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Here’s our guide to Strete in South Devon, part of a new series on our region’s most beautiful rural and coastal villages.
Large numbers of commuters, holidaymakers and day-trippers pass through the village of Strete every year. Sitting on the scenic A379 between Dartmouth and Kingsbridge, it sits above Strete Gate Beach and just a mile from the Blue Flag-awarded Blackpool Sands beach.
Strete is around 15 minutes drive from Dartmouth. Take the A379 out of Dartmouth (if you’re coming up College Way, take a left at the roundabout at the top of the hill) and simply follow this road until you reach the village.
You’ll pass Blackpool Sands and be able to enjoy some unforgettable views of Start Bay as you approach the village. There will be roadside parking bays on your left just as you enter.
Driving from Kingsbridge to Strete takes between 20 and 30 minutes depending on traffic conditions and your chosen route.
The coastal route will take you alongside Slapton Sands and the Ley (lake). Leave Kingsbridge on the A379 and stay on this road until you arrive at the village.
Another option is to follow the A381 to Hallwell, turning right towards Dartmouth when you reach Totnes Cross (signified by a petrol station and garage). From there, follow the A3122 for around four miles. As the road bends left, turn right into the lane signposted for Slapton, Strete and Torcross. Follow this road for 3.5 miles. You’ll pass the church and the Laughing Monk restaurant on your left and the centre of the village will be straight ahead.
Within a few miles of Strete, there are several popular pubs, cafés and restaurants to choose from (see the Nearby section for more information). In Strete itself, there’s also a fabulous restaurant which attracts customers from all over the region. Members of the local community also hope their local pub, the King’s Arms, will re-open soon following a recent period of closure.
The Laughing Monk is widely renowned as one of the finest restaurants in South Devon. In the unique environment of a converted village school, you can enjoy fresh seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes from Ben and Jackie Handley, owners since March 2008.
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, but as you’d expect the food is the true star of the show. The Laughing Monk won a Taste of the West Award in 2010, testament to their attention to detail.
Find out more on the Laughing Monk website: http://thelaughingmonkdevon.co.uk/
The King’s Arms is unfortunately closed at the moment, but the community is working hard to find new tenants for this much-loved pub. Find out more about the campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/saveourpubthekingsarms/
In the centre of the village, St Michael’s Parish Church is a 19th Century listed building, within the United Benefice of Stoke Fleming, Blackawton and Strete. You can find out more on the Strete Community website.
At the northern edge of Slapton Sands, Strete Gate Beach forms part of a three-mile fine shingle bay, which runs parallel to the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve. At Strete Gate, you’ll find ample parking and public toilets adjacent to the beach.
In peak season, refreshments are usually available from an ice cream van by the entrance to the car park. Heading south will take you to the central area of Slapton Sands where there is further parking and public conveniences. At the southern edge you’ll find Torcross, with its war memorial, popular pub, restaurant and café, village stores and more.
Be aware that the northernmost area of Strete Gate Beach is a popular haunt of local naturists, especially (for obvious reasons!) during the summer.
The village green is a popular place for dog-owners to give their four-legged friends some exercise and for families to gather at the picnic benches as everyone takes in the views. You’ll find it on Vicarage Lane, close to the centre of the village.
Strete’s location on the A379 means that practical matters are easily taken care of, while the local shop ensures you don’t have to jump in the car for daily essentials.
You’ll find Strete Post Office and Stores in the centre of the village on the main throughroad. It’s a well-stocked traditional shop, perfect for picking up convenience items, from fresh fruit and vegetables to a bottle of wine.
The nearest supermarkets are in Dartmouth, where you’ll find a Sainsbury’s, Lidl, small Co-op and Marks & Spencer’s Food Hall.
The Parish Hall, on Totnes Road just off the A379, is available to hire for events, clubs and activities for just £10 for the first hour and £9 per hour thereafter. For further details see the Strete community website.
The attractions of staying in Strete aren’t limited to what you’ll find in the village itself. Within just a few miles, there’s far more to do than you’d expect from its quiet coastal location.
In Torcross, you’ll find the Start Bay Inn, one of the most popular family-friendly pubs in our region.
There’s also the Sea Breeze restaurant, walking trails through the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, and a reclaimed Sherman tank which serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Operation Tiger disaster.
In and around Stokenham, there’s the Stokeley Farm shop and café, which serves indulgent Devon Cream Teas, one of the best breakfasts in South Devon and much more. There are also two fantastic pubs, the Church House Inn (great for families) and the Tradesman’s Arms.
A little further along the A379, you’ll come to Chillington, home to the contemporarily-styled Bear and Blacksmith pub and restaurant.
Currently the runner-up in our Best beach in South Devon poll, Blackpool Sands is a Blue Flag-awarded fine shingle cove, with excellent facilities including a Venus Café and Takeaway which has a strong enough reputation to attract healthy crowds of customers long after the busy summer season has ended.
A 15-minute drive from Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth is a historic harbour town with a host of individual shops, galleries, cafés, restaurants and more. Take a boat trip up the Dart or out to sea, indulge in some pampering at Dart Marina or the Dartmouth Golf and Country Club, or simply stroll around its picturesque streets, soaking up the relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
Just a few minutes walk from the centre of Strete, Seaway House (sleeps 6) is a spacious, attractively furnished holiday home with a large private garden and lovely sea views. This unique property is ideally suited to families or one-two couples looking for a comfortable holiday base in beautiful South Devon.