As I sit in my office on an incredibly grey April day, I’m longing for the Summer and this winter seems to have been here forever! All the signs of Spring are here – daffodils have flowered, leaves have unfolded on the pear tree in my garden, but this week’s weather sucks! I always seem to get cabin fever at this time of year, and I can’t wait to hit the beach. Living in Torquay I remember spending a recent Easter weekend with friends and family on Meadfoot Beach in our swim suits, enjoying picnics and rock pooling with the kids, hopefully the weather will improve for this Easter. But reminiscing about that made me think about all the great beaches in Torbay, with 22 miles of coastline, over 22 beaches and the highest concentration of blue flag beaches, and seaside awards there really is a beach to suit all, so here are my top 5:
#5 – Torre Abbey Sands
Torre Abbey Sands is the main beach on the seafront in Torquay. it is popular with holiday makers and locals alike due to the easy access, and being close to transports links including Torquay Railway Station. It is overlooked by Torre Abbey Meadows and the Abbey itself. Looking out to sea from the beach, your view is beautiful with the Princess Pier in front, and looking across to Brixham, you can see all the boats and yachts coming out of the harbour, at the end of Torre Abbey’s golden sands where the beach huts are situated is Corbyn Head, and Corbyn Head beach, which looks like a continuation of Torre Abbey but is a different shingle beach and Corbyn Head itself is popular with rock climbers but not for the height of headland but for its great traverse climb around the headland to Livermead beach. Torre Abbey Sands is famous for its sand too! As it was voted the Best Sand to Build Sandcastle with in 2004 due to a study by scientists at Bournemouth University.
#4 – Goodrington Sands
I love Goodrington! Not just for its lovely sandy beach, with beach huts running along the back of the beach, but because there is so much to do. There is a large pay and display car park, although it can be tricky to find a space in peak season. If you are travelling to Goodrington via Paignton on public transport, then I can recommend taking the short journey on the steam train to Goodrington station. You can find more details visiting www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk
Goodrington is the location of Splashdown Water Park with its thrilling water slides, it’s a favourite of locals and tourists alike. The park host opening season fireworks displays too. For more details visit www.splashdownwaterparks.co.uk/quaywest
Just behind the beach you will find the boating lake and bandstand, located in Youngs Park which also has bumper boats, swan pedaloes, a spanish cafe, drop slides and crazy golf. The park dates back about 350 years and the boating lake was called Mays Pool and there was a myth about a large watery lagoon, Stories soon perpetuated that it was a bottomless pit and parents would warn their children to stay away from it. The myth was given more weight when in 1667, a chap called Richard Thorne fell of his horse and drowned there. Many years latter when Goodrington park was reclaimed it was found that this myth about the lagoon, that had lasted for 100´s of years was in fact only 2 feet deep! The park is also a natural haven for birds including swans and geese.
Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust own and operate the Seashore Centre at Goodrington. They host an array of events such as “Rockpool Rambles” so children can learn about the marine environment. More details can be found here
#3 – Churston Cove
I discovered Churston Cove a few years ago, when I got my family out on a nice circular walk from Broadsands, which turned out to be far longer than we expected, but that’s a whole other story! What I loved about Churston Cove, was the approach through the woods, which were full of bluebells, and it looked amazing, then when we came out of the wood to the small pebbled cove, you could see the end of Brixham Breakwater and watch all the coming and going of the boats. I would recommend stopping at Churston Manor for drinks (and/or food) on your way back. Churston Manor has a great reputation locally and it really historic and picturesque.
#2 – Preston Sands
Preston Sands in another Paignton Beach to feature in my top 5. The sandy beach is backed by a promenade with beach huts, a childrens play area and a cafe at one end of the promenade and a pub at the other. The beach is great for water sports too – you will find the local surfers here, especially when there is an easterly blowing. But children have lots of fun too with their body board and skim boards. You can walk straight along the beach to Paignton beach and pier too when the tide is out. Its really popular when the Torbay Airshow is on, as its focused around Paignton Beach so lots of people congregate around the area to get the best views of the flying displays.
#1 – Meadfoot Beach
Meadfoot is in Torquay just around the coast from the harbour heading towards Hopes Nose. Meadfoot is a popular beach with locals and you see lots of people diving, snorkelling and kayaking there, especially heading out round Thatcher Rock. The beach is mainly sand and shingle. The end of the beach by the cafe and newly built beach huts is a blue flag beach, however the rest of the beach isn’t but you are allowed BBQs etc. There is also a great part of the beach for rock pooling which the kids love when the tide is going out. My Husband didn’t like Torquay when we first moved here, I think the first time he liked it was a sunny day at Meadfoot when we were there with kids and the water looked turquoise and the yachts were sailing out of the marina round the headland and he said “its not too bad here, I can see why you like it” coming from my other half that high praise! but he is right on a summer’s day you could be sat on Meadfoot but feel like you are sat on the edge of the Mediterranean. So hands down it my number 1 beach, if the sun’s out and I’m AWOL look at Meadfoot!
Have you got a favorite beach in Torbay? Let me know in the comments below!