Standing at the head on the Avon estuary, about three miles inland from the coast, the village lies with the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with many former farm buildings now converted to residential usage.
A thriving community, the village today includes a village school, a small shop and a pub, the Fisherman's Rest, with the majority of residents working in the area.
Entertainments and events in the village include the annual bonfire and fireworks display in November, the very popular annual classic car show on August Bank Holiday Monday, a social evening of carols and entertainment in December to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas tree lights, while the Church fete is held each July.
Mention is made of the manor of Avetone in the Domesday Book, and the village takes its name from the River Avon and Walter Giffard, who came across from Normandy with William the Conqueror as his standard bearer, and who according to the Rev Cuthbert Charles Shaw in his history of the parish owned the manor for about 170 years, from about 1100 till 1270.
The bridge across the River Avon is believed to have been completed around 1440 while, on the banks of the river, there were a number of quays used to ship products from the local lime kilns and bring goods in from Plymouth, and later to bring coal to the village.
The population reached its peak in 1841, with 1,057 people living in 199 inhabited houses. But, by the time of the census of 1901 the population had fallen to 663, and still further to 563 in 1931, even though the number of houses remained reasonably constant at between 170 to 190 dwellings.
During those years many opted to give up work as agricultural labourers, preferring to emigrate or move to the towns and cities in search of better paid employment. For example Robert Macey, who built numerous churches and theatres in London, including the Adelphi and the Haymarket, was born the son of a mason in Aveton Gifford in 1790.
More recently the population has grown again, with the 2012 electoral returns showing a total of 364 households in addition to a further 30 to 40 second homes, while at the last census in 2011 there were 833 residents.
The school was built in 1857 on the site of the old poor house and the structure remains unaltered to this day.
In January 1943 the Luftwaffe bombed the village. Seven Focke Wulf 190 fighter bombers left the church and the rectory in ruins and many houses in the village were extensively damaged. One little girl Sonia Weeks, aged 5 years, a refugee from Plymouth who was staying at the rectory, lost her life.
The thirteenth century Parish Church of St Andrew, almost completely destroyed in the bombing of 1943, was considered to be a fine example of the Early English period and was rebuilt during the 1950s. The fourteenth century font is thought to be one of the best examples of that period in the country.
South Efford Marsh, a wildlife reserve beside the river Avon, was created in the 1780’s by enclosing an area of foreshore and mud flats in the estuary with a banked retaining wall. Today the 17 hectare site is an enclosed area of riverside pasture and developing saltmarsh managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust and containing both fresh and salt/brackish water habitats, attracting birds such as sedge warblers, reed buntings, and kingfishers.