South Hams Beaches

South Hams Beaches

Bantham Beach
A long stretch of fine sand, especially at low tide, backed by impressive dunes. There are plenty of rock pools to explore; making this long, sandy beach is very popular with families and surfers.

The beach forms a promontory into estuary of the River Avon and has magnificent panoramic views. Bantham is a popular beach with surfers and gets busy at times owing to its proximity to Plymouth.
There is a safe bathing area with a lifeguard in attendance during the summer. Dogs are not permitted on main beach May to September. However around the corner to the estuary side, where there are fewer people, dogs are allowed all year round. There is a car park and other facilities within walking distance in the village.


Beesands has a mile long stretch of fine shingle beach, located in a very quiet rural area. Good for Sailing, Canoeing, Windsurfing, Surfing and Body boarding. The beach is backed by grassland and Widdcombe Ley freshwater lake.
These areas are important sites for wildlife. The small village sits behind a long shingle ridge that protects it from the sea. There is a free car park and other facilities at the nearby village. There is good access to beach and dogs are allowed here.


Bigbury on Sea offers a fantastic day out at the beach. A large mainly sandy beach with some shingle in a secluded position, and is ideal for families. It is possible to walk across to the historic Burgh Island at low tide or to ride there on the unique sea tractor.
Lifeguards in attendance in summer making it a safe bathing area. Dogs are not allowed in restricted area. There is a separate area for moored bathing rafts. There is a large Car park and disabled access to beach. Facilities include toilets, showers, beach café and beach shop.

Blackpool Sands

Situated on the Stoke Fleming to Strete Road, Blackpool Sands offers a beautiful sheltered beach with everything you need for a lovely day out.
Blackpool Sands is a sand and shingle cove in an idyllic sheltered bay. The unspoilt beach is around two-thirds of a mile long with steep wooded cliffs to either side.
This beach is popular with families, offering plenty of facilities including café/restaurant, toilets, disabled access to the beach, and a slipway.
Lifeguards are in attendance in summer.
There is a water sports centre offering windsurfing tuition for all ages and hire of surf canoes, boogie boards, kayaks, wetsuits and snorkelling equipment.


A sheltered sandy beach with cliffs on either side, this beach is popular with surfers. The bay is also very popular with divers as there are numerous wrecks around this part of the coast. There is parking nearby, toilets and a café.

Challaborough Beach
This sheltered horse-shoe cove has fine sand, perfect for sandcastles. At low tide there are rock pools for the family to explore. This cove is ideal for water sports such as canoeing and wind surfing. The beach is especially popular with surfers and hosts top class surf competitions.

Safe bathing is ensured by the presence of lifeguards. There is good disabled access to the beach.
Facilities include a cafe, toilets, first aid facilities and a car park.

East Portlemouth
This is a very picturesque and popular sandy beach and faces Salcombe from across the estuary. In fact this side of the Salcombe Estuary is lined by several beaches, and at low tide one can walk the entire length. These beaches include Fishermans Cove, Smalls Cove and the main Mill Bay Beach. The sand is fine and the beach is sheltered with fine views.
Bathing here is safe, making this an ideal family beach. Dogs are also allowed. A ferry runs to Salcombe from the Fishermans Cove steps, Smalls Cove and the main Mill Bay Beach

For decades the fishing village of Hallsands had been at the mercy of the forces of nature until, on a stormy night in January 1917, the village collapsed into the sea, undermined by the commercial removal of shingle from the local beach. Today only a few ruins overlook the beach. This shingle beach in a sheltered cove is popular with nudists. There is disabled access and a beach shop and café.
Hallsands offers excellent fishing and there is free parking. It is also a favourite with divers exploring the many wrecks in this vicinity. South and North Hallsands are separated by a mile or so of coastline which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Hope Cove
Hope Cove is a sandy cove between rocky headlands. This is an ideal location for sailing and other water sports with an open beach and a slipway at Inner Hope.
The water is very clear and divers are attracted by the many shipwrecks in the area. Dolphins and seals can occasionally be seen swimming and diving in the cove. There is plenty of sand and rock pools for the family to enjoy.
There is parking, a beach shop, café and restaurant and dogs are allowed. There is access for the disabled.

Mouthwell Sands
This is a small sandy beach with an array of rock pools at low tide. It is situated to the north of Hope Cove. The beach is surrounded by rocky outcrops giving it a rugged appearance. Dolphins and seals can often be seen swimming offshore. There is parking available, within a short walk from the beach, and a café plus other facilities nearby including a good choice of restaurants, a pub and a post office.

Salcombe has beaches at South Sands and North Sands. South Sands has limited parking and disabled access to the beach. There is a shop, a café and a restaurant, with other facilities nearby. South Sands is a fine sandy beach. Sailing, canoeing and Windsurfing are popular here. Can be accessed by passenger Ferry from Salcombe.

North Sands is nestled between town headands. Popular with families, the sandy beach is totally submerged at high tide.

Slapton Sands
The name Slapton Sands is a little misleading as the beach is mostly made up of shingle and tiny red pebbles. The beach is really a 2 and a half mile long shingle bank across the bay forming a freshwater lake, Slapton Ley, behind. The Ley is the biggest body of freshwater in the south west and home to a variety of flora and fauna. The bank was created by glacial action during the last Ice Age.
The beach was commandeered by the allied forces in 1943 to rehearse for the D-Day Normandy Invasions. This involved the use of live ammunition so the whole are was evacuated for the duration of the operation. There is now a stone to commemorate the ill-fated ‘Operation Tiger’ along with a Sherman tank parked in nearby Torcross.
An area at northern end of the beach (Pilchards Cove) is now also known as a popular naturist’s beach.
Windsurfing, sailing and canoeing are popular here.

Lifeguards are in attendance in the summer

This is a wide sandy beach backed by a nature reserve where rare birds have often been spotted. Surfing, windsurfing and canoeing are all popular on this beach and, during the summer months, a range of sports equipment can be hired on the beach.
There are two main beaches at Thurlestone. The smaller of these, Thurlestone Sands, is near to the local golf club, whilst the larger is a further along the coast in the direction of South Milton. Both have fine shingle and sand coverings and are in sheltered locations.
There are numerous car parks but few other facilities at Thurlestone Sands. There is no easy access for the disabled. Dogs are allowed on the beaches. There are more facilities on the larger beach.

A small sandy beach surrounded by low cliffs, set in a Marine Conservation area. Here you will find some of the best rock pools in the United Kingdom. .There is a beach shop, café and restaurant and parking available.

There are interesting offshore reefs, popular with divers. This is also a popular surfing spot.

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