Welcome to our guide to Torcross in South Devon, a seaside village with a fascinating history.
Skip to a section or read on for the full guide.
Torcross is a scenic, historic village at the southern tip of Slapton Sands, which is a long stretch of fine shingle beach in Start Bay. Situated on the South West Coast Path, it’s a fantastic place to explore on foot, with for example:
- three miles of dog-friendly beach to explore on your doorstep
- peaceful walking trails through the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve
- Blue Flag-awarded Blackpool Sands just 3.5 miles away
- Dartmouth, a beautiful eight-mile walk away
- Hallsands and Beesands in the opposite direction towards rugged Start Point.
Torcross Beach, the name given to the southern part of Slapton Sands, is a popular place for swimmers, sunbathers and just about everyone who loves a day at the seaside. Fortunately, its spacious enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, even in the summer, and there is ample parking along the bay.
Torcross itself is full of historical and natural interest, albeit tinged with tragedy in the former case.
The Operation Tiger Memorial
A World War Two-era Sherman Tank, which was reclaimed from Start Bay, stands at the edge of Torcross Car Park.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, the tank serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the tragedies that accompanied Operation Tiger in 1944. Preparations for the D-Day landings were marred by friendly fire, which was followed by an attack from German E-boats. At least 749 American servicemen were killed in an incident that was kept largely secret at the time.
The ley at Slapton, which reaches to the edge of Torcross, is the largest freshwater lake in the South West. Separated from the sea just a narrow bar, it’s a fantastic spot for birdwatchers and other nature-spotters to explore.
Feeding the ducks
The southern tip of the Ley is a popular place to take children to feed the swans and ducks – so much so that the local shop, Start Bay Stores, sells bird food you can safely give them. Feel free to bring your own, but be advised that the RSPB discourages throwing bread, suggesting that rice or frozen peas be used instead.
Torcross is a regular stop-off point for locals en route between Kingsbridge and Dartmouth, in large part because there are some popular food and drink establishments in the village.
The Start Bay Inn
The Start Bay Inn is a family-friendly pub and restaurant, known for its tasty ‘pub grub’ with an emphasis on fresh local seafood, its reasonably-priced menu and lively atmosphere. Being right on the seafront, it’s great to sit outside and take in the sunshine and sea views, but it’s cosy enough indoors to mean the Start Bay Inn is popular all-year-round.
The Torcross Boathouse Restaurant
Another family-friendly eatery, the Boathouse has an extensive menu including plenty of children’s options. The pizzas are especially popular and the views are fantastic. Again, sitting outside on a summer’s day can’t be beaten.
If you’d rather relax with your dinner back at home, you’ll be pleased to know the Boathouse is a takeaway too.
A few steps further towards the southern tip of the beach, you’ll find Sea Breeze and its small but perfectly-formed little café/restaurant, which serves homemade snacks and lunches.
Stokeley Farm Shop & Café
Stokeley Farm Shop isn’t quite in Torcross village, but it’s less than a mile away on the A379. The café has an excellent local reputation, particularly for breakfast, which is why we featured it in our #WakeUpToSouthDevon video.
Find out about the other places featured in our video in our behind-the-scenes blog article.
Torcross is located conveniently on the A379 for quick and easy access to Kingsbridge and Dartmouth. So, while it’s a rural location, taking care of practical matters such as grocery shopping is straightforward if you’re happy to jump in the car for a short, scenic drive in either direction.
- The market town of Kingsbridge is less than eight miles away. There are Tesco and Morrison’s supermarkets in Kingsbridge, in addition to a wide range of shops, pubs and restaurants.
- Heading north on the A379, the historic harbour town of Dartmouth is around nine miles away, where, in addition to boutique shops, galleries and restaurants, there’s a Lidl, Sainsbury and an M&S Food store.
Start Bay Stores
Start Bay Stores is a local shop and Post Office, located centrally around a hundred metres from the seafront. There are some free parking bays opposite the shop, in addition to the ticketed car park close by.
Coast & Country Cottages offers six holiday cottages in and around Torcross, alongside around 400 properties within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Sleeping between four and six guests, they range between charming seaside cottages and stylishly-appointed apartments.
Explore all of our Tocross holiday homes here, or read on for our holiday highlight.
Holiday highlight: 1 At the Beach
1 At the Beach is a beautifully furnished ground-floor seaside apartment.
Its private terrace is on the very edge of Torcross Beach (Slapton Sands).