BEESANDS

– Beesands has got all the right ingredients for a great beach holiday. It’s a mile-long shingle beach backed by fields and a freshwater lake. If you want a taste of old-school Devon life then this is the place to be. Fishing boats still offer up the catch of the day on the village green and the fresh crab sandwiches served locally have to be right at the top of any gastronome’s wish list. To get a real flavour of the West Country. However, there is more than just sea and sunshine to be enjoyed here. Beesands has won two important awards in recent years. The Blue Flag is an internationally recognised guarantee of excellence and indicated that Beesands has reached exceptional levels of cleanliness and safety. The Marine Conservation Society has also awarded Beesands a recommendation in the Good Beach Guide, so you know it’s good. Directly behind the beach are the village green and a large freshwater lake known as Widdecombe Ley. These spots attract plenty of birds and wildlife, so if you like a bit of a ‘twitcher’, pack your binoculars. Surfing and bodyboarding are popular at Beesands, as are canoeing, sailing and windsurfing. Beesands is a popular South West fishing spot, with dabs in plentiful supply. Near to the beach and on the spectacular National Trust coastal path, is Britannia@The Beach. This rustic café specialises in serving locally caught seafood, including dishes such as Start Bay lobster, hand-dived scallops with garlic butter and delicious seafood platters. For a real taste of the West Country, the café also serves traditional cream teas and home made pasties. There is also The Cricket Inn mentioned in our local pub section.

From the house turn right, in Stokenham village at the mini round-about turn right then follow signs to beesands, which is a left after about a mile. Excellent children’s play area. Dogs Allowed. Public Toilets. Ample free car parking.

HALLSANDS

– Shingle beach, very popular for diving.

From the house turn right, in Stokenham village at the mini round-about turn right then follow signs Hallsands, limited free parking. Dogs allowed.

Hallsands history – The Village that Collapsed into the Sea While the early history of the Village of Hallsands is somewhat unknown there are plenty of stories about the disappearance of the village that once stood. It is thought the town wasn’t inhabited until the 1600s, although a chapel has existed there since 1506. Hallsands really grew in population during the 18th and 19th centuries with most residents relying on fishing for a living, particularly crab. In the 1890s it was decided that the Royal Naval Dockyard near Plymouth would be expanded and as a result dredging began just offshore from Hallsands to provide sand and gravel for the construction. The dredging soon caused the level of the beach to drop and cause some alarm and stress to the village’s residents. After some outcry and protest from villagers a local inquiry was called to put the villagers at ease. The inquiry found that the dredging was not likely to cause a significant threat to the village and as a result the construction and dredging continued. By 1900 the level of the beach had started to fall significantly and after several Autumnal storms part of the sea wall was washed away. After more petitioning and complaints from visitors it was eventually agreed to stop dredging in 1902. Some of the level of the beach recovered however after further storms and bad weather in the winter more damage occurred. By 1917 gales and exceptionally high tides took its toll on the village. Hallsands defences couldn’t stand up to the severe weather and as a result much of the village was taken by the ferocious sea and storms. By the end of the year just one house remained. The stories about the village of Hallsands do vary somewhat, however when stories come together most speak of the occurrences that happened in this account. Hallsands Today All that remains of Hallsands today is the the ruins of the chapel that is perched on the edge of the cliff top. Families lost everything when Hallsands disappeared, from their homes to their belongings, but luckily no lives were taken! It is said that the poverty-stricken villagers never got to find out the true details of the enquiry that took place after the devastation but they were eventually offered a sum of money as compensation. It is thought that the true story of what happened at Hallsands is yet to be uncovered! While the site of the old village of Hallsands remains closed it is possible to enjoy the village that once was via a purpose built viewing platform in South Hallsands.

LANNACOMBE

– For a taste of the West Country at its most rugged, wild and unspoilt, get yourself down to Lannacombe beach. Although it’s a small beach Lannacombe is perfect if you want to leave the crowds behind and experience some of the best scenery in the area. There’s a small car park just behind the beach with room for up to 10 cars, so you’ll need to get there early to bag a space. You can bring dogs to Lannacombe beach at any time of year, making this an ideal spot for the whole family. If you want to stretch your legs there is access to the South Devon Coastal Path, giving impressive views of both the coastline and the surrounding countryside. At low tide, the waters on Lannacombe beach reveal shallow rock pools, which are always a hit with the kids. Before you get to Lannacombe beach, it’s a good idea to check the tide timetable. The tides here covers the sands at high tide and can do so very quickly and you don’t want to get caught out. But if you fancy exploring the area then there are a number of attractions very close to Lannacombe, such as the ruins of the Lannacombe water mill, which can be seen on the low cliff edge by the beach. An attractive small sandy beach, with a stream and rock pools. Popular for swimming and surfing.

