Crashing waves, a shingle beach, and a community with roots dating back centuries, Beesands is the kind of quaint coastal village that you’d imagine no longer exists in this modern era. And yet it does. Here’s a guide to the best things to do in Beesands, one of the prettiest villages in the South Hams in South Devon.
Beesands village, a community steeped in history
The earliest record of Beesands dates all the way back to the 16th-century. Located midway between Hallsands and Slapton Sands, for much of its existence, the settlement relied on the trade of crab and lobster fishing. Now, the primary source of village income is found in the form of tourism, with many of the little fishing cottages along the high street now used as holiday lets.
Beesands is small in size, comprising of one beach, one high street, several eateries (a fish and chip shop, as well as a pub), and a small church. The ecclesiastical building is an Anglican Chapel dedicated to St Andrew. And in more modern times, Mick Jagger’s first public performance was actually at the Cricket Inn in the very heart of the village.
At low tide, when the waters recede, the beach opens up and a small crossing below the rocks can be found, connecting Beesands to the adjacent Slapton Sands. For the rest of the time, it’s possible to reach Slapton via a coastal path that takes the walker high above the cliffs.
Beesands is dog-friendly from October to April and toilet facilities are available all year ’round. When it comes to the beach itself, it’s worth noting that there’s no lifeguard on duty and the steep shelf nature of the beach means that the water gets very deep very quickly.
At high tide, there’s no access to most of the mile-long beach. In recent times, the shingle beach has been awarded a Blue Flag and The Marine Conservation Society has recommended Beesands in the Good Beach Guide. While paddleboarding and fishing are pretty popular, the area is also a hit among bird watchers. When walking along the coastline, it’s not uncommon to spot seals sunbathing on the cliffs during the summer months.
Brittania @ the Beach
Truth be told, the best place to grab a bite to eat is as Brittania @ the beach. Currently closed for renovations and due to reopen in early Spring of 2019, this family-run food hotspot is known locally as ‘the shack’.
Serving a sea-inspired menu, as well as meat-free options on request, the eatery offers seaside views, as well as the chance to order takeaway. After all, from Beesands, it’s easy enough to reach the pretty village of East Prawle, as well as the seaside village of Torcross.
The Cricket Inn Pub & Hotel
First opened to the public in 1867, The Cricket Inn is particularly popular among walkers and outdoor enthusiasts who are keen to explore the wider Start Bay. Now, the pub operates as a restaurant with bar area, and there are several rooms you can book if you wish to stay longer.
The restaurant is nautically themed, though if you want to be guaranteed a spot for lunch, you’ll need to book in advance. Even in the winter, the inn is always full and you’ll likely have to eat on the benches outside if you don’t reserve a table. While the food is great, the prices are a little on the expensive side and staff behind the bar are not the friendliest!
Coastal walk to Hallsands
If you want to enjoy coastal views and admire the Start Bay lighthouse from afar, the best coastal walk to be taken from Beesands is to Hallsands lost village. Roughly a mile away from Beesands, up and down over the steep coastal path, you’ll find the ruins of Hallsands, a village that was swept away by a storm in the early 20th-century.
Today, all that remains of the once thriving village of Hallsands are two houses, several crumbling walls, and a viewing platform that tells the tragic tale of the Devonian settlement. If you want to visit Hallsands from Beesands, be sure to pack some sturdy walking shoes, the hike is moderately hard in places.
A weekend in Beesands
If you truly want a break from it all, then a weekend in Beesands is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of busy everyday life. After all, up until just a few years ago, there was no phone signal there! Indeed, much of the surrounding area is still without signal, making this the perfect area to check out from internet life. As a result of Beesand’s picturesque nature, there are plenty of places to stay in Beesands:
The Lobster Pot, Beesands: With sea views and panoramic views of the beach and beyond, this newly refurbished holiday home is located over three floors and has four bedrooms. Check prices and availability here.
The Cricket Inn: The ‘only pub in the village’ can be found midway along the High Street. Serving all manner of hot and cold drinks, as well as a locally-inspired menu, rooms are simple and clean. Check prices and availability here.
How to visit Beesands
The hardest part about visiting Beesands is easily the drive to get there. Accessible only by car (no buses venture to this part of Devon), the roads are narrow and winding for around half an hour after exiting the A38 Dual Carriageway. The postcode to reach Beesands is TQ7 2EN.
Once you reach the village, parking is free and while there’s plenty of space, it can often be hard to find a parking spot in the summer months. Worth noting is that this particularly winding road leads nowhere else, so the only way into Beesands is also the only way out!