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Conveniently located within easy reach of Dartmouth, Start Bay stretches for 15 miles along some of the most impressive coastline that South Devon has to offer, with the village of Torcross located in this beautiful area. Comprising of breathtaking views from rugged cliff edges, a variety of charming villages and several shingle beaches including blue-flag award winning Blackpool Sands, Start Bay is a popular destination all year round. Found in the centre of this impressive area is Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, a unique and precious habitat, which includes and surrounds a large freshwater lake.
The picturesque village of Torcross lies at the southern tip of Slapton Sands, full of historical and natural interest this scenic village is home to a handful of popular eateries, and is in easy walking distance of some truly charming local beaches.
If you’re looking to get active during your stay why not try hiring kayaks or stand-up paddleboards from the Venus Company at Blackpool Sands? Or head out for a hike on one of the many incredible walks that the South West Coast Path has to offer.
(less than a mile)
When viewed from above the unusual layout of the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve is truly impressive. The largest natural lake in south-west England, an amazingly narrow bar separates the fresh water from the salty sea. Housing an impressive array of wildlife, this unique and precious habitat is well worth a visit.
Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve
Slapton Ley Field Centre, Sands Rd, Kingsbridge TQ7 2QP
(less than a mile)
Make the short trip out to Stokeley Farm shop, begin your day with a hearty ‘farmer’s breakfast’ in the onsite café, then browse the locally-sourced offerings of the garden centre. With an onsite deli, butchers and country farm shop, why not stock up on some locally produced delicacies and enjoy indulging in a taste of the South West during your stay?
Stokeley Farm Shop
Stokeley Barton Farm, Kingsbridge TQ7 2SE
Next to Dartmouth Castle are two little beaches, ideal for rockpooling, beachcombing or taking a break from your walk along the South West Coast Path. Another ‘secret’ beach, Compass Cove, is just half a mile further on foot.
A mile from Blackpool Sands, this three-mile shingle beach is a must visit, particularly for dog owners since four-legged friends are welcome all year. Right by the beach is the Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers, a popular pub-restaurant and two enticing cafés.
The traditional seaside fishing village of Beesands is home to a 1.5 mile fine shingle beach, beloved by dog walkers, anglers and other beachgoers. South of Slapton Sands in Start Bay, Beesands is an ideal place to stop on the coast path for a hearty bite at Britannia @ The Beach or the Cricket Inn.
This Blue Flag-awarded fine shingle beach, just four miles from Dartmouth, offers stunning views, a pristine environment and fantastic facilities. These include the excellent beachside Venus Café, watersports equipment hire, children’s sandpits and outdoor showers for washing wetsuits.
Just over a mile from Start Point Lighthouse Little Hallsands beach is famous for the haunting history of the lost village that once stood alongside it. Although there are no facilities nearby, this unspoilt beach is well worth visiting for excellent dog-friendly walks and beautiful views.
Options for hearty English breakfasts and delicious cream teas abound in South Devon, but one of our favourites is Stokeley Café, close to Start Bay in Stokeley Barton. This farm shop café is always a good choice for a spot of daytime indulgence.
The award-winning Start Bay Inn is arguably one of the most popular pubs in South Devon. Run by the same family since 1977, it has a cosy traditional feel, complete with a thatched roof, low ceilings and exposed wooden beams. Their menu is both varied and reasonably priced and has an emphasis on local seafood.
The Start Bay Inn
Torcross, Kingsbridge TQ7 2TQ
In a 19th century former school building, the Laughing Monk is a casual yet refined restaurant in Strete, a few steps from the South West Coast Path. Fresh seafood from Start Bay and other locally-sourced dishes are the order of the day at this renowned local restaurant.
On the seafront at Beesands in Start Bay, the Cricket Inn offers enticing interpretations of many pub classics, and has recently added a range of chargrilled options with the installation of a new Josper oven. The Cricket Inn holds an AA Rosette award.
Venus café is not a typical ‘chips-in-a-cone’ style beachside kiosk. Looking straight out over the beautiful fine shingle and turquoise waters of Blackpool Sands, you can enjoy organic and Fairtrade coffee as well as organic meats, a fine range of salads and some enticing seafood options.
The Venus Cafe
Blackpool Sands, Blackpool, Dartmouth TQ6 0QR
In the picturesque village of South Pool, the multi-award-winning Millbrook Inn is a cosy countryside gastro-pub, where traditional English food meets the best French cuisine, overseen by Head Chef Jean-Phillippe Bidart.