Wow! The weather today was stunning for late October. The freshness of the bright blue sky over Devon reminded us of the time we spent living in California, though Devon was a little colder 😉
Photo of the day
Another early start as we watched the sunrise over Paignton Pier.
Taking a look under the 238 metre long pier.
Julian had many fond memories of Broadsands Beach, having spent many summers here as a kid.
As well as many working fishing boats, there was also an interesting replica of Sir Francis Drake’s The Golden Hind ship sitting in the harbour.
Brixham Marina. William Prince of Orange and his Dutch army landed at Brixham in 1688 (the marina was built much later!). Many locals still have Dutch surnames.
The lighthouse at the end of Brixham’s long breakwater, with Paignton Pier in the background. The breakwater was great for a brisk walk and for its panoramic views across Torbay.
Driving along typically narrow Devon lanes, we arrived at Berry Head. As it was a clear day, we had lovely views west past Sharkham Point and St Mary’s Bay.
The lighthouse at Berry Head, the shortest lighthouse in Great Britain (6 metres), but also one of the highest above sea level (58 metres).
Jarno checking directions on Berry Head’s Compass.
A short drive southwest took us to the River Dart, where we crossed from Kingswear to Dartmouth on the Higher Ferry. Great timing too, as the ferry was just boarding as we arrived, so we drove straight on.
Looking up the River Dart on the short ferry crossing.
The Britannia Royal Naval College sitting above Dartmouth.
Plenty of yachts moored in the Dart Marina.
Driving along more narrow lanes took us to Dartmouth Castle, with stunning views across the Dart to some fabulous looking houses over at Kingswear.
The 15th century Dartmouth Castle next to Saint Petrox Church, overlooking the mouth of the River Dart.
Looking down the steep cliffs to Castle Cove.
A clear view across Start Bay past Blackpool Sands and Slapton Sands. We could hardly believe this was Devon at the end of October.
Waves crashing on Blackpool Sands.
Looks can be deceptive, it was actually pretty chilly whilst taking a break at The Venus Cafe.
Looking back down on Blackpool Sands as we continued our coastal drive.
Driving to Strete we passed sheep enjoying the autumn sunshine in the fields above Forest Cove.
Strete Gate Beach at the north end of Slapton Sands, which is technically a bar (a coastal one, not one you go for a drink in).
At the southern end of Slapton Sands we reached Torcross, and the Sherman tank at the Exercise Tiger Memorial.
The views from Start Point across Freshwater Bay and Start Bay were breathtaking. We could see all the way back along the coast we had just driven along in the morning.
Hallsands perched on cliffs next to Start Point.
Walking along the South West Coastal Path to Start Point Lighthouse.
The Grade II listed Start Point Lighthouse.
As we walked back along Start Point’s ridge, we had super views looking west along the South West Coast Path towards Mattiscombe.
A lone paraglider above the Start Point cliffs.
More narrow coastal lanes as we drove to and from Start Point. There were not many passing places, but fortunately it was very quiet this Monday morning. However, we then attempted to drive to East Prawle, but the lanes got so narrow that both sides of the car were being scratched by the hedges! At the first opportunity we then tried to make it back to slightly larger lanes. One recommendation, best to come here in a small car, a car you don’t care about or a tractor.
A typical Devon village road winding its way between cottages at West Charleton.
The low autumn sun reflecting on Bowcombe Creek near Kingsbridge.
Views over Lincombe to the Kingsbridge Estuary, along the road to Malborough.
Looking across Batson Creek, from Salcombe to East Portlemouth.
Be careful where you drive! Union street ended abruptly at the lifeboat station. Salcombe really was a maze of tiny roads. Fortunately, as it was a quiet day out-of-season, we were really lucky to park on a street right down by the harbour.
The local pub squeezed into the waters edge by the ferry landing.
We wound our way up through more tiny lanes to Overbecks, a National Trust property overlooking Salcombe. Unfortunately it had closed for the season, so we peeped over the garden walls to take in the the views across Salcombe Harbour and the Kingsbridge Estuary.
The Outer Hope Beach at Hope Cope, and our first glimpse across Bigbury Bay to Burgh Island.
Lobster pots sitting along the sandy Inner Hope Harbour.
Boats tied up on the Inner Hope Beach.
On our way to Bigbury-on-Sea, we somehow ended up on a shortcut alongside the River Avon at Bridge End, near Aveton Gifford.
