An icy Christmas Day swim in South Devon has been a tradition for some time now, but in the...
You will find the charming coastal village of Thurlestone situated just five miles west of Kingsbridge, nestled alongside the coastline of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Surrounded by rolling countryside and working farms, the village is just a short walk from Thurlestone Beach, making it the perfect spot if you’re looking for a secluded beachside bolthole with quick and easy access to both Salcombe and Dartmouth.
For a village that is small in its size, it certainly packs a punch with regard to its outstanding facilities, and is home to an active church, a thriving pub, a well stocked shop/post office, world class golf course, and welcoming luxury hotel. What’s more, the South West Coast Path passes through the village, providing direct access to many popular walking routes. Find out more about this popular South Devon destination in our comprehensive guide to Thurlestone Beach.
Thurlestone Beach is in fact made up of two beaches, both of which are formed of coarse sand and shingle. The smaller cove to the north, is known as Leas Foot, and the larger southern beach situated slightly further along the coast is Thurlestone Sands, which merges into South Milton Sands. Accessible via a single-track road, the beaches are fairly remote meaning they don’t attract swathes of crowds in the peak summer months. Both are well sheltered, and enjoy shallow bathing waters that are perfect for children to splash around in – the water is rated as excellent (in the South) and good (in the North) so you can be sure it’s a clean and safe environment to take a dip. Seasonal RNLI lifeguards monitor the safety of swimmers and watersports enthusiasts, however, care does need to be taken further out to sea as warnings of dangerous rip-tides, currents and sudden shelving are prevalent. Exposed on a low tide, the rocky outcrops that flank the beach reveal rockpools that are teeming with marine life, perfect for beach explorers of every age!
Aside from seasonal lifeguards, there are no facilities on the beach, with the nearest toilet being found at South Milton Sands. As such, you will find those visiting Leasefoot and Thurlestone Sands amongst the more ‘hardy’ of beach-goers, taking delight in life’s simple seaside pleasures of sunbathing, sandcastle building, scrambling and picnicking! Enjoying a distinctly rural feel, Thurlestone beach is perfect for those who want to enjoy a slice of sandy South Devon seclusion.
Leas Foot Beach is a small sandy bay situated adjacent to the Thurlestone Golf Club. Both quiet and secluded, it’s the perfect spot if you’re looking to navigate away from the hustle and bustle of busier beaches. The swimming conditions at the beach are safe, although there is no lifeguard service so do take care if you intend to take a dip – the rocks at either end of the beach are great for snorkelling on a high tide. There are no facilities at the beach, however, public toilets are easily accessible across the road beyond the golf course.
What really sets Thurlestone beach apart is the iconic Thurlestone Rock, a spectacular arch-shaped formation that sits just offshore. Best on a high tide, outdoor enthusiasts love to paddle through the arch on kayaks and paddleboards, and those feeling up for a challenge undertake a sea swim when conditions allow. You will find those who prefer to stay on dry land taking memorable photos or painting the seascape, with the arch looking particularly striking as the sun sets.
Whilst the beaches of Thurlestone have fewer facilities than South Milton Sands, there is still a lot to enjoy at this hugely popular beauty spot. The coarse sand is perfect for all the classic British seaside beach activities (sandcastle building, quick cricket and petanque!), and the rock pools exposed on a low tide are teeming with life and perfect for exploring. For water based enthusiasts, it’s the ultimate playground – when conditions are calm it’s a great spot for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and paddleboarding, and when winds change and a swell comes in, windsurfing and surfing dominate.
For keen ramblers, Thurlestone Beach is in an enviable position on the South West Coast Path, with Hope Cove and Salcombe in one direction, and Bantham in the other, with views stretching as far as Burgh Island. If you want to take to the water but don’t have your own equipment then not to worry, you can hire equipment from Surfin Sam Watersports at South Milton Sands.
For those who would like to spend a little time exploring further afield, just a short drive away are the bustling harbour towns of Dartmouth and Salcombe. For more inspiration, download our comprehensive guide on Things to do in South Devon.
Thurlestone Golf Club is widely reputed as being one of the most spectacular spots to play golf in the country and this comes as no surprise. Running along the coastline, the course itself is a mixture of links and cliff top terrain, providing a breathtaking panoramic coastal vista, with views not just toward Thurlestone Rock, but also taking in Burgh Island. Visitors to the club are warmly welcome, and the club encourages you to call the reception team to discuss individual requirements.
Thurlestone Beach is dog friendly and welcomes canines and their companions throughout the year. The beach enforces strong dog-fouling laws which help to ensure the sand is kept clean, so be sure to follow protocol and clean up after your dog. Aside from the wide open space and shallow bathing waters, there are so many factors that make Thurlestone Beach the dog friendly destination that it is. Situated directly on the South West Coast Path, the neighbouring beaches of Bantham, South Milton Sands and Hope Cove are just a short walk away, and there are various circular walking routes that navigate both coast and countryside. One of our favourite routes passes through Bantham, full details of which can be found in our route guide here. For even more inspiration, download our free South Devon walking guide.
With so much activity, you and your four legged friend will certainly build an appetite – luckily, this area of South Devon is home to some of the regions most popular eateries, and best of all, you will find them dog friendly both inside and out. Head to The Beachhouse in South Milton Sands, The Cove Cafe Bar in Hope Cove or The Sloop Inn in Bantham for a feast of sumptuous food, drink and additional dog treats if you’re lucky! For more information on the best beaches for you and your four legged friend to explore, visit our South Devon dog friendly beach guide.
Despite the fact that Thurlestone Beach is relatively remote, you don’t have to travel too far before you’re tucking into some of South Devon’s finest produce. In the summer months, you will find The Gastrobus situated in the Thurlestone Sands car park which is easy to spot not just because of its eggshell blue colouring, but from the constant buzz of activity surrounding the bus. Their mission is to bring great street food to the beach using the best of local produce, and they never fail to disappoint. Boasting a menu of handmade burgers, gourmet hotdogs, fresh focaccia and juicy salads, they also bake their own bread and cakes daily. Just a short walk from Thurlestone Beach, you will find The Beachhouse at South Milton Sands, and The Village Inn pub, both of which are open throughout the year.
The coastal village of Thurlestone is situated just five miles west of Kingsbridge in South Devon. Thurlestone Sands Beach operates a free car park that is situated near the Thurlestone Golf Course, for which the postcode is TQ7 3JS. The car park provides access to both beaches via footpaths.
There is one car park situated at Thurlestone Sands (postcode TQ7 3JS), which is free to use, and is not manned. Alternatively, you can park at South Milton Sands car park which is owned by the National Trust and parking charges apply.
This stretch of South Devon coast is a beach lover’s paradise, and enjoys a wealth of picture perfect coves and large sandy expanses. Bantham Beach, South Milton Sands and Hope Cove are just a few of the popular destinations amongst those visiting the area, all of which are just a short distance away, by foot or by car. Further afield, the shingle shores within Start Bay offer a different experience entirely, and are well worth exploring. At Coast & Country Cottages we love the beach, so be sure to read through our beach related blog posts for the full lowdown.
Our Thurlestone holiday cottages are ideally located to provide quick and easy access to both the coast and countryside. With a wealth of coastal apartment complexes such as Thurlestone Rock, Thurlestone Beach and Ocean’s Edge, you really are spoilt for choice – we would go as far to say we offer the best selection of holiday homes with sea views in South Devon! From waterside apartments to country escapes, we have properties to suit all requirements, be it a romantic escape, a family holiday or a dog friendly cottage near a South Devon beach.