Slapton is a small village home to the beautiful and popular Slapton Sands beach, charming locals and fascinating connections to WWII. The entire village and the beach both fall within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it isn’t hard to see why. Both Slapton and its neighbouring Torcross are a haven for country pubs, good food and amazing accommodation options, suitable for the whole family. The village’s cute, thatched cottages hark back to a simpler time giving the impression of a quintessential Devon hideaway.
Beaches dreams are made of
Slapton Sands is arguably one of Devon’s most picturesque beaches, stretching over three miles, it is a popular destination for holiday makers, partly because of the amazing views, safety of the area and being dog friendly and also because of the friendly and charming village right on the doorstep. Slapton Sands is rich in history and wildlife, with a nature reserve right next door and plenty of opportunities to get out on the water, it is a place that visitors often return to.
The beach is made up of three parts, the main stretch at Slapton, the Torcross end and the north end, which is typically more peaceful, especially in the off seasons, making it a great location for a romantic picnic or an evening stroll. At the farthest end is Strete Gate Beach, where you can really sit back, relax and take in the stunning views of the South Devon Natural Landscape (AONB).
Explore the region’s diverse history
A visit to Slapton isn’t complete without walking the length of the beach towards Torcross where you’ll find Sherman Tank, which stands by Slapton Lay and a memorial commemorating the lives lost during Operation Tiger, a rehearsal for the D Day invasion of Normandy during the Second World War.
In total, there were six large-scale exercises that took place on Slapton Sands by US troops, many of which were attended by high-ranking officers from the Allied forces, including Winston Churchill, who was Prime Minister at the time. The best known of these was Operation Tiger, which took place on 28th April 1944 and saw over 900 American servicemen lose their lives.
The exercise was supposed to mimic real life events as much as possible, which included the use of radios, this alerted nearby enemy boats, who then slipped past naval defences and launched an attack.
A memorial to the servicemen that lost their lives is located at the far end of the beach at Torcross.
Meet the wild residents of Slapton
Slapton is home to the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve, which is the biggest fresh water lake in the South West. The Ley, as it is known locally, is surrounded by reeds, marshes and trees and despite the fact that the walking routes run close to the nearby road, it is mostly silent and tranquil, so you can really immerse yourself in the wildlife.
Throughout the reserve, there are a wide range of walking and cycling trails as well as opportunities for bird watching and learning more about the wild plants and fauna that live there. Wildlife enthusiasts will especially love the many hides that are dotted about the reserve, so you can really get up close and personal without disturbing the natural habitat.
Things to do in Slapton
While Slapton itself is a small village, you won’t be short of things to do during your visit. Aside from visiting the beach and the nature reserve, there are a whole host of activities and attractions perfect for a day trip or short break.
Being patrolled regularly by lifeguards means Slapton Sands is one of the safest beaches in the region, making it perfect for swimming as well as a whole host if watersports including kayaking and paddle boarding. There are a host of organisations that can be found around the coast in the summer months offering equipment hire and training sessions, so even the most novice of paddleboarders can give it a try!
If you prefer a gentler way of life, that doesn’t mean you should give the beach a miss, South Devon’s warm climate means that it regularly brings seals and dolphins to the water during the summer and into autumn and you can often see them frolicking from the South West Coast Path, which has routes all over the village, giving you incredible views of both the coast and the nature reserve. The beach is also a popular fishing spot because of the depth of the water, so it’s great for shore anglers, and with the impressive views, what better place to set up your line?
For anyone who wants to explore further, Slapton lies between Kingsbridge and Dartmouth, two picturesque and popular destinations in South Devon, each with their own charm and history, making it the ideal base for anyone who wants a real adventure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Slapton Beach dog friendly?
Dogs are allowed on Slapton Sands all year round. As well as the beach, dogs are also allowed in the Slatpon Ley Nature Reserve which is located behind the beach and the beach is also along the South West Coast Path, which is a great option for dog walkers.Learn more about dog friendly beaches in Devon
Are there toilets at Slapton Sands?
There are toilets at both Torcross and at Strete Gate, there is also a cafe at Torcross. You will find public toilets are in the car park, which is close to the beach.Find out more about Slapton Sands