Hope Cove

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Hope Cove
Hope Cove is located in Devon
Hope Cove
Hope Cove
Hope Cove shown within Devon
OS grid referenceSX676402
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTQ7
Dialling code01548
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°15′00″N 3°52′04″W / 50.2500°N 3.8677°W / 50.2500; -3.8677Coordinates: 50°15′00″N 3°52′04″W / 50.2500°N 3.8677°W / 50.2500; -3.8677

Hope Cove is a small seaside village within the civil parish of South Huish in South Hams District, Devon, England. It is located some 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Salcombe and 5 miles (8.0 km) south west of Kingsbridge. It has two beaches, and is sheltered by the headland of Bolt Tail.


The name Hope Cove may derive tautologically from the Old Norse word hóp meaning "bay" or "small inlet".[1]

Historically, the village falls into two parts, Outer Hope to the north and Inner Hope to the south. Inner Hope fell within the parish of Malborough until the 1970s, when it was united with its neighbour on the other side of a small headland. Both parts of the village originally developed as centre for the local fishing industry. Hope Cove also developed a reputation for smuggling and for plundering wrecked ships.[2]

In 1588 the ships of the Spanish Armada passed the village as they moved up the English Channel. After the Armada was defeated and headed back through storms, the San Pedro el Mayor, a transport ship fitted out as a hospital, was blown onto the rocks between Inner and Outer Hope. The 140 survivors were initially sentenced to death, but were eventually ransomed and sent back to Spain.[3]

The village was the setting for a number of studies by the Victorian painter Sir Luke Fildes; inspiring the cottage in his famous work in oil 'The Doctor'. [4]


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution established a lifeboat station at Hope Cove in 1878 on land donated by the Earl of Devon. Four boats, all named Alexandra, were supplied in 1887, 1900 and 1903. The station was closed in April 1930 by which time the neighbouring station at Salcombe had been equipped with a motor lifeboat which could cover Bigbury Bay.[5]

In 1992 the service was re-established under the management of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as part of the Cliff Rescue Team (CRT), the MCA withdrew support and funding for the boat in 2010. The Hope Cove Life Boat was then established as an Independent Life Boat with the support of the village and a registered charity was established to run and maintain the service. A new boat "Alexandra" was launched at Easter in 2013 paid for with funds raised from the village and visitors. The charity is run by volunteers and the boat is also crewed by volunteers who train and respond in their own time. More details can be found here www.hopecovelifeboat.org

Modern era[edit]

The village is now mainly devoted to tourism and was the setting for the 1985 cult British movie The Supergrass. The area lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[6]

The Cove Cafe Bar was named the UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Bar (rural) in 2018.


  1. ^ Griffith, F. M.; Wilkes, E. M. (2006). "The land named from the sea? Coastal archaeology and place-names of Bigbury Bay, Devon". Archaeological Journal. 163 (1): 67–91.
  2. ^ Hope Cove in Devon - Devon Online
  3. ^ South Devon AONB | Heritage, Landscape & Wildlife: Hope Cove to Bolberry Down Archived 2007-06-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/fildes-the-doctor-n01522/text-summary
  5. ^ Leach, Nicholas (2009). Devon's Lifeboat Heritage. Chacewater: Twelveheads Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-906294-72-7.
  6. ^ South Devon AONB | Home Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Media related to Hope Cove at Wikimedia Commons