The aptly named Tidal Road had little protection from the River Avon. Anyway, we continued on our way and were fortunately fine.
We arrived at Burgh Island just as the sun started to go down.
The Island is most famous for its Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel. Agatha Christie wrote a few of her books whilst staying here. Julian was also lucky enough to stay here several years ago (in the Agatha Christie room), and loved it!
Newton Creek surrounded by Noss Mayo on the opposite side, and Newton Ferrers on our side.
Great, we made it to Wembury Beach, our final stop just before the daylight disappeared. There was a little stream running down the beach, which made a great end-shot for the day. That’s all for day forty-three. On Day forty-four we will continue our coastal road trip from Plymouth.
Today we will be driving 130 miles along the Dorset coast and into Devon. The distance is a little more than we had originally planned, as we decided to visit Portland Bill early this morning, rather than yesterday evening. The clocks also went back today, so we made an early start soon after sunrise.
Photo of the day
The cliffs at Sidmouth.
An early Sunday morning stop at Weymouth Beach, and someone was already going for a swim in the sea. Looks chilly.
Weymouth’s Drawbridge in the old town harbour.
We were the only people walking around the historic harbour on this very quiet Sunday morning.
We stopped next at Nothe Fort, but it hadn’t opened yet for the day, so we drove on to Sandsfoot Castle. The castle had been completed in 1541 by Henry VIII to defend against attacks from the French and Spanish.
Isle of Portland
After a quick stop at Portland Castle at the bottom of the hill, we continued on to The Olympic Rings Stone Sculpture. There were great views across Weymouth and Chesil Beach stretching west as far as the eye could see.
Portland Bill’s current working lighthouse at the tip of the Isle.
The previous Old Higher Lighthouse, over a hedge and across fields at the top of Branscombe Hill…
…and its sister, the Old Lower Lighthouse.
Driving back to the mainland, we drove along the edge of Chesil Beach (AKA Chesil Bank), that we had seen from the Olympic Rings. The 18 mile long shingle beach is one of the largest in Britain.
Driving inland, almost parallel to Chesil Beach, through rolling green fields towards Abbotsbury Abbey.
Looking back-down to Chesil Beach, past cows enjoying the lush grass.
As we continued along the coastal road between Abbotsbury and Swyre, we had far-reaching views west along the Jurassic Coast.
The distinctively coloured East Cliffs, close to where one of West Bay’s original fishing harbour’s lay. The rich colour of the cliffs was caused by the oxidation of pyrite.
The remains of the old trainline and station, now a cafe.
A lone boat on Seatown’s pebble beach.
A busy lunchtime at Charmouth, as beach walkers enjoyed the views towards the Golden Cap.
Views from The Cobb across Sandy Beach. Lyme Regis was absolutely packed with tourists, we were really lucky to find a parking space.
Leaving Dorset behind, we continued into Devon. After driving through Seaton, we made our next stop at the quaint little fishing village of Beer. It was surprisingly quiet. Perhaps everyone had gone to Lyme Regis for the day?!
Fishing boats resting on their day-off under the white chalk cliffs.
The bright red Triassic cliffs of Sidmouth, glowing as the sun shone through a break in the clouds.
Collecting donations for the local lifeboat, but looking a little odd…
More luminous red cliffs surrounding Budleigh Salterton’s bay and pebble beach.
Looking into the sun across the River Exe to Dawlish Warren from Exmouth Beach.
We continued our journey by looping north to cross the River Exe near Exeter. We then drove back down the west side of the Exe before stopping briefly at Cockwood Harbour.
A giant pink elephant towering above one of the funfair rides at Dawlish Warren.
Exmouth beyond Dawlish Warren Beach and the River Exe.
The sun starting to set as we arrived at Teignmouth Pier and Beach.
Regatta boats neatly lined up on Shaldon Beach, with Teignmouth in the background on the other side of the River Teign.
Shaldon was a lovely little fishing village to potter around, with its cosy lanes and Georgian cottages.
Entering Torbay, we made our first stop at Thatcher Point, overlooking Thatcher Rock, and over to Brixham and Berry Head in the distance. Julian already knew Torbay well, as his parents and grandparents previously had homes there.
As the clocks had gone back today, the evening light faded early. So we made our final stop of the day in Torquay Harbour before driving to Paignton for the night.