Ideal day " ...dropping anchor at Dittisham"

Brixham Trawlers

Mitch Tonks on living in the AONB

Award winning Food writer and Restauranteur Mitch Tonks tells us what's important to him about South Devon AONB.

You run successful businesses in South Devon - what initially attracted you to the area?

The coastline and the simplicity of life.

Do you feel any sort of responsibility for the landscape that you have spent so much time enjoying?

Yes in the sense that I respect it and see it as part of my life and would want to preserve its beauty for future generations.

What can be done to ensure that this area and other ‘protected landscapes’ remain special for future generations?

I think just continuing signposting them and ringfencing them from overdevelopment as much as is reasonable and making considered judgements about what should be built on or used and what should have extra protection.

What makes this part of South Devon special to you?

I like the open air, the sea air, the space, and the coastal walks.  No two days are the same.

How do you think the AONB can be better promoted to residents and visitors?

Write to us, give us a brochure of what’s on our doorsteps, show it visually, photography & videos. Local people talking about it and showing it. There are always gems to discover. Promote the website, work with local partnerships and tell us more about it - we want to know about our AONB.

Over the centuries, the South Devon landscape has inspired poets, authors, scientists and artists; many of whom have left a rich legacy – do you have a favourite?

Interestingly Brunel’s rail line cuts through the landscape so I suppose it could be argued that it damages the area from some points of view.  But I think that the rail line not only connects the South West to the rest of the country but shows the incredible beauty of the coast and the landscape behind to all visitors coming in that way.  The journey especially between Exeter and Totnes should be on everyone’s bucket list, it is gorgeous.  What a visionary to have seen that this could be achieved and enhance, rather than destroy, the area.  It is a much better way to travel than by car and much better for the future of the area.

What’s your food heaven?

Being on a beach catching fish and grilling them closely followed by a long lunch the Seahorse.

Have you any unfulfilled ambitions?

To sail around the world.

What would your ideal day out in the AONB involve?

Getting on my boat, sailing the coast then dropping anchor at Dittisham, a few pints in the Ferry Boat then back aboard for a read and a night-time brandy. Seeing the coastline from the sea and seeing the sea is a wonderful way to appreciate our country and our coastline.

What’s your favourite view in the AONB?

From Berry Head the whole 180 degree view.

Can you sum up the AONB in 3 words

Peaceful, thriving, stunning.