Our guide to holidays in Torcross...
Backed by the countryside of the South Hams and right on one of Devon’s prettiest stretches of coast, there’s something special about the village of Torcross. It’s probably best known for its position right at the end of Slapton Sands and it’s the kind of spot you’ll discover and keep coming back to.
Home to the kind of unspoilt scenery that makes Devon unique, Torcross is a popular choice with walkers, beach bums and foodies. With Dartmouth’s thriving seafood scene within a short drive from the resort and the choice of coast or countryside to discover on foot, this pretty corner of the South Hams has it all.
This whole section of coastline is one big Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Slapton Ley nature reserve is a great place to get close to the local wildlife and just enjoy some time out. Based around Slapton Ley, a freshwater lake, the reserve changes from season to season so there’s always something to see.
Beach holidays in Torcross
A Torcross holiday means you’ll have Slapton Sands beach pretty much on your doorstep, and this seemingly endless stretch of shingle beach is one of those that looks gorgeous no matter which time of year you pay it a visit. We’ll start with the essentials, there’s free parking, RNLI cover and the water quality’s excellent, and we should add that there are some yummy pubs and cafes to choose from when you’re ready for the all-important crab sandwich fix.
Sit back on the shingle and you’ll see people enjoying life on the water in pretty much every way. Slapton’s popular with kayakers, windsurfers and canoeists, so if you’ve always fancied giving watersports a try then you’ll be in the right place. In fact, watersports play a big part of life in the South Hams, so if you’re determined to experience life in the region then pick a way to enjoy the water and add it to your list of things to do.
If you like enough space to pick a spot and shake out your towel without being shoulder to shoulder with your neighbour, Slapton rolls on for so long that there’s plenty of beach for every family, and it’s just off the beaten track enough to escape the crowds you’ll find on some of South Devon’s better known beaches.
Walking in Torcross
There’s only one place to start when you’re ready to walk Torcross, and that’s right beside Slapton Sands. In fact, Slapton’s so beautiful that even those of us who call Devon home put aside a few Sundays every year to drive the winding lanes to the South Hams and wander this stretch of coastline for an hour or two, and you’ll understand why as soon as you get there.
With the sea lapping the shore to one side and the Slapton Ley nature reserve to the other, there’s a peaceful atmosphere along this section of the coast path, even on a busy day. People amble their way along, stopping off now and then to sample the local seafood served in the friendly pubs and cafes, and with all that beach beside you you’ll be free to slip off your shoes and cool off in the water when it’s time for a pit stop. This is a flat, easy walk, so it’s a good one to do as a family if you have little ones with you.
You’ll spot an unusual landmark perched just behind the beach, and the Sherman Tank that stands looking out to sea is a memorial to a tragedy that unfolded nearby in 1943. The beach was used as a rehearsal space for the D-Day landings by allied forces, and a disastrous combination of a lack of visibility and live ammunition led to the tragic deaths of 749 American servicemen. There’s a stone monument to those who lost their lives in Operation Tiger, and the tank was salvaged from the waters to stand as a tribute to the events.
Where to eat in Torcross
Now, we’re a laidback bunch in Devon, but if there’s one thing we take seriously it’s food. So it’s only right that we point you in the direction of a few of our favourite Torcross restaurants. Let’s start with the Start Bay Inn. Wander your way along Slapton Sands and you’ll find yourself at this picturesque thatched inn, and if the weather’s too good to sit inside you can pick a picnic bench and enjoy some time out with the sea breeze drifting past.
Famous in the region for its rather yummy fish and chips, the Start Bay Inn dates all the way back to the 14th century when it welcomed the local fishermen from the nearby villages, and there’s a family feel to the whole pub that makes it popular all year round.
Next up, it’s The Boathouse. A particular favourite with dog walkers due to the fact that our four-legged friends are welcome inside, this pub’s a great choice because it has a takeaway service too. So, if you don’t fancy dragging yourself away from the beach while you tuck in, you’ll be able to feed the kids without moving inside.
For those of you who are content with the traditional beach café, you’ll find one right beside Slapton Sands, so you’ll have everything you need to keep the family fed and watered during your time on the coast.