If you are looking for an exciting coastal location, largely unknown even to the locals, then it doesn’t get any better than Stare Hole. Having walked much of the coastal path around South Devon, we at Cottages In South Devon rate the section immediately south of Salcombe as one of the most stunning and varied, with Stare Hole itself being a real hidden gem of a beach, with its cliff waterfall and stream to play in, some lovely caves and beautiful views along the coastline and out to sea. The sand is perfect for sandcastles and there are rock pools. Facing south-east, it is glorious on a sunny day.
Parking at or near Overbeck’s (the National Trust property just south of Salcombe and South Sands) it’s just over thirty minutes’ walk (about a mile) along a stunning section of coastal path towards Bolt Head. Views across the Salcombe estuary at the start of your walk are soon replaced by a moonscape of rocky outcrops on the cliffs around you and, on heading westward at the mouth of the estuary, an unrivalled section of path hugs the cliff and overlooks the English channel from quite a height!
Within thirty minutes you will notice most other walkers turn around and head back to their cars (in my experience, few will push on beyond the half hour mark) but within another ten minutes or so you will reach the fingerpost sign at Stare Hole. The sign directs some walkers further on towards Bolt Head and others inland, ‘over the top’ back to Overbeck’s and Salcombe; but this is when you should head seaward and follow the winding path down the cliff, and then cross a small footbridge, to the foot of the waterfall.
A slippery 8ft scramble down onto the beach is one option, although you could head through the waterfall itself and climb down to the beach. The pictures speak for themselves and, as long as it’s not peak season, you are pretty much guaranteed to have the beach to yourself. Check for a low tide if you’d like to visit the caves and get the most out of your time in this truly amazing haven, just off the beaten track.