Down in the depths of South Devon, where the sea can be seen from every vantage point and small country lanes crisscross the South Hams, there are plenty of secret and secluded beaches to be found. And one of the prettiest beaches in all of South Devon? Soar Mill Cove, an unspoilt beach, and hidden place where waves crash against the rocks and seagulls soar above.
Soar Mill Cove, A pretty Beach in Devon
Not far from a four-star accommodation and spa of the same name, Soar Mill Hotel, the cove is pretty to visit, as well as being dog-friendly. The sandy inlet makes the perfect place for a picnic, and the slightly rocky coastal path leading away from the beach will take you to the equally stunning area of Hope Cove, a village with two sandy beaches roughly two miles away.
The lack of phone signal in the region means that Soar Mill and its surrounds really is an escape from it all. Well worth the effort of visiting the beach (it is a fairly steep walk down from either car park), the cove is best seen on a sunny day when the sea transforms into an azure blue and the sandy beach is as welcoming as it will ever be.
Visit Soar Mill Cove, South Hams
The beach and surrounding coastal paths are best visited in the shoulder season (late Spring/ early Autumn) when the weather is warmer than that of the off-season (winter months) and the days are slightly longer too.
If you visit the cove during the summer months, then you’ll find that it’s difficult to navigate the narrow lanes due to the sheer volume of traffic, and it’s also harder to find ample parking space as the only way to get here is by car (or a long walk from the nearest bus stop)!
There’s a fairly substantial car park just above the Soar Mill Cove Hotel where you can park within a ten-minute walk of the beach. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll have to pay £4 for the privilege of parking here (though a small sign on the entrance says that money is donated to charity).
Alternatively, the National Trust operates a small, free, and well-signed car park at East Soar. This does mean a longer walk to the beach (over a mile longer), and so you may well want to park next to the hotel if you’re visiting the beach with young children!
Nearby attractions to Soar Mill Cove
Of course, no visit to the South Hams would be complete without a walk to a nearby village, or a drive to a cosy pub (complete with well-worn armchairs and a roaring log fire). The beach’s prime position in the heart of the South Hams, South Devon means that it can be easily combined with a trip to a nearby village or small fishing hamlet.
Ruins of St Andrew’s Church in South Huish: Just a short drive from Soar Mill, there’s an abandoned chapel that’s long been left to the elements. South Huish church is pretty, secluded and perfect for a quiet moment of contemplation. The nearby village is pretty and full of thatched cottages.
Bigbury-on-Sea: A little down the coastline from Soar Mill Cove, there’s a tidal island called Burgh Island and small village by the name of Bigbury-on-Sea. The island was the inspiration for an Agatha Christie novel and a nearby beach, Bantham, is popular among surfing enthusiasts.
Salcombe: The pretty seaside town of Salcombe has been inhabited since time immemorial and it shows. Filled with small fishing cottages, plenty of sandy beaches, and all the ice-cream you could ever ask for, it’s well worth a stop off! On the fringes of Salcombe, you’ll also find Overbeck’s, the seaside home of the iconic inventor and linguist, Otto Overbeck. Inside the fishing town itself, there’s the candy façade of the oldest sweet shop in Devon!
South Milton Sands: A pretty sandy stretch with views onto the surrounding bay and a quaint beach café, South Milton Sands is well worth a visit in the shoulder seasons when tourist numbers are at their lowest. Dog-friendly during the winter months, the car parking fee here is a fairly steep £5.