winding high street and town centre retains its charm – it was proud to be the first town in England to ban all plastic shopping bags, leading the way to a green, sustainable environment.

Totnes, complete with castle and at the head of the River Dart, again retains its character with numerous artisan outlets and it’s known for its music background.

These are both towns to embrace as real communities which welcome all ages.

Let’s not get too caught up in this romantic image though, as there are also successful, but often hidden, commercial enterprises providing employment and boosting the economy in these picturesque towns, so ensuring natural growth and development. Whilst tourism plays a big part in the local economy the infrastructure for self-funded development is secure, even with the current economic difficulties.

Modern housing developments are growing around the towns and villages with a mix for all affordability levels whilst the classic Devon thatched farmhouses and cottages still attract great interest, especially as modern technology is implementing ways to maintain them in a more sustainable way. The combination of independent shops nudging alongside supermarkets complements the mix of housing in all these towns ensuring growth and permanency.

The South Hams has to be one of the gentlest places in Britain to live with both coastline and Dartmoor within the region, yet with access via the A38 to the national road network, a mainline train to London and not forgetting it’s close to Plymouth for ferries to European destinations. For those that relish country living but need 21st century technology, where better to settle than the South Hams. ‘It’s all about coming home.’

Nigel Bishop is a property search consultant at Recoco.