If you’re looking for ideas to make the most of a free afternoon in the South Hams, why not treat yourself to a mouth-watering lunch at The Cricket Inn Beesands, and then walk it off whilst soaking up South Devon’s breath-taking coastline.
Anyone who has stayed in one of our coastal holiday cottages in Beesands will know how good the local pub is and I was lucky enough to enjoy it last Friday afternoon. My choice of lunch at the award-winning Cricket Inn restaurant hit the spot for me as I’m a fish and vegetable fan, although I noticed the menu also boasts a good choice for meat lovers. My succulent fillet of sea bream with spinach and feta stuffing, complemented by a delicious Provençale sauce was one of the tastiest dishes I’ve eaten this year. My other-half also enjoyed his John Dory in a creamy sauce, accompanied by skinny fries and wok fried seasonal vegetables. For pudding we indulged in some West Country ice cream and a generous platter of West Country cheeses – just to give us energy for the walk ahead!
We set off feeling nicely full, and slightly sleepy, but the pace of the walk quickly perked us up. It was a beautiful warm autumn day, and the famous Devon hills soon put our legs to the test. Following the South West Coast path in the direction of Start Point we climbed higher and were rewarded with spectacular views stretching across Start Bay towards Dartmouth in one direction and the iconic Start Point Lighthouse in the other.
We walked down through Hallsands and then up past the viewing platform which tells the poignant story of how the old village of Hallsands was washed away. As we climbed further along the coast path, the vibrant green ferns on the path contrasted beautifully with the shimmering turquoise sea below. Looking down, the low tide exposed hidden beaches all along the coast line, and we spotted a lone kayaker making the most of a private fishing spot on one of the secret beaches.
The Start Point Lighthouse is perched on one of the most southerly points of mainland UK and provides a superb position to gaze out to sea, and watch sailing boats coming round the corner from Salcombe, heading towards Dartmouth and beyond. We have seen seals sunbathing on the rocks here before, but this time we weren’t quite so lucky with our wildlife spotting, although we did come across a docile cows grazing on the footpath along the way.
We chose to walk back to Beesands the same way we came as we never tire of looking at the sea. The return leg felt a little daunting setting off, as Beesands was hazy in the distance, but we soon got back into the swing of it, and completed our walk in around 2 hours total for both legs.
We got back just in time for one last refreshing drink at The Cricket Inn, before heading back home.
Walking Time – around 2 hours, although it depends on how often you pause to gaze at the breath-taking views!
Distance – 6 miles
Difficulty – Medium – best to wear decent walking footwear to minimise post-walk aches and pains
Parking – free at The Cricket Inn, Beesands, Kingsbridge TQ7 2EN
Restaurant – booking recommended – 01548 580215