After all the stormy headlines a few weeks back you might have been mistaken for thinking that the whole of the West Country was either closed or underwater! However, the recent warm, sunny spells have been just what was needed to lift everyone’s spirits and remind us just how wonderful our region and coastline is.
Whilst many places got off very lightly with the storms, there have been a few changes which regulars to the South Devon region might notice. We want you to have the best holiday possible in our cottages, so here’s a lowdown of some places where there have been some changes or diversions due to storm damage, to help you to plan ahead.
The most noticeable changes are at Beesands, which is now a seafront rather than a beachfront village! The sand directly in front of the houses has been washed away leaving just the large stone sea defences; however, don’t panic as the rest of the beach further along towards Torcross is still intact! It also means the wonderful sea views from our properties remain much the same. Locals are optimistic the sands will return as they have done in the past when the easterly tides come.
The pub and café are both open for business as usual and this is still a wonderful spot for sitting out in the sun for lunch or a pint whilst watching the waves. The beachfront track (and extra parking) towards Torcross has been washed away in places, and the council are carrying out work to remedy this area which they expect to complete by the end of April 2014. Unfortunately, this means there is likely to be some distant machinery noise during the weekdays.
The children’s play park is still in use and access to the beach is now a few minutes’ walk further down the grassy area. It is an easy stroll on the flat and will give you the opportunity to take in the freshwater Ley and its wildlife before reaching the beach. [Back to contents]
The car-park at North Hallsands has taken a hammering from the storms and is currently not in use. This won’t affect those staying at our properties in South Hallsands which have designated parking and are within a couple of minutes’ walk of the southern car-park.
Remedial work is currently being carried out at one corner of North Hallsands beach, involving moving large boulders. However, the rest of the beach is still accessible and there is plenty of space to run around despite this repair work. You may also notice an exposed area of dark brown peat on the beach. This ancient peat seam has been exposed due to the shifting sands and shouldn’t have any effect on your holiday unless you happen to be an interested archaeologist or ecologist!
North Hallsands remains a great place to stay as it is literally right on the South West Coast Path. You can enjoy incredible sea views from here, and walk the path in either direction towards Torcross or to nearby Start Point. [Back to contents]
Regular visitors to Torcross will be used to the shifting levels of the beach, but after the recent storms the most noticeable difference is the lack of pebbles as much of Slapton Sands has once again become sandy!
The beach levels are very much lower than has been seen in recent years, but it looks essentially the same. Most repairs have been completed on storm damaged properties with a just few exceptions, so we’re sure you’ll love your stay at Torcross even minus the pebbles. [Back to contents]
The South Milton Sands end of Thurlestone beach has seen the dunes taking the brunt of the storms. In terms of the beach itself this shouldn’t impact your enjoyment of it at all. However, a small area of tarmac road on the southern end of the beach joining the South Milton Sands car park track has been washed away.
There is still pedestrian access to the beach and the café, but it does mean that those staying in properties at this southern end will have a few minutes’ diversion via South Milton if you want to visit Thurlestone by car. Hopefully, this won’t cause you too many problems as it is a very pleasant walk from here to Thurlestone along the beachfront. [Back to contents]
Leas Foot Sands, Thurlestone
A section of the tarmac footpath has been damaged at Leas Foot Sands at Thurlestone, but it is still possible to get round and therefore shouldn’t affect access or enjoyment of the beach at all.
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There has been a small diversion to the footpath leaving Hope Cove towards Thurlestone which will only add a couple of extra minutes onto your walk. Then as you approach Thurlestone, the footpath diversion from last year’s cliff fall still remains in place. It takes you slightly inland, again adding a few minutes onto your walk but it’s hoped that a new route hugging the coast will soon be negotiated. [Back to contents]
For those staying in properties at Salcombe it is worth knowing that the road between North Sands and South Sands has been closed to vehicles. The council are currently repairing the area and are planning to close the beach for some of this time. They have said that work should be complete before Easter. The Winking Prawn café is open for business, and their car park can be accessed from the Salcombe side. If you plan to visit South Sands beach or Overbecks by car, you will need to take a 5 mile detour inland via the village of Malborough. [Back to contents]
Those staying at Lannacombe will notice a footpath diversion which has been in place for a few months prior to the storms, and was due to a cliff fall. The coast path now runs behind the cottages rather than in front, and access down to Ivy Cove beach is currently closed. It is, however, literally only a couple of minutes’ walk to the wonderful, Lannacombe beach. [Back to contents]
We hope that this information will help you whether you are planning your holiday or have already booked with us. Obviously, the storm damage to our coastline was totally unpredictable and is simply a good reminder of the power of the sea. We are sure that you will have a wonderful holiday with us wherever you stay, and whilst there have been some changes, none of them can take away from the sheer beauty of the South Hams coastline.
To keep up to date on coastal footpath diversions check out the South West Coast Path website and we will, of course, aim to keep you posted of any significant changes. If you need further help planning your summer on the beach you might also like to check out our recent countdown of our Top 10 favourite beaches in the South West!