For our first trip out for Cottages In South Devon we headed to Blackpool Sands, which is just outside Dartmouth. From Totnes it’s less than half an hour in the car but we know a little short cut that gets you to the beach quicker – instead of going all the way to Dartmouth you turn off just past Woodlands (a great place for rainy days with the kids – if you can handle it!) toward Blackawton and head toward Strete. There’s an even craftier shortcut that takes direct to the beach but it’s too complicated to go into here!
Although it’s not the best beach in South Devon – stony and fairly short – Blackpool Sands is one of our favourite spots with the kids, largely due to the Venus Cafe. What started a few years ago as a takeaway stand is now a very funky cafe right on the beach, so whatever the weather you can sit and enjoy a cappuccino and keep an eye on the kids. The food is really good – the kids and I had burger and chips and Sarah had a caesar salad, all made with local ingredients and all pretty well priced. Couldn’t resist a little bar of Green & Blacks to finish it off.
Because of all the amenities on hand, it can get pretty chocka in the Summer but at this time of year it has a nice sociable feel with lots of families, kite flying, dog walking and even the occasional crazy swimmer. We headed to the left searching for bits of beach plastic and skimming stones and ended up rescuing a crab that had got stranded too high up the beach.
In the Summer we usually head toward the far right of the beach – there’s sandpits and, a bit further on, a stream where the kids can paddle and explore the undergrowth. It’s a bit of a tricky beach for swimming – the seabed shelves downward pretty close to the shore so kids are very quickly out of their depth but a lot of serious swimmers practice here because the bay is so sheltered.
While the rest of the country was snowbound, down here in Devon it was 8 degrees and clear – perfect for a gentle stroll on the beach. Louie, 8, even managed to go paddling – still wearing his jeans – so we had to make a quick dash back to the car after he came out before his legs froze!