From the house turn right, in Stokenham village at the mini round-about turn right then follow signs for Start Point then take a right turn. Parking very limited and access is very narrow lanes.

EAST PORTLEMOUTH – MILL BAY & SUNNY COVE

– East Portlemouth is well worth a visit. It’s set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on top of that, you can even bring the dog, as your furry friend is welcome on East Portlemouth beach at any time of year. East Portlemouth is actually made up of a number of small beaches – Fishermans Cove, Smalls Cove and Mill Bay – so you can hunt down your very own secluded spot. All the beaches have won Safe Bathing status so if you bring the kids then you know that the water is shallow, clean and safe for paddling. At low tide you’ll find loads of shallow rock pools, which will keep budding marine biologists or just kids who love looking at critters occupied for hours. If you want to explore slightly further afield, there’s a daily ferry from Fisherman’s Cove to Salcombe’s busier beach. The beaches that make up East Portlemouth have got all the facilities you’ll need to make your holiday stress free. There’s on-site parking, disabled access to the beach and disabled toilets. There is a Venus café at the top of the ferry slip to Salcombe which offers refreshments, for something more fulfilling you can hop on the ferry to Salcombe. It doesn’t have to be just swimming and sandcastles at East Portlemouth. You can take in the local scenery with a walk along the nearby National Trust Coast Path. Or, if you want to inject a little adrenaline into the day, you can find water sports available through groups such as the Island Cruising Club, Salcombe Yacht Club and the South Sands Sailing Water sports.

From the house turn right, in Stokenham village at the mini round-about turn right continue on until approx 5 miles turn right for East Portlemouth. As you enter the village of East Portlemouth there is a wonderful view of Salcombe. Continue down hill at the bottom turn sharp left. You will pass the Venus café and passenger ferry to Salcombe. Continue until you reach the beach and National trust car park – For Sunny Cove and the Famous Five cove of Rickham sands take the coast path. Mill Bay is a sandy beach.

TORCROSS AND SLAPTON

– On top of being an extremely picturesque and popular beach, Slapton Sands plays an important part in the survival of some of the UK’s rarest flora and fauna. So if you’re looking for a cracking beach with the opportunity to do a little bit of exploring on the side, Slapton Sands should be on your list of ‘must visit’ destinations. Slapton Sands’ Past If you like your scenery to have a bit of history then Slapton Sands has a very moving story attached to it. In 1943, the beach was taken over by the allied forces to use as a rehearsal area for the D-Day Landings. Unfortunately, a combination of live ammunition and poor visibility resulted in the deaths of 749 American servicemen. You can visit a stone monument which was set in place on Slapton Sands to commemorate the ill-fated ‘Operation Tiger’, along with a Sherman Tank at nearby Torcross. Slapton’s Sands’ Present South Devon’s Mediterranean style climate means that the sea is safe, clean and calm, and there are plenty of water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and canoeing to try out. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months and there is a flag system in place telling you where it’s safe to swim and when to stay out of the water. You can pick up a flag guide at the local Post Office or check local websites including the RNLI for details. If you get peckish there’s a beach side café serving drinks and light refreshments, the Start Bay Inn & The Boathouse restaurant. Slapton Sands has facilities for anyone with mobility restrictions, with disabled beach access and toilets. If you want to bring the dog, you’ll be pleased to hear that Slapton Sands is a dog-friendly beach, allowing dogs throughout the year. Many visitors come to observe wildlife in the Nature Reserve. Throughout the year the plants and animals living in the freshwater lake, Slapton Ley, vary according to the seasons, giving you the chance to see something different every time you come. The whole stretch of this particular piece of coastline has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a great destination at any time of the year.

From the house turn right continue for 2 miles. Possible to reach the beach by bus. Pay at meter to park.

BLACKPOOL SANDS

– It’s a Blue Flag Award-winning beach backed by evergreens and scented pines, giving it more than a whiff of the Mediterranean. Blackpool Sands is privately managed and has kept its standards high, making it one of the most popular family beaches in the region. On top of the pines and the sunshine, the waters at Blackpool Sands are unusually clear and are tested regularly by the Environment Agency to confirm their cleanliness. The beach is cleaned on a daily basis and you’ll find a superb range of facilities on hand. As well as the usual showers, toilets and disabled facilities, Blackpool Sands also has sand pits so that the kids can enjoy safe and supervised play. If you like to add a little adrenaline to your downtime, then there are loads of water sports available to try including kayaking and boogie boarding. You can even explore the abundant marine life thanks to wetsuit and snorkel hire facilities, while the more speed-inclined can hire surf-skis. As part of its high standards, Blackpool Sands has lifeguards on duty during the summer months. Dogs are not allowed in the car parks or on Blackpool Sands from March to November. When it comes to refreshments, the highly popular Venus Beach Café serves organic and locally produced food. Their Halloumi brochettes with peppers, mushrooms and red onion is enough to convince any carnivore to turn vegetarian. A beach shop caters for all those beach essentials.

