Shaldon – Devon benefits from a sea facing beach at Ness Cove and a river beach in the heart of the village that leads to the estuary mouth.
Across the estuary is the busy commercial port of Teignmouth.
Ness Cove Beach
This beach is approached via the Smugglers Tunnel by the Ness car park and a flight of steps which open out on to a beautiful large secluded sandy beach. It has recently achieved the “Gold Standard” award in the latest edition of the Good Beach Guide.
The guide has been around for 25 years and is published online by the Marine Conservation Society.
Every summer, water quality is assessed at popular UK beaches which have been designated as bathing waters under the European Bathing Water Directive.
During the bathing season, samples are usually taken once a week by the relevant authority and tested for bacteria, which indicate the presence of pollution from sewage and or animal waste.
So you can rest assured this beach and bathing water are of the highest standard and ideal for all the family.
The Smugglers Tunnel
The coast from Shaldon to Torbay was well known for smuggling, as names such as Brandy Cove, Smuggler’s Hole and Smuggler’s Cove indicate. The Ness beach was known to have been used by smugglers. It is also said the tunnel was excavated in the 1800s by the owners of Ness House so they could access the beach.
Whatever the reason, the tunnel with substantial flight of steps, located beyond the Ness car park with the entrance behind Shaldon Zoo, is an extremely novel way to access the delightful Ness beach and is guaranteed to create a lasting impression.
Ferry River Beach
The sandy river beach on the banks of the Teign estuary at Shaldon village is a natural focal point for residents and visitors alike.
It hosts numerous events throughout the year including the Water Carnival and Regatta in August and Fireworks Spectacular in November.
There are benches along the promenade at Marine Parade where you can just sit and watch the world go by.
Watch the pleasure boats as they come and go and marvel at the large cargo ships as they negotiate the narrow channel at the estuary mouth to the commercial port of Teignmouth on the opposite bank.
The Ferry Beach is the base for Shaldon Sailing Club and the historic Shaldon black and white passenger ferry which is reputed to be the oldest known ferry in the country and crosses back and forth daily from this beach to the Back Beach at Teignmouth.
Do you remember the song…”if you take my advice, the weather’s just right for messing about on the river”?
Well, no two days are ever the same on the Teign estuary with plenty to see and do.
There is an assortment of boats to spot on the river. See the locally designed and built Shaldon Regatta dinghy ideal for exploring upstream. The Gig and Seine rowing boats are often seen with their crews training and racing on the estuary and out to sea.
As well as all the pleasure craft there are the commercial ships delivering and collecting their cargo from Teignmouth Port.
Fishing boats return to shore with their catch to sell at the local restaurants and further afield.
Shellfish including mussels and oysters are commercially farmed upriver at Bishopsteignton.
If you don’t have a boat you can always don your wellies and venture out on to The Salty, the river bed which is exposed at low tide by Shaldon Ferry beach, and hunt for crabs and small shellfish.
Walkers can enjoy the historic Templer way which is a tidal footpath along the river bank on the Shaldon side of the estuary.
The estuary plays host to a large number of bird species and attracts migrating birds in the winter months so have your binoculars or camera to hand when walking along the river.
Birds seen include, kingfishers, little egrets, red breasted mergansers, shelducks, oystercatchers, turnstones, cormorants, shags, godwits, red shanks and green shanks to name but a few!
If you are very lucky you might even see the odd seal or dolphin popping up at the mouth of the estuary and schools of dolphins out in Lyme Bay are not an uncommon sight.