History and antiquities
The site was used for a promontory hill fort in the Iron Age. The headland has a prominent chapel, dedicated to St Michael, accessible by a steep footpath. The chapel was first licensed for Mass in 1397 and is probably on the site of a much earlier, Celtic, hermitage. It remains as an intact shell. Earl Ordulf, who was the owner of vast estates in the West Country and was the uncle of King Ethelred, gave Rame to Tavistock Abbey (which Ordulf had founded) in 981, meaning the parish was technically in Devon until the modern period.
Rame Head in modern times
Around the head, Dartmoor ponies are kept to graze. This area is also frequented by deer, sheep and cattle which can often be viewed from the sea. Due to its exceptionally high and panoramic vantage point, there is a volunteer National Coastwatch Institution lookout on the top of the headland (next to the car park).
The headland is prominent to sailors and fishermen leaving Plymouth through Plymouth Sound. It is often the last piece of land they see leaving England, and the first they see when returning home; Rame Head thus appears in the sea shanty "Spanish Ladies".
The headland forms part of Rame Head & Whitsand Bay SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), noted for its geological as well as biological interest. The SSSI contains 2 species on the Red Data Book of rare and endangered plant species; early meadow-grass (poa infirma) and slender bird’s-foot-trefoil (from the lotus genus).
- Village Holiday Information
- National Coastwatch Institution - Rame Head
- Rame Head Wildlife
- Old Photographs of Rame Headland
- The head on a 1946 map