Dartington, in South Devon, is a vibrant village that offers a wealth of eateries and abundance of things to...
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the coastal village of Torcross can be found nestled between the freshwater lagoon of Slapton Ley, and the three mile shingle stretch beach that is Slapton Sands. Exceptionally unique in its geography, Torcross is a coastal village like no other and enjoys beautiful scenery from every angle, taking in panoramic views of Start Bay. The sense of history and heritage that envelopes Start Bay is so clearly evident in the village of Torcross, making it the ultimate escape for history fanatics, nature enthusiasts, those that love the great outdoors and food lovers. Conveniently situated between the market towns of Kingsbridge and Dartmouth, it’s the perfect bolthole if you’re looking for an authentic South Devon coastal experience, with easy access to the rest of the region and all it has to offer. The excellent facilities at Torcross make it a popular destination with families, dog owners and also those with additional accessibility requirements, and as such, it is a thriving village all year round.
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Torcross Beach is the name given to the southern tip of Slapton Sands, and by most, it’s considered a separate beach entirely. Often home to calm and clear waters, Torcross Beach is a popular spot with outdoor enthusiasts so expect to find swimmers in abundance and paddle boarders and kayakers exploring the bay. A great time to get out on the water is at sunrise or sunset when the wildlife is rife – you will often spot seals exploring the rocky outcrops, and if you’re lucky, dolphins dancing and feasting on shoals of mackerel. The shingle shores are peppered with sunbathers and keen anglers, providing a tasty treat for a beach barbecue. From Torcross Beach you can enjoy picturesque views of Start Bay in both directions, and on a clear day, even spot the Start Point Lighthouse to your right, with Blackpool Sands to the left. Fortunately, it’s spacious enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, even in the height of summer when the area becomes a little more populated. There is an understated modest sense of satisfaction amongst those that visit Torcross Beach, and you will often find happy souls enjoying a salty sea swim, a morning coffee or a well deserved sundowner!
The excellent facilities at Torcross Beach make it a favourite place for families, dog owners and also those with limited mobility. The disabled access to the beach is via a slipway, and the level promenade stretches for around 300m in length, which is perfect for wheelchair users and buggies, with this smooth stretch also proving popular with children on bikes and scooters. Parking is plentiful (situated adjacent to the beach), the public toilets are well maintained and there is a lifeguard team on duty throughout the summer months, making the environment feel safe and secure. Home to an abundance of waterfront eateries taking advantage of the picture postcard view. From freshly ground barista coffee to line caught fish and chips, you will never go hungry when visiting Torcross Beach. The popular Sea Breeze Café also has a small shop selling beach-related accessories including buckets, spades and inflatables.
For those in search of something a little more remote, we will let you in on a well kept secret, there is a blissfully secluded beach called ‘The Cove’ situated just beyond the rocky outcrop at the far southern tip of the beach. You can access this via the South West Coast Path leading towards Beesands.
Torcross Beach is dog-friendly and welcomes canines and their companions throughout the year. The village is a brilliant place to enjoy with dogs, and there are so many factors that make it the dog-friendly destination that it is. Not only is the large shingle beach a wonderful playground but the South West Coast Path passes right through the village, providing an abundance of walks to explore. Beesands Beach and Hallsands Beach are both just a short walk away, both of which are dog-friendly all year round, and should you want to head inland there are miles of rambling countryside footpaths that navigate the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve, enchanting woodland and open farmland – you really couldn’t ask for more, we think it’s a doggies paradise! For more information on the best beaches for you and your four-legged friend, check out our guide to dog-friendly beaches in South Devon.
Hallsands, Beesands, Slapton Sands, Blackpool Sands and of course Torcross Beach are all situated within the fifteen mile stretch of Start Bay coastline – similar in their geography and steeped in history and tales of old, they are popular beaches amongst those visiting the area. The region of South Devon is a beach lovers paradise, and is well regarded for its varied collection of beaches, from shingle bays to secluded coves and large sandy expanses that create the perfect environment for seasoned beach lovers. At Coast & Country Cottages we love the beach, so much so, we’ve created a South Devon Beach Bible, so be sure to download it for more information.
For a village that is relatively small in its size, the breadth of places within which you can eat and drink in Torcross is impressive, as is the range of food on offer, with something to tickle all taste buds. Below, in no particular order, you will find the finer details of where you can tuck into sumptuous food in the village of Torcross…
The Start Bay Inn is a family-friendly pub situated in the heart of Torcross, enjoying outside tables that face the sea. As such, it’s simply irresistible for passers-by during the summer and you will find it a hive of activity in both the summer and cooler months. As you would expect, the fish and seafood is sourced locally and whilst the menu has a focus on seafood, serving some of the finest fish and chips around, traditional pub classics are all on the menu too. There is a dedicated restaurant area for families, and to help keep little ones entertained, you will find a much loved selection of colouring books and board games.
Torcross Boat House is situated just a short distance from the Start Bay Inn and boasts panoramic sea views. This casual, light and airy café/restaurant also serves as a takeaway, so you can pick up a hearty portion of fish and chips to take back to the shingle shores if you’d rather stay on the beach. In the summer months, you can dine on the patio that faces Slapton Ley, whilst in the winter, you can sink into the fireside sofa. It’s worth noting that the Boat House doesn’t open every evening, so do check opening times if you’re planning to go there for dinner.
