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Words by Sarah Douglas

I moved to Devon to become a dog walker. At least that’s what I thought. I had spent many years as a sales director in London’s frantic property market, and the South Hams lured me in with the promise of a steadier way of life amidst its rolling hills and sandy coves. I’d work a couple of hours each day, walking a handful of (always well-behaved) pups in pretty villages, then disappear to the nearest beach with a book and my own two Westies. I will let you guess how that one worked out…

Fast forward six years and I have been the Managing Director of Marchand Petit for almost a year, having spent several years before that heading up our Kingsbridge office. Devon may have lured me away from London, but the pull of property was too strong to leave behind. I shelved my dog walker aspirations faster than you can say “fetch!” and have found myself totally immersed and excited by the South Hams property market instead. 

This part of the world is unique and those who buy here are too. Some are following similar footsteps to my own, desperately seeking a quiet life by the sea. Some bring their jobs with them, the era of being able to work from anywhere now meaning you can close your laptop at 5pm and have your toes in the sand by 5.30pm. Some bring small children, and some have grandparents in tow, granny annexes living up to their name as young families opt for multi-generational living to help make the day-to-day juggle more manageable. Some are retired, finally returning to the place they’ve dreamed about calling home since they were knee high to a grasshopper.

Everyone who feels the pull of the South Hams is different, but they all share the same desire for a different way of life; one of sea dips after the school drop-off on a Monday and beach picnics on a Sunday. Jumping on a boat to a pub up the estuary happens on a very ordinary Tuesday evening, and somewhere to store sandy wetsuits and wellington boots becomes a non-negotiable on house hunts. Selling homes here is a world apart from selling them in London and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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