Exploring the Finest Attractions and Activities in Slapton
Nestled between rolling hills and the English Channel, Slapton offers an idyllic retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. From stunning beaches to historical landmarks, Slapton has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll uncover the best things to do in Slapton, to help you make the most of your visit.
The beach and the areas around it are welcoming to dogs and offer lots of things to do. You can go for walks, swim, build sandcastles, and even swim in the water. The beach is known to be safe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many families like to come here.
Lifeguards watch over the beach often, so it’s a great place for swimming. You can also do water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding, which many people enjoy.
During the summer when the beach is used a lot, there are temporary places that rent out equipment and offer lessons.
Slapton also holds significant national importance due to its coastal geomorphology, with a shingle beach that encloses a coastal lagoon named Slapton Ley.
Towards the northern side, this shingle bar is supported by a former arm of the lagoon that has been filled in over time. The backdrop consists of cliffs made of Lower Devonian slates and grits. The beach primarily comprises shingle made of flint and chert.
Over time, the shingle bar is gradually shifting towards the land as a response to the rising sea levels. This phenomenon has attracted considerable attention from the scientific community.
Slapton Ley, on the other hand, provides a perfect showcase of ecological succession. It demonstrates how open water transforms into a reed bed, which in turn evolves into woodland due to the accumulation of silt.
Where is Slapton?
Slapton is a charming coastal village located in the South West of England, in the county of Devon. The town sits along the breathtaking coastline of Devon, offering picturesque landscapes, a tranquil ambience, and a rich history that dates back centuries.
Slapton is 14 miles from Brixham in Torbay, and around a 50-minute drive via the A379.
History of Slapton
In 1086, Slapton was mentioned as Sladone in the Domesday Book. Around 1372 or 1373, Sir Guy de Brian started the Collegiate Chantry of St Mary. The Tower Inn and West Tower still stand, with the tower recognised as a grade I listed building by English Heritage.
The Church of St James, dating from the late 13th or early 14th century, is also grade I listed.
Nearby, there’s a coastal area called Slapton Sands. In 1873, after the ship Lalla Rookh crashed at Prawle Point, bits of its cargo like tea and tobacco were found on Slapton Sands, along with wreckage, piled up to 11 feet high in some places.
In 1944, during World War II, Slapton was part of Exercise Tiger, a practice for the Normandy Invasion. It was attacked by German E-Boats and had many friendly fire casualties.
A Sherman tank sunk during this time has been recovered and stands near Torcross. A stone memorial from the United States Army honours those who practised for the Normandy Invasion, accompanied by two flagpoles. A section of Exercise Fabius happened a week after Exercise Tiger on Slapton Sands.
Things to Do in Slapton
Slapton is a charming village located in Devon, England. Here are some things you can do in and around Slapton:
1. Slapton Sands Beach
Enjoy a relaxing day at Slapton Sands, a beautiful shingle beach that stretches for over three miles. It’s great for sunbathing, picnics, and long walks along the shoreline.
2. Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve
Explore this freshwater lake and nature reserve, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and plants. Slapton Ley is the largest natural lake in the South West of England. There are walking trails and bird hides for observing the local fauna.
3. Stroll Through Slapton Village
A leisurely stroll through Slapton Village allows you to admire the quaint cottages, charming gardens, and friendly locals. It’s a great way to soak in the village’s character and charm.
4. Blackpool Sands
Just a short drive away from Slapton, Blackpool Sands is another lovely beach with golden sands and clear blue waters. It’s ideal for swimming and water sports.
5. WWII History
Slapton Sands played a significant role in WWII preparations, and you can learn about this history at the Slapton Sands Memorial and Sherman Tank Memorial. The area was used for training exercises before the D-Day landings.
6. Coastal Walks
The South West Coast Path runs through Slapton, offering stunning views of the coastline. You can take leisurely walks along this path and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
7. Water Sports & Activities
You can engage in various water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing on Slapton Ley or the surrounding waters.
8. Farmers’ Markets
Check out local farmers’ markets for fresh produce, crafts, and unique artisanal products. They often showcase the best of the region’s offerings.
If you’re interested in fishing, you can try your luck at fishing spots along the coast or on Slapton Ley. Just be sure to follow local regulations and obtain any necessary permits.
10. Start Point Lighthouse
Head on a scenic coastal walk to reach the iconic Start Point Lighthouse. This historic structure has been a guiding light for sailors since the 19th century. Capture breathtaking views of the coastline and the English Channel from this vantage point.
11. Hire a Boat
Rent a boat and peacefully navigate the waters of Slapton Ley. The calm lake offers a serene backdrop for rowing or canoeing, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings.
12. Visit Strete
Venture a short distance from Slapton to the charming village of Strete. With its scenic coastal views, quaint cottages, and welcoming atmosphere, Strete offers a delightful day trip option.
13. Go Crabbing
For a fun family activity, head to Beesands Beach and try your hand at crabbing. This traditional pastime involves catching crabs from the shoreline and is sure to entertain both children and adults alike.
14. Visit Torcross
Visit Torcross, a village located along Slapton Sands, and pay your respects at the Sherman Tank Memorial Site. This site commemorates the American servicemen who tragically lost their lives during the D-Day training exercises.
15. Visit Salcombe
Take a short drive to the charming town of Salcombe, known for its stunning coastal scenery, boutique shops, and maritime history. Explore the town’s winding streets and enjoy a boat trip along the estuary.
Related: 17 Best Things to Do in Salcombe
16. Take a Scenic Drive
Go on a scenic drive along the Start Bay coastline, where every twist and turn reveals breathtaking vistas of the sea, cliffs, and lush countryside. Be sure to make stops along the way to fully appreciate the beauty of the area.
17. Relaxing at Pilchard Cove
Escape to the tranquillity of Pilchard Cove, a secluded unofficial nudist beach, that offers a peaceful haven away from the crowds. It’s an ideal spot for reading, swimming, or simply sunbathing.
Summary of Things to Do in Slapton
We hope you enjoyed this guide on the best things to do in Slapton.
Slapton offers a diverse range of activities and experiences that caters to all ages. Whether you’re a couple seeking relaxation, a family looking for adventure, or wanting to learn about the history, this village has it all.
If you’re looking for a hotel on the South Coast of Devon, take a look at the Quayside Hotel in Brixham. Located in Torbay on the English Riviera, the hotel is perfectly situated close to all restaurants, amenities, shops and the beach.
Yes, you can bring dogs to Slapton Sands beach, it’s a very dog-friendly place.
Slapton beach is a shingle beach, not a sandy beach.
Yes, you can swim at Slapton Sands. The coastal area provides an opportunity for swimming in the sea, offering a refreshing experience for visitors during suitable weather conditions.
Slapton Sands is a shingle beach that features historical significance, a dog-friendly environment, and the remnants of Exercise Tiger—a World War II rehearsal.
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