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Dog friendly Devon

There is no greater pleasure than running around on the beach- whether you are on 2 legs of 4!

South Devon is a dog lovers paradise, dogs are welcome in nearly all shops, pubs and cafes (some even have their own dog menus!) and the beaches are a dog walkers dream!

Here is our guide to the best dog friendly beaches in South Devon.

Beesands

Less than a mile from Beeson Farm, the traditional fishing village at Beesands is home to a mile long shingle beach from which you can take the coastpath towards Hallsands or Torcoss (both of which are also dog friendly).  Both the pub (The Cricket Inn) and the seafood café (Britannia at the Beach) offer the most amazing food, serving fish and shellfish caught in Start Bay. There is no lovelier spot to sit and eat whilst looking over Start Bay under the watchful gaze of the lighthouse. Beesands is dog friendly all year round.

Lannacombe Beach/Mattiscombe Sands

Start Point one of the most explosed penisulas on the coast and one of the best coastal walks in South Devon. The dramatic cliffs and coastal path forms a mile long headland running for almost a mile until you reach Start Point Lighthouse which has guided vessels along the channel for over 150 years.  To the west of Start Point you will find Mattiscombe Sands and Lannacombe Beach (the latter of which has a small carpark with parking for approx. 10 cars). Dogs are welcome on these beaches are you are likely to be rewarded with spotting seals basking on the rocky outcrops along the coastpath.

Torcross and Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands is a three mile long stretch of shingle beach which runs from Torcross heading towards Dartmouth. Completely level with easy parking (or walk from Beesands over the coastpath), dogs are welcome all year round. There are some great eateries where your dog will be made very welcome. Discover the fascinating WW2 history where the beach was used to practice for D Day or head into Slapton Ley nature reserve for a stroll in the shade of the woods alongside the Ley, the largest freshwater lake in the south west. Slapton Ley is a site of special scientific interest. The nature reserve covers 490 acres of woodland, marsh and reedbed habitats making it a wildlife haven for all types of birds and wildlife.

Mill Bay

Sitting opposite the waterfront town of Salcombe which lies across the water of the estuary, the beach at East Portlemouth is dog friendly all year round. A beautiful stretch of golden sandy beach (with a National Trust car park) it is easy to see why this is a favourite with locals and holiday makers alike.. The shallow and sheltered turquoise waters of the estuary are a great spot for paddling or a swim for you and your pooch. A favourite pastime with all children is to try and dam the stream which runs along the beach and into the Estuary. After a day on the beach hop on the passenger ferry and head over to Salcombe, one of the prettiest towns in the area and a water sports ad sailing hotspot.

Gara Rock/Rickham Sands

Park at Gara Rock itself or choose to leave the car at Mill Bay and take the scenic coastal path or the pleasant woodland walk up to the top of Gara where you will find the fabulous Gara Rock hotel (open to non residents) with its spectacular panoramic clifftop setting and delicious menu, its an ideal spot for a bite to eat. Head down to Rickham Sands, a beautiful secluded cove and a staggeringly beautiful coastline, dogs welcome all year round.

Bantham and Bigbury

Some of the most expansive sandy beaches in our area, both beaches are sandy with shallow waters but both are renowned surfing spots (both have excellent surf schools should you wish to learn!).

Bigbury (seasonally dog friendly) is home to the famous Burgh Island, which is accessible on foot at low tide or by the sea tractor when the tide is in.

Dogs are not allowed on Bantham beach from May-September but are allowed on the estuary at the southern end of the beach all year round which you can get to at low tide. As the tide rolls out at Bantham you will discover plentiful shallow rock pools perfect for adventures with little ones. Don’t forget your bucket and spade! Lifeguards are on duty from May to September.

After a day on the beach you can buy refreshments at the Gastrobus or head to one of the local pubs. Bantham has excellent facilities including a large carpark and public toilets.

 

Choose to stay at Beeson Farm in either the Trap House, which has a private garden , or one of our other dog friendly cottages and you will have the ideal base for exploring these beaches with your pooch. We would love to see photos of your dogs enjoying South Devon- feel free to share your photos to our Facebook page!

National Walking Month

May is National Walking Month, so if you fancy packing your walking boots and booking a holiday at Beeson Farm  we’ve pulled together a quick guide to our favourite 5 walks for you!

There are numerous footpaths and bridleways to explore in the local area and throughout May they are lined with the most beautiful wildflowers- and often offer tantalising glimpses of the sea. The South West Coastpath runs through Beesands (less than a mile from Beeson Farm) and offers some stunning walks along the coastline, where you can discover shipwrecks, the Lighthouse, lost villages and hidden coves.

Each cottage at Beeson Farm has an ordanance survey map and a folder of local walking routes and maps.

