Best South Devon Castles, Dartmouth, South Devon

Best South Devon Castles, Dartmouth, South Devon

There are lots of superb castles and forts located in South Devon and on Dartmoor. We list some of the best below. The Westcountry is a relatively small place so we also include other castles in Devon and Cornwall.


South Devon

Dartmouth Castle (English Heritage). Dartmouth is one of England's most beautiful coastal towns. Lining a section of the Dart Estuary, the town and its harbour were once protected by Dartmouth Castle and the smaller Kingswear Castle across the water. The setting is magnificent and worth visiting for the views alone. It's also one of a large number of castles you can visit in and around South Devon.

A chapel, or church, was built on the rocky promontory at the mouth of the estuary way before a fort and subsequent castle were constructed. Travel around South West England and you'll find dozens of churches occupying similarly extraordinary locations. The chapel was surrounded by the wall of a fort in 1388. During the following century, the fort was upgraded to a castle. Kingswear Castle was added in the 1490s. In 1529, Bayard's Cove Fort was constructed as well. Having been a hub of action during the English Civil War, The Napoleonic War and the World Wars, the castle passed into management by English Heritage in 1984.

To visit, we'd recommend taking the Castle Ferry. You can also walk in on the South West Coast Path. There's limited parking as well.

In the local area, make sure you see the Froward Point. Kingswear Castle is now a luxury let managed by The Landmark Trust. Bayard's Cove Fort is easily accessible on foot from central Dartmouth.

Totnes Castle (English Heritage). English Heritage castle in the heart of Totnes.

Berry Pomeroy Castle (English Heritage). Another English Heritage castle situated between Totnes and The English Riviera.

Compton Castle (National Trust). Exquisite National Trust property on the edge of The English Riviera. Odd opening times so check the National Trust's Compton Castle page for details.

Powderham Castle and Estate. Home to the Earl and Countess of Devon, Powderham Castle is located by the Exe Estuary. Today, it's a top Devon tourist attraction that's particularly popular with young families.

Salcombe Castle (English Heritage). Castle ruin on The Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary.

Plympton Castle. Remains of a castle in Plympton on the outskirts of Plymouth.


Forts and batteries

Berry Head Forts. Impressive Napoleonic forts high above the sea by Brixham in The English Riviera. Awesome setting.

Plymouth The Royal Citadel. 17th-century fortress overlooking Plymouth Sound. Sits between Plymouth Barbican and Plymouth Hoe.

Crownhill Fort. Crownhill Fort is one of ten forts and batteries built in the 1860s to defend Plymouth’s naval base from a French attack (The Landmark Trust website). Whilst the fort is used by small businesses today, you can visit on the last Friday of every month. See The Landmark Trust website for more information.

Plymouth Devil's Point Park. Sits in front of Plymouth Royal William Yard. Great place for a walk after a trip to Royal William Yard. There are various military defences on site which is why we include it in this listing.

Bovisand Fort, Brownhill Battery and Staddon Fort. More forts and batteries built in the middle of the nineteenth century to defend Plymouth from French attack. Located on the east side of Plymouth Sound near Bovisand Beach.

Dartmouth Bayard's Cove Fort, Bayard's Cove and the Pilgrim Fathers. A Tudor artillery fort built to protect Dartmouth harbour.

Brownstone Battery (National Trust). Battery on the east side of the mouth of the Dart Estuary. Located near Coleton Fishacre (National Trust).



Haldon Belvedere (Lawrence Castle). Tower located in Haldon Forest Park. 'In 1788 Sir Robert [Palk] built the Haldon Belvedere as a memorial to his friend Major-General Stringer Lawrence with whom he had been associated in India.' Sir Robert Palk was the Governor of Madras and worked for the East India Company. (Haldon Belvedere website)



Castle Drogo. Said to be the last castle to be built in England, the National Trust's Castle Drogo occupies an amazing location at the mouth of the Teign Gorge in Dartmoor National Park.

Okehampton Castle. English Heritage castle on the edge of Okehampton on the north west border of Dartmoor National Park.

Lydford Castle. English Heritage property in Lydford on the west side of Dartmoor by the National Trust's Lydford Gorge. Built as a prison and courthouse so it can't be classified as a castle like English Heritage's nearby Okehampton Castle

Lydford The Norman Castle. Remains of a Norman castle that was occupied until the mid-12th century. Situated behind Lydford St Petroc's Church near Lydford Castle.


Dartmoor hillforts and enclosures

Hembury Hillfort. Located at the top of the National Trust's Hembury Woods near Ashburton and Buckfastleigh on the eastern border of Dartmoor National Park.

Hunter's Tor Hillfort. By the magnificent Lustleigh Cleave in the eastern section of Dartmoor National Park. Huge views.

Cranbrook Castle Hillfort. One of three hillforts in the stunning Teign Gorge in the north east section of Dartmoor National Park. Located across the gorge from National Trust's Castle Drogo.

Prestonbury Castle Hillfort. A little further down the Teign Gorge above Fingle Bridge Inn. Note this is private land so you can't visit the site.

Wooston Castle Hillfort. Arguably the most impressive of the three Teign Gorge hillforts. Great location providing amazing views.

Nattadon Hillfort. Above Chagford.

Brentor Hillfort. Hillfort surrounding the famous church that tops Brent Tor on the western side of Dartmoor National Park.

East Hill Hillfort. Situated near Okehampton Camp at the foot of Dartmoor's north moor.

White Tor Fort/Neolithic Enclosure. On the western side of Dartmoor. Amazing location. Amazing views.

Dewerstone Fort/Neolithic Enclosure. Famous Dartmoor beauty spot on the south western border of the National Park.



Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon

Rougemont Castle (Exeter Castle)Castle ruin in the centre of Exeter.

Tiverton Castle. Beautiful castle in the heart of Tiverton. Odd opening times so check Tiverton Castle website for details. The church next door is also superb.


Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon hillforts

Woodbury Castle Hillfort. Big hillfort in East Devon. You'll see the Exe Estuary and Dartmoor to the west and the sea to the south and east.



Dunster Castle. Superb National Trust property dominating the pretty Exmoor National Park gateway village Dunster.


East Cornwall

Launceston Castle. English Heritage castle close to the Cornwall/Devon border. Great views of Dartmoor National Park and Bodmin Moor from its ramparts.


South Cornwall

Restormel Castle. Famous 13th-century circular shell-keep situated by Lostwithiel between Bodmin Moor and the South Cornwall coast around Fowey. Restormel Castle is an English Heritage castle.

St Catherine's Castle. Artillery fort at the mouth of Fowey Estuary. Managed by English Heritage.

St Mawes Castle. One of a pair of castles defending the mouth of the Fal Estuary. Built by Henry VIII, St Mawes Castle is situated on the east side of the estuary by St Mawes. Managed by English Heritage.

Pendennis Castle. One of a pair of castles defending the mouth of the Fal Estuary. Built by Henry VIII, Pendennis Castle is situated on the west side of the estuary by Falmouth. Managed by English Heritage.


West Cornwall

St Michael's Mount. Iconic Westcountry visitor attraction by Penzance in West Cornwall.


North Cornwall

Tintagel Castle. Internationally famous castle on the North Cornwall coast. Easily accessible via the A39.