On the road to Dartmouth, possible to catch the bus. Pay for parking.

THURLESTONE SANDS AND SOUTH MILTON SANDS

– If you want sand, stunning scenery and the chance to see rare wildlife then Milton Sands has got the lot, behind the beach you can discover wetlands that have been designated as an area of Special Scientific Interest. If you’re looking for a chance to observe wildlife in its natural environment, Milton Sands is the place to come for great views of migrating birds, rare butterflies and much more. If you’re more interested in spending time next to the surf, the beach has also won an award from the Marine Conservation Society in recognition of the clean waters and protected natural habitats. Seals and dolphins are fairly common in the sea here and there have even been whale sightings in recent years. One of Milton Sands’ biggest attractions is Thurlestone Rock, an arch-shaped rock that sticks out of the sea and can be seen from the beach. The beach is stacked with facilities including on-site parking and you can even bring your dog to the beach in the summer. As the sea reaches low tide, there are lots of shallow rock pools for children and amateur ecologists to explore. Milton Sands beach is popular with surfers, and local surfing schools offer courses for beginners if you fancy trying out this fun sport for the first time. There are lifeguards on duty from May to September, so parents with kids can be sure that they’re being looked after. If you want to get up close and personal with the abundant marine life, you can take advantage of the clear waters and go diving or snorkelling. There are reefs and a number of shipwrecks that have become home to underwater flora and fauna. If you like to keep it a bit drier, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and canoes are available for hire. Milton sands has a great Beach Café and there is a good pub in Thurlestone Village.

From the house turn left, head back into Kingsbridge, towards Salcombe and after the village of West Alvington follow signs to South Milton village once in the pretty village follow the signs the south Milton sands. Pay for parking in the summer months.

BANTHAM

– This crackingly good sandy beach won awards from the Marine Conservation Society and the coveted Blue Flag, so you know it’s clean. Fabulous views of Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island from the beach – a couple of interesting locations that are well worth a visit. You can get to Burgh Island by taking a ride on the famous ‘sea-tractor’, which the kids will love. Bantham is shallow and sandy so it’s great for families with kids who want to do a little swimming or paddling, and there are lifeguards on duty from May to September. At low tide, you’ll find loads of shallow pools that warm up quickly in the sun and are perfect for crab hunting. But there’s more to Bantham beach than just sun, sand and ice cream. It’s also one of the best surfing beaches in South Devon. The beach has got mellow waves for beginners (known in surf-speak as ‘ankle slappers’), while the mouth of the River Avon fires out enough rips and breaks to test even the most radical hot-doggers. Once you’ve had enough of the waves there’s The Sloop Inn pub nearby serving great beer and home-cooked meals. The beach is well served with its own facilities, including a beach shop, where you can buy all those little essentials, & toilets. While dogs are not allowed on the beach between May and September they are allowed on the Estuary all year round, which you can get to at low tide.
From the house turn left, head back into Kingsbridge, towards Plymouth. After the village of Churchstow at 4 way round-about take second exit and follow signs. Pay for parking

BIGBURY-ON-SEA BEACH

– Dusted with sand and lapped by shallow waters, the beach offers safe fun for groups particularly if you’ve got children in tow. In addition, Bigbury on Sea beach is dotted with rock pools, so there’s plenty of creepy-crawly entertainment for budding marine biologists. While this beach is popular with families, there are a number of facilities and activities available if you’re seeking a bit more excitement on your holiday. If you want to try something different from the usual bodyboarding or surfing then windsurfing and kite-surfing are gaining popularity here, with hire facilities located right on the beach. To give you some peace of mind, there are lifeguards present at during May to September and the beach also has a first-aid room. You can even take the dog although they are restricted to certain areas during the summer. There are shower and toilet facilities. Bigbury on Sea beach has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag in recognition of the beach’s excellent standards, particularly its efforts to make the beach accessible to everyone. In addition to good disabled access, Venus Café hires Beach Wheelchairs for those with mobility requirements. The Venus café specialises in selling organic and local food. Its ‘surf ‘n’ turf is one of the best in the area and makes good use of locally sourced ingredients to create a delicious platter that everyone will enjoy. Burgh Island Bigbury’s most famous landmark is Burgh Island, which overlooks the beach itself. The island is accessible at low tide, when the waters reveal a causeway that links it to the beach. However, when the tide is in you can still reach the island by hitching a ride on the popular and unique ‘sea tractor’. Burgh Island boasts an award-winning hotel, where guests are encouraged to dress in the style of the 1920s. Elegant and rather genteel, it’s an ideal romantic retreat for couples.

Head towards Plymouth & follow signs onto B332. Approximately 35 minutes in a car. Pay for Parking.