Walk 1: Beesands to Hallsands 3.5 miles (and closest to Beeson Farm) Children particularly will love this stroll past the ‘Village that Fell into the Sea’. It is easy to understand the massive power of the ocean on a windy day here, when the waves crash on the rocks, dashing spray high in the air, and there is the muted roar of the shingle being dragged back and forth on the seabed. ‘Hallsands looks as if it properly belonged to the sea,’ wrote James Fairweather in his 1884 Guide to Salcombe, ‘and had only been borrowed from it for a time.’ 30 years later a massive storm (combined with the effects of dredging the sea for shingle to build the dockyard at Plymouth) The route follows a number of ancient lanes, and is also the route that the children in the lighthouse took too and from school in the small hamlet of Huccombe every day. it may be wet or muddy in places, so wear good footwear. There is free parking at Beesands

Dowload the walking guide here https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walksdb/83/

Walk 2: Slapton Ley Nature Reserve (family trail 1.5miles)

Slapton Ley is the largest natural freshwater lake in the south west, separated from the sea by a shingle beach. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) it was declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR) in 1993. The Nature Reserve is 1.5 miles long and covers over 490 acres of natural woodland, marshes and reedbed habitat, making it a wildlife haven for all types of birds and vegetation. Slapton Ley is a great day out for families, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone with a passion for nature.  Check the Slapton Ley field study centre website as there are often free activities and events happening throughout the year on the reserve and the beach to help you learn and understand more about the environment Parking is available nearby at 3 car parks (the Memorial Carpark and in Slapton Village).

Download the trail here  http://www.slnnr.org.uk/media/3737131/2195-Slapton-Ley-walks-leaflet-2016.pdf

Walk 3: Start Point Lighthouse Walk 1.2miles

A short 1.2m easy walk from Start Point Car Park to Start Point and the Lighthouse – part of the South West Coast Path. Start Point is the most southerly tip of Devon, with stunning coastal scenery across Start Bay and lots of wildlife to spot, including seabirds and the odd seal. See the remains of Hallsands Village, wrecked by storms on 1917, the Day Mark Tower on the Dart Estuary, and on a clear day, you can see along the coastline to the Isle of Portland. This short walk takes you from the Start Point Car Park down to the Start Point Lighthouse, built in 1836 to protect the ships sailing around this coastline. There is a steady descent down the old lighthouse road to the headland. It is suitable for many mobility scooters, and push chairs. Parking charges apply. The Lighthouse is open to the public on selected weekend and in school holidays (height restrictions apply to climb the tower and admission is cash only)

Walk 4: East Soar and Salcombe 7.5 miles (challenging)

Follow the well marked paths to visit the exotic garden at Overbeck’s or discover hidden coves for a quiet dip or picnic. Either way you’ll be rewarded with dramatic seascapes, estuary views and miles of green, rugged cliff-tops grazed by beautiful Highland cattle or in the summer, Dartmoor ponies. This walk showcases the dramatic coast around Salcombe, walking from East Soar to the charming secluded beach at Soar Mill Cove. After a rest on the beach, journey around the jagged rocks at Bolt Head and discover fantastic views as you walk up the Salcombe Estuary

The walkers hut at East Soar Outdoor experience is a great place to stop for homemade cakes and treats!

Download the trail here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/salcombe-to-hope-cove/trails/bolt-head-walk

Walk 5: Charleton and Frogmore Creek 4.5 miles

The Salcombe – Kingsbridge Estuary is a glittering jewel in South Devon’s crown. This walk explores one of its loveliest creeks, teeming with wildlife, along with some of the areas ancient green lanes. Be sure to pop in to Springfield farmshop afterwards for a cream tea and to stock up on locally produced goodies!

http://www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/explore/walks-trails/charleton-and-frogmore-creek

Start Point Lighthouse

One of our favourite family walks is down to Start Point lighthouse, on the most southerly headland in the country. The promontory has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), recognising the national importance of its geology, lichens, invertebrates, rare flowering plants, breeding birds (including the rate Cirl Bunting)  and an intertidal area of major biological importance (including some rare species of seaweed).img_3754

Park at the car park (charges apply in the summer months) and follow the path along the contours of the hillside, presenting sweeping views over Start Bay on one side (from the lost village at South Hallsands, to Beesands, Torcross, Slapton and beyond to Dartmouth) and the shelter of jagged ridge of prominent rocks on the other.

The Skerries (a rocky reef) extend 6.5kms off Start Point. At low water the bank is only just over 2m below the surface, the Skerries are well known as a good fishing spot but equally as a hazard to shipping. The coastline from Start Point to Dartmouth is strewn with shipwrecks of all shapes and sizes. One significant wreck nearimg_3766 Start Point found by a group of local divers contained a hoard of tin ingots and beautiful gold bracelets and shed new light on historians understanding of the trade links of civilisations during the Bronze Age. The hoard can be seen in the British Museum in London.

Following countless shipping disasters and heavy loss of life, the lighthouse was built to alert ships to the danger of Start Point and its surrounding rocks, most especially Black Rock and flashed its warning light for the first time in 1836.

The lighthouse is open to the public in the school holidays and on weekends (tickets for a family of 5 are £12- cash only!), you can check the details here http://www.startpointdevon.co.uk/open-dates.htm  Tours run on the hour and take approximately 45 minutes.

The story of the lighthouse unfolds as you ascend from the bottom to the lantern room at the top, accompanied by an incredibly knowledgeable guide. Our children were particularly fascinated by the stories of the families of lighthouse keepers who lived in the lighthouse until it was automated in 1993. Visitors can climb right to the top, under the light, from which the views are breathtaking. img_3767

We would recommend extending your walk and returning to the car park by way of visiting Mattiscombe beach (one of our absolute favourites), and from where you may spot dolphins, porposies and grey seals.