Situated towards the southern tip of Torcross beach, Seabreeze Café is a cosy traditional café with a small amount of outdoor seating. A popular place for light bites and desserts, Seabreeze serves sumptuous tea cakes, scones, soups and cakes amongst other delights. Offering a takeaway service too, it’s the perfect spot to load up with sweet treats ready for a post sea swim treat.
Relatively new to the village of Torcross, The Billy Can is a popular café and retro sweet shop with sweeping views across the Southern tip of Slapton Ley. As if this wasn’t enough, it is also an arts and crafts centre and is a great spot to browse local artwork whilst enjoying a relaxing coffee. As you would expect, it’s a hotspot for children who adore spending their hard earned pocket money, and luckily, sandy toes and wet feet (paws included) are more than welcome!
Another fantastic daytime café is the Stokeley Farm Shop, situated just under a mile from Torcross and accessible by both foot and car. Serving a range of delicious meals, snacks and treats, including a decadent Devon Cream Tea, it’s also home to a deli, garden centre and newly refurbished tap house. It’s an ideal bolthole to spend an hour or two after a trip to the beach, and it’s often a hive of activity at the weekend and during the summer holidays.
The village of Torcross is jam packed with things to do, so much so it can be tricky to choose what to do first! For outdoor enthusiasts, activities are in abundance with walking, cycling, swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking opportunities all on offer, however please note that equipment hire is not available. The beachside location of Torcross, situated directly on the South West Coast Path makes it a favourite destination for walkers, especially those bringing their dogs. Within just an hour’s walk you can reach the village of Beesands or Hallsands, or alternatively to Stokenham, Slapton and Strete. The team at Coast & Country Cottages love walking, and we have detailed numerous popular South Devon walks on our blog.
For a slightly more gentle activity, spend your time nature spotting at the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve, the beautiful freshwater lake is surrounded by reed, shrubs and trees and is a haven for wildlife, and proud home to the lesser spotted otter. There’s a wheelchair accessible hide for birdwatching situated in the main Torcross car park (Slapton Line). The southern tip of the Ley is a popular place for children (and grown ups alike) to feed the swans and ducks – so much so that both the Start Bay Inn and Sea Breeze Café even sell small bags of bird food. If you do choose to feed the birds, please do so with respect and only give them bird food – bread and other snacks can cause digestion issues and upset the water quality in the Ley – the RSPB actively discourages throwing bread.
For those wanting to learn a little more about the history of the area, be sure to visit the Sherman tank that serves as a memorial to those who died during the World War II Operation Tiger disaster – you can learn about this on the Exercise Tiger Memorial website, or head to Hallsands and learn of the ‘village that fell in the sea’, remains of which can still be seen. Also nearby is the Start Point Lighthouse, where you can learn many tales of old including stories of shipwrecks, storms and the lighthouse foghorn that had vibrations so huge it fell off the cliff. Just a short drive away is the bustling harbour towns Dartmouth, which is equally steeped in history – a popular option for those keen to explore its cobbled streets. For more inspiration on how to spend your time, download our comprehensive guide on things to do in South Devon.
Parking in Torcross is plentiful, which makes for another reason why it is so popular amongst those visiting. The main Torcross car park, otherwise known as ‘Torcross Tank’ is situated between Slatpon Ley and the beach, and from here you will also find the Exercise Tiger Memorial. This car park provides quick access to the beach and its facilities, and also has public toilets should you need them. Adjacent to this, you will find the Torcross village layby, a series of diagonal roadside parking bays – these offer easy access to the beach of Torcross, but do note that they are only permitted for short stays during the daytime. For sat nav purposes, the postcode for these car parks is TQ7 2TQ, both of the car parks are chargeable with further details (and Ringo options) found on the South Hams District Council website. There is a small amount of free parking available in the village’s far southern tip, with no time limitations, but if you do want to try and grab a spot here it’s best advised to go early!
At Coast & Country Cottages we have a wealth of Torcross holiday cottages ranging from traditional coastal cottages to romantic boltholes, luxury getaways and even houses with open fires and swimming pools. The area is perfect for those wanting to travel with their canine companions, and we offer a variety of dog-friendly holiday cottages in Torcross that are ideally situated, so you can fully maximise your beach time and coastal walks. Regardless of your preferred taste, we are certain you’ll find something to suit.
A stunning, light and sunny two storey barn conversion, 20 At The Beach is located in the heart of Torcross, just yards from the beach, nature reserve and eateries. The barn offers the perfect blend of modern open plan living and traditional character, retaining many of its original features including vaulted ceilings and cross beams – it really is a dreamy coastal escape.
Also situated just a stone’s throw from the beach, 1 At The Beach is a spacious, dog-friendly ground floor apartment enjoying sweeping views over Start Bay. The open plan living area is stylish and contemporary and enjoys double French doors opening to a private terrace (with table and chairs), directly overlooking Torcross Beach. Both the master and second bedroom also take in sea views, so you can watch the waves lapping from the comfort of your bed – what a luxury!
Situated adjacent to Slapton Ley Nature Reserve, and just a 250 metre walk to the beach, when staying at Anchor Ley you will experience nature at its finest, right from your holiday cottage doorstep. The accommodation itself is spacious and modern, with an enclosed garden and decked area taking in views of the ley. Bicycles and equipment are available for guests to use, and there is also a private drive with space for two cars and a small boat trailer should you want to bring your own vessel. Up to two well behaved dogs are permitted too, so your beloved four legged friend won’t miss out